Alopecia, commonly known as hair loss, is a justly common phenomenon. While in older adults, it is more prevalent, any individual can suffer from it, even children. Losing approximately 50 to 100 hairs a day is quite typical, as per data published by the Academy of Dermatology. Considering there are over 100K hairs on the head, the small loss isn’t quite visible. Fresh hair ordinarily replaces the lost hair, this, however, doesn’t always occur.
Hair loss can generate little by little over the course of a year or it can happen all of a sudden. Depending on the underlying cause, it may be temporary or permanent. Attempting to tell whether you are losing hair or simply suffering from natural shedding? Uncertain if it is the appropriate time to go visit a doctor? Find out more by reading about hair loss and the approaches toward its management.
Hair loss symptoms
The principal sign of alopecia is losing more hair than usual, however, it can be much harder to pinpoint than you think.
The below signs can offer some clues:
- Broadening part. When parting your hair, you might start seeing your part broadening, which can be a symptom of hair thinning.
- Receding hairline. In a similar way, if there is a visible hairline looking higher than common, it might be a symptom of hair thinning.
- Loose hair. After using your comb or brush, check it. Is it maybe collecting more hair than usual? If so, this might be a symptom of hair loss.
- Bald patches. These can vary in size and can expand over the course of time.
- Clogged drains. You may notice that your shower drains or sinks are clogged with hair.
- Pain or itching. In the event that you have an underlying skin condition leading to hair loss, you may additionally feel pain or suffer from itching on the scalp.
What causes hair loss?
There are various factors that lead to hair loss, some happen very commonly, others very rarely, and each of them has different underlying causes.
Dependent on the kind of hair loss, it can come as a result of internal causes, external causes, or hereditary causes. Below is a breakdown of the different types of hair loss:
Androgenic alopecia is referred to differently as genetic hair loss, as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, and also as pattern alopecia seeing as it can occur in both men and women.
It is generally the most common reason behind hair loss, impacting more than 50% of people. Hair loss associated with androgenic alopecia has the tendency to occur little by little. Whilst certain individuals may suffer from hair loss as early as puberty, others may not see any visible symptoms until they reach their middle ages.
Female pattern baldness typically results in thinning hair all over the scalp and it may look like thinning or widening surrounding the part. As a rule, it happens after reaching 65, but, for some women, it can start very early in their lives.
Male pattern baldness often involves active hair loss right above the temples and thinning hair at the crown of the head, giving the idea of an “M” shape.
Alopecia areata is part of the autoimmune diseases that leads your immune system to attack hair follicles, resulting in bald patches ranging from very small to very large. In some instances, it may even lead to complete hair loss.
Additionally, to hair loss on the scalp, several people experiencing alopecia areata lose hair from their eyelashes, eyebrows, and different parts of the body.
Anagen effluvium entails very quick hair loss. This generally occurs due to the radiation treatment of chemotherapy.
After the treatment stops, however, hair will regrow.
Telogen effluvium is a kind of abrupt and unexpected hair loss that comes as a result of physical or emotional shock, such as a period of extreme stress, a severe disease, or a traumatic event.
It can, moreover, occur due to hormonal changes, such as those that occur in:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Some other possible reasons behind telogen effluvium include:
- undernourishment such as vitamin or mineral deficiency
- some endocrine disorders
- commencing or avoiding hormonal birth control
- post surgery as an outcome of the anesthesia
- acute illnesses or severe infections like COVID-19
Certain kinds of medications can additionally be the reason for it, including:
- oral retinoids
- thyroid medications
This kind of hair loss commonly goes away on its own after the underlying cause is addressed.
Tinea capitis, namely, ringworm of the scalp, is a fungal infection that can have an effect on the scalp and hair shaft. It leads to small bald patches that are itchy and scaly. Over the course of time, if not treated in the early stages, the size of the patch or patches can grow and be filled with pus.
These patches, often called a kerion, can lead to scarring as well.
Other signs include:
- friable hair that breaks easily
- scalp softness
- squamous patches of skin that look gray or red
It can be easily treated with antifungal medication.
Traction alopecia happens as a result of too much tension and pressure on the hair, oftentimes from styling it in tight styles such as buns, ponytails, or braids.
How is hair loss diagnosed?
Seeing as there might be many factors leading to hair loss, the very best first step would be scheduling an appointment with a medical practitioner if you point out any modifications in your hair.
The medical professional will most likely employ a combination of your anamnesis, including any previous diseases, stressors, and surgeries, and a physical assessment to aid in narrowing down the causes.
If they are doubtful of a skin condition or autoimmune disease, they may take a biopsy of the skin on the scalp. This comprises the careful removal of many small sections of skin for laboratory testing. It is essential to bear in mind that hair growth is a complicated process and several tests might be necessary to comprehend the underlying cause of hair loss. A biopsy might also be taken if it is unclear what the root cause might be.
They may also order blood tests to check for any nutrient deficiencies or signs of an underlying condition.
Treatments for hair loss
Upon having experienced hair loss, investigating the causes and treating it properly to avoid further hair loss is of utmost importance. As aforementioned, hair loss can come as a result of a wide range of causes, thus, needing different treatments. Some hair treatments include specific hair products, others medication, and if all else fails, surgical intervention.
The initial stages of hair loss can be easily treated with topical and oral medication and do not necessitate any surgical intervention. With certain types of hair loss, the impact might be reversible, that is only if styling tools, hairstyles, or hair products are either replaced or completely avoided on the scalp. Thus, diagnosing hair loss appropriately and early through the use of consultation with pull tests, scalp biopsy, standard blood tests, and light microscopy, is quite critical.
There exist several topical and oral medications that explicitly have as a goal the reduction of hair fall. The following are some of the instances:
An oral prescription for men who are suffering from hair loss, Finasteride induces the movement of the hair into the anagen stage of the hair cycle by completely inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which leads to a decrease of the DHT amount in the body. DHT is the hormone causing hair loss.
To see visible results, you must take the medicine daily and for a few months. If the scalp does not show any adverse reaction, continuous taking of the medication is needed to make sure the advantages can be sought to their complete potential. Finasteride might not be appropriate for men over the age of 60.
Some of Finasteride's side effects, though quite uncommon, include low sexual function and sex drive. Pregnant women must avoid touching broken or crushed tablets at any cost seeing as there is a chance of absorption which consequently results in potential risk to the fetus.
An over-the-counter medication that comes in the form of liquid, shampoo, or foam. You will be instructed to apply the product to the scalp two times per day, if you are a man and if you are a woman, once a day. Depending entirely on the condition of the hair loss and scalp, the product will take a minimum of six months to give visible results, impeding further hair loss and commencing a new cycle of hair regrowth.
If the scalp does not show any adverse reaction, the continuous taking of the medication is required to make sure that the benefits are sought to their full potential. Some probable side effects of Minoxidilinclude unwanted hair growth on the hands and face and scalp irritation. If you are suffering from such symptoms, immediately stop the use and visit a doctor.
If medications aren’t functional for you, a surgical approach to recovering hair loss experienced is the use of a hair transplant. The dermatologist will begin by collecting hair from regions that have a thick amount of hair and transferring it to balding spots to spur hair growth. This is extremely useful for those who are suffering from female and male pattern baldness and receding hairline. Even though it is a surgical procedure, not every single person is eligible for surgical interventions.
You will be required to look for medical advice and go through a thorough evaluation from a dermatologist to discover whether you are suitable or not. Despite the fact that the condition of your hair varies from one person to another, typically, you need to have:
- Enough amount of healthy hair on your head to be planted on balding spots
- The capability to grow hair on the balding spots
If you fulfill such requirements, you will be eligible for hair transplantation. At Advanced Hair Clinic, we provide hair transplants with different kinds of technology.
How can I prevent hair loss?
There are a couple of things you can do to reduce hair loss:
- Loose hairstyles: Even in case you are one of those people who like putting their hair in ponytails, buns, or braids, make sure to keep them loose so they aren’t putting much pressure on your hair and scalp.
- Restrain from touching your hair: As much as you can, try not to rub your hair, twist it, or pull it.
- Pat hair dry: Following a hair wash, utilize a towel to carefully pat your hair dry. Do not rub your hair using the towel or twist it within the towel.
- Try a nutrient-rich balanced diet: Try to make part of your nutrition plan, be it meals or snacks, a high amount of proteins and iron.
Styling tools and products are some other hair loss culprits. Some of the tools or products that can have a negative impact on your hair by leading to hair loss include:
- blow dryers
- heated combs
- hair straighteners
- coloring products
- bleaching agents
Upon deciding on styling your hair using heated tools, make sure you are only doing so when your hair is dry and that you are using the lowest settings available.
If you are experiencing hair loss at the moment, utilize a gentle baby shampoo for your hair washes. Not including the patients who have excessively oily hair, take into consideration washing it every other day, or even less.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hair Loss
Which vitamin can help with hair loss?
Hair loss is a complex subject and the role of dieting in either prevention or treatment of hair loss can be kind of open to questions.
Whilst diet and certain nutrients are crucial to the hair growth process, the increment of the intake amount of these nutrients might not aid you, particularly if you are experiencing a certain kind of hair loss, like cicatricial alopecia or scarring alopecia.
Vitamins to integrate into your diet plan that might be promoting hair growth include the following:
- B vitamins, specifically riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12
- vitamin C
- vitamin D
Some research connects excess intake of vitamin A or selenium with an increased risk for hair loss.
What illness causes hair loss?
A higher risk of hair loss is associated with some diseases. Including:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- scalp psoriasis
- sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis
- thyroid disease
Hair loss can also be a side effect of some medications, especially chemotherapy medications to treat cancers. Is it possible to stop hair loss indefinitely?
Is it possible to stop hair loss indefinitely?
Ceasing hair loss forevermore is dependent entirely upon the underlying cause. As a rule of thumb, the earlier you treat hair loss, the higher the chances of being able to reverse or reduce the hair loss degree.
Certain hair loss causes cannot be reversed. This is true for any other following instances:
- Damaged hair follicles from chemicals applied to the hair
- Damaged hair follicles from too-tight hairstyles
- Damaged hair follicles from autoimmune diseases
No matter the leading cause of hair loss, looking for medical help from a doctor or a dermatologist can aid in identifying the underlying causes. Treatments for hair loss have a higher probability of being successful when started early.
Treatments generally include modifications of the way you take care of your hair, diet improvements, and medical treatments that might be applied topically or taken orally.
Even in the event that hair loss runs in the family, there exist treatments that can assist you in slowing down or reversing hair loss. Ideally, you should have a consultation with your doctor during which you can address your concerns and rule out any severe underlying medical concerns that might be leading to hair loss.