Hair loss is known as Alopecia. Hair loss from the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Hair loss is common in both men and women, and a treatable issue. Hair loss can be caused due to many reasons.
What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss is the appearance of thinning hair or bald patches on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or areas of the body that previously had hair, such as the arms or legs. On average, everyone naturally loses 50 to 100 of their 100,000 hairs per day. Abnormal hair loss is caused when hair falls out at an accelerated rate or, in case of overtime, the hair is not replaced as quickly as it falls out.
Hair loss can occur in men, women, infants, and children in all socio-economic strata and geographic areas. Genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common type of hair loss, also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness.
Hair loss can build up gradually over weeks or months, or it can happen suddenly, such as when it occurs with telogen effluvium. Hair loss can also be because of other hair disorders, like alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its hair, or trichotillomania, a psychological disorder in which people tear themselves apart from the hair.
Hair loss can also be a symptom of an underlying disease, disorder, or condition like anemia, thyroid disease, or lupus. Other underlying causes of hair loss can be milder, such as the use of certain harsh shampoos or hair dyes, or nutritional deficiency that can be easily corrected.
Hair is an important part of personal appearance in our society. Hair loss can penetrate your self-image and your self-esteem. There are several types of treatments for hair loss, ranging from lifestyle changes to medications and surgery, and more are being researched every day. Fortunately, most of the time, lost hair can be replaced with new hair growth with treatment or by itself in time.
Family History (Heredity)
The most common cause of hair loss is an inherited condition that occurs with aging. This condition is known as androgenic alopecia, male pattern baldness, and female pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns - hair loss and bald spots in men and thinning hair along with the crown of the scalp in women.
Hormonal Changes and Medical Conditions
A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid issues. Medical conditions include alopecia areata, which is linked to the immune system and causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania.
Drugs and Supplements
Hair loss can be a side effect of some medications, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure.
Radiation therapy to the head
Hair may not grow back as it used to.
A very stressful event
Many people experience general thinning of their hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.
Hairstyles and treatments
Over-styling or hairstyles that pull the hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot oil hair treatments and permanents can also cause hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss can be permanent.
Some factors can increase your risk for hair loss, including
- A family history of baldness on your mother's or father's side
- Significant weight loss
- Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and lupus
- Poor nutrition
If you think you are experiencing hair loss, you may want to see a skin specialist called a dermatologist . They go:
- Do you talk about your signs?
- Inspect the areas where you have hair loss
- Gently pull on the hairs at the edges of the bald area to see if they come out easily
- Check individual hair and follicles to see if they are abnormally shaped
- Examine your nails
Rarely, you may have a biopsy, which means that a small piece of skin is removed from your scalp and examined under a microscope.
Many conditions can lead to hair loss. So your doctor can test your skin for a fungal infection or do blood tests to look for thyroid, hormone, or immune system problems.
Effective treatments for certain types of hair loss are available. You may be able to reverse the hair loss, or at least slow it down. With some conditions, such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata), hair can grow back without treatment within a year. Treatments for hair loss include medication and surgery.
If your hair loss is due to an underlying condition, treatment for this condition will be required. If a certain medication is causing hair loss, your doctor may advise you to stop using it for a few months.
Medicines are available to treat (hereditary) baldness. The most common options include:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine): Over-the-counter (non-prescription) minoxidil comes in liquid, foam, and shampoo form. To be more effective, apply the product to the scalp skin once a day for women and twice a day for men. Many people prefer the mousse applied when the hair is wet
Products containing minoxidil help many people to regrow their hair or slow the rate of hair loss or both. It will take at least six months of treatment to prevent further hair loss and to start hair regrowth. It may take a few more months to see if the treatment is working for you. If this helps, you will need to continue using the drug indefinitely to retain the benefits.
- Finasteride (Propecia): This is a prescription drug for men. You take it daily as a pill. Many men taking finasteride experience slower hair loss, and some may show new hair growth. It may take a few months to find out if this works for you. You will need to continue taking it to retain all the benefits. Men who are over 60 years old may not work.
- Rare side effects of finasteride include decreased libido and sexual function and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Women who are or may be pregnant women are advised to avoid touching crushed or broken tablets.
- Other drugs: Other oral options such as spironolactone (Carospir, Aldactone) and oral dutasteride (Avodart).
Possible side effects include irritation of the scalp and unwanted growth of hair on the adjacent skin of the face and hands
Hair Transplant Surgery
In the most common type of permanent hair loss, only the top of the head is impacted. Hair transplantation, or restorative surgery, can make the most of the hair you have left.
During a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes the hair from a part of the head with hair and transplants it onto a bald spot. Each strand of hair has one to several bristles (micrografts and minigrafts). Sometimes a larger strip of skin containing more than one hair group is taken. This procedure does not require hospitalization, but it is painful, so you will be given sedation medication to relieve any discomfort. Possible risks include bleeding, bruising, swelling, and infection.
You may require more than one operation to achieve the effect you want. Inherited hair loss will eventually progress despite surgery.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a low-level laser device as a treatment for inherited hair loss in both men and women. Some small studies showed it improves the density of the hair. More studies are needed to show long-term effects.
When to visit a Doctor?
People with hair loss and signs of bodily problems should see a doctor promptly. Women who have developed masculine characteristics should call their doctor to discuss when they should be seen. Other people should see a physician when possible, but an appointment is not urgent unless other symptoms develop.
Clean hair regularly with a gentle shampoo
Regular hair washing helps prevent hair loss by keeping hair and scalp clean. By doing this, you reduce the risk of infections and dandruff that can lead to hair breakage or hair loss. Moreover, clean hair gives the impression of a higher volume.
Vitamins for hair loss
Vitamins are not only healthy for general well-being but also good for your hair. Vitamin A promotes healthy production of sebum in the scalp, Vitamin E improves blood circulation in the scalp to help hair follicles stay productive, and Vitamin B helps hair maintain its healthy color.
Enrich the diet with protein
Eating lean meat, fish, soy, or other proteins promotes healthy hair and helps curb hair loss.
Massage scalp with essential oils
Those who have been experiencing hair loss for a while should massage the scalp with essential oil for a few minutes. It helps your hair follicles to stay active. You can add lavender in almond or sesame oil.
Avoid brushing wet hair
When the hair is wet, it is in its weakest condition. So avoid brushing your wet hair because the risk of hair loss increases. But if you have to comb wet hair, use a comb with very wide teeth. Also, avoid brushing your hair too frequently, as this can injure the hair and increase hair loss. Use your fingers to loosen tangles, not a comb or brush.
The hair shaft includes a quarter of water, so drink at least four to eight cups of water per day to stay hydrated and for healthy hair growth.
Know what is bad for the hair
If you want to maintain healthy hair, you need to know how to take care of it. Avoid rubbing your hair with a towel. Instead, let the hair dry naturally.
Cut down on alcoholic drinks
If you are experiencing hair loss, cut down on your alcohol intake, as alcohol consumption reduces hair growth. Thus, lower or remove alcohol to see an increase in hair growth.
Smoking cigarettes reduces the amount of blood flowing to the scalp which results in reduced hair growth.
Take time for physical activity every day. Walking, swimming or biking 30 minutes a day helps balance hormone levels, reduce stress levels, and reduce hair loss.
Studies in the past have found medical evidence linking stress to hair loss. Relax; one of the ways to do this is to practice meditation. Alternative therapies such as meditation and yoga not only reduce stress but restore hormonal balance.
Avoid constant heating and drying
Do not subject your hair to frequent and constant heating and drying procedures. Heat weakens hair proteins, and constant heating and drying can lead to weakness and brittleness which leads to hair loss.
Keep your head sweat free
Men with oily hair suffer from dandruff during the summer because of sweating and the chances of hair loss increase. Using shampoos containing aloe vera and neem can keep the head cool and prevent dandruff.
Men who wear helmets experience significant hair loss in the summer. As sweat accumulates in the pores and weakens the hair roots causing hair loss in men. So, wearing a scarf/bandana on your hair or a terry cloth headband can prevent hair loss.
Change the way you style your hair
If you've been losing your hair recently, you need to relax. Hairstyles such as ponytails, braids, and artificial hairstyles pull the hair or pull on the hair follicles, and can eventually cause baldness.
Take care of your health
Health problems announce hair loss. Make sure you treat chronic illnesses, high fevers, and infections properly to ensure healthy hair.
Watch for medications
Some medications can have side effects, one of which could be hair loss. See a doctor find out about any conditions you may have. Let her know if the medicine is causing hair loss and if so, ask her to change the medicine.
Keep away from chemicals
Harsh chemicals and permanent hair coloring products can adversely affect the health of the hair, when you experience hair loss, it is not recommended to color it.
Make regular appointments with doctors
There are many health conditions, especially skin conditions, which cause changes in hormonal balances, which in turn result in hair loss. Be sure to see a doctor regularly for your underlying illnesses and conditions.
Massaging the scalp can help restore hair growth and can be used with oils and hair masks. It stimulates the scalp and can improve the thickness of the hair. Taking the time to massage your scalp every day can also help relieve stress and tension. The stretching forces during massage are believed to promote hair growth and thickness in the cells of the dermal papilla.
Aloe vera has been used for a long time for hair loss. It also soothes the scalp and conditions the hair. It can reduce dandruff and unblock hair follicles, which may be blocked by excess oil. You can apply pure aloe vera gel to your scalp and hair several times a week. You can also use shampoo and conditioner that contains aloe vera.
Trusted Source coconut oil contains fatty acids that penetrate inside the hair shaft and reduce protein loss from the hair. Coconut oil can be used before or after washing your hair depending on your hair type. If your hair tends to be oily, you can do a leave-in treatment overnight or for a few hours before washing it. Massage the coconut oil into your scalp and all of your hair. If your hair is dry, you can also use them as treatment without rinsing. More research is needed on coconut oil as a hair growth promoter, but it has been shown to improve hair health and luster and has been used for centuries.
Viviscal is a trusted natural hair growth supplement that promotes hair growth in people with thinning hair. It contains a marine complex called AminoMar C. It is made up of minerals, vitamins, and powder from shark and mollusk. These ingredients help regenerate new cells and strengthen existing cells. You need to take the pills twice a day for at least six months to see results. Viviscal also makes shampoo and conditioner.
Consuming omega fatty acids can help improve your hair from the inside out because it is packed with nutrients and protein. Taking an omega supplement with antioxidants helps improve hair density and diameter. It also reduces hair loss. Omega fatty acids help your cells to function properly and can boost immunity, leading to better overall health. Follow the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
Ginseng supplements can help with hair growth by stimulating hair follicles. Ginsenosides are the active components of ginseng and are believed to be responsible for its positive effect on the hair. Always take as directed and be sure to check for possible side effects.
If you can handle the smell of onion juice, you can see the benefits are worth the effort. Onion juice has been shown to successfully treat patchy alopecia by promoting hair growth. There is also a belief that onion juice improves circulation. Animal studies show an improvement in keratin growth factor and blood flow to the cuticles. You can mix in some onions and squeeze out the juice. Apply the juice to your scalp and hair and leave it on for at least 15 minutes, then shampoo normally.
Rosemary is one of the first essential oils that people choose to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. Rosemary Oil - Trust Source stimulates hair regrowth and can be used to treat androgenetic alopecia. Blend a few drops of rosemary oil in a support oil and massage it into your hair and scalp before rinsing. Do this several times a week. Add a few drops of rosemary oil to your shampoo and conditioner daily. Do not apply essential oils directly to your skin. Always combine them with a carrier oil or shampoo.
You can use geranium oil to promote hair growth and stimulate circulation. Mix a few drops in a carrier oil and use it to make a hair mask. You may also add a couple of drops to your shampoo and conditioner. Geranium oil can help strengthen, hydrate, and restore your hair.
You can use fresh lemon juice or lemon oil as they are said to improve hair quality and growth. Trusted Source Lemon Oil can help you maintain a healthy scalp and promote hair growth. Apply fresh lemon juice to your scalp and hair 15 minutes before shampooing. Lemon essential oil diluted in a carrier oil can be used as a hair mask.