Hair loss is something that affects most people in their lifetimes and is a cause for concern for men, women and even children. The medical term for this condition is called Alopecia. The average person normally sheds about 50-100 hairs everyday. According to the American Academy of Dermatology(AAD), approximately 80 million men and women in America are currently experiencing alopecia. Because hair is growing at the same time, this usually won’t lead to noticeable hair thinning. For hair loss to occur there has to be a disruption of this hair growth & shedding cycle. Also hair follicle can also be destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
Causes of Hair Loss may Include:
Figuring out the cause of hair hair loss can be a little challenging because there are many different types of hair loss. Our team has created this guide to cover the most common causes of hair loss. While the exact cause of hair loss isn’t completely understood, it is usually related to one or more of these factors:
Genetics & Heredity
The most hair loss issues are a product of genetic factors. These hereditary conditions are called female pattern baldness and male pattern baldness(Androgenic Alopecia). The process of pattern baldness is usually gradual and occurs in easily recognizable patterns at the top and at the front of the scalp — Receding hairlines in men and thinning hair in women.
Heredity and Genetic factors also determine your hair loss rate, the severity of hair loss, as well as the age you begin to lose hair. Pattern baldness tends to be more common in men and can start as early as puberty.
There are a variety of medical conditions that could also lead to hair loss:
- Scalp infections: There are a number of infections and infection-related conditions that could contribute to loss of hair. These infections, like ringworm for example, invade your hair as well as the skin of the scalp, leading to scaly patches and hair loss. Hair generally grows back.
- Hair pulling disorder: Also known as trichotillomania, is an impulse control disorder that causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out hair from their scalp and other parts of their body. It occurs more frequently in females and it is estimated that approximately 1-2% of adults & adolescent suffer from trichotillomania.
- Autoimmune-related hair loss: This is also known as alopecia areata. It is a common autoimmune skin disease that leads to hair loss on the scalp, face and other parts of the body. It affects as many as 6.8 million people in the United States and is usually the result of an overactive immune system. Basically the immune system mistakes normal body cells as foreign invaders and attacks them.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs are really strong medications that attack cancer cells in cancer patients. Unfortunately, these drugs also attack other body cells including those of the hair roots. Chemotherapy can lead to hair loss all over the body, not just the scalp. Fortunately, hair loss from chemotherapy is usually temporary and you can expect your hair to grow again a few months after the treatment ends.
- Reactions to medication: There are medications that might contribute to hair loss in certain individuals. The most common classes of these medications are certain types of blood thinners, antidepressants and blood pressure drugs known as beta-blockers.
Hormonal changes and imbalances can lead to temporary hair loss. Here are a few ways that hormonal changes can lead to hair loss:
- DHT: Dihydrotestosterone, commonly known as DHT is thought to be a major factor involved in Male pattern baldness. DHT doesn’t necessarily cause hair to fall out, rather, it restricts the hair follicles ability to grow hair. While there are individuals who aren’t affected by the presence of DHT in the scalp, for people with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, hair follicles are very responsive to the presence of DHT. When DHT attaches itself to the receptor cells of those hair follicles, it prevents the necessary vitamins and proteins needed to nourish those follicles. As a result, these follicles begin to shrink, causing hair to regrow at a slower rate and shortening the growing phase while increasing the resting phase.
- Pregnancy: can lead to more hairs going into the resting phase of the hair loss cycle temporarily. This usually occurs after delivery but it isn’t severe enough to lead to bald spots or permanent hair loss. The good news is that, this condition begins to diminish within 3-4 months of delivery. If you feel like you are experiencing unusual hair loss during your pregnancy. You might be experiencing a vitamin deficiency.
- Estrogen: Estrogen, while known as the primary female sex hormone can also be found in men. There is evidence that suggests that estrogen extends the growth phase of hair so there is more hair at this stage, preventing hair loss & leading to fuller hair. Studies have also suggested that estrogen also stimulates new hair growth. This is particularly noticeable after childbirth and other and during menopause when estrogen levels start to drop and hair follicles are affected by testosterone, which shortens the growth phase.