Shedding hair is normal. In fact, we shed between 50 to 100 hairs a day. However, if you are losing more hair than usual, then there’s a chance that you are suffering from alopecia or hair loss.
Within this guide, we will be taking you through what causes hair loss and how to prevent it from disrupting your life.
Am I Shedding Hair Or Balding?
While shedding and balding both involve losing some of your hair, there are telltale signs that your hair loss is indeed a greater deal. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of hair loss:
Gradual thinning on the top of your head
This type of hair loss affects both men and women as they age. For men, the most common sign is a receding hairline from the forehead that looks like the letter “M”. Most women don’t lose their hairline.
Loosening of hair
Some factors like shock can cause your hair to loosen to the point where a handful might come out even by just gently combing or tugging. This type of hair loss leads to the overall thinning of hair. It rarely causes baldness.
Some people suffer from bald spots, usually the size of a coin. This type of condition is usually caused by a problem on the scalp. It can also occur in eyebrows or beards.
Full-body hair loss
A type of hair loss that’s caused by medications or therapy. Usually, the hair grows back after the treatment.
Causes Of Hair Loss
Your hair follows a natural cycle of shedding and growing that’s divided into three phases:
- Anagen - most active hair growth occurs during this phase. This stage lasts from 2 to 6 years.
- Catagen - a transitional hair growth stage which typically lasts between 2 to 3 weeks.
- Telogen - a 2 to 3-month resting phase. After this period, the hair is shed and new hair starts growing again.
You lose, on average, up to 100 hairs a day but this is never too noticeable or distressing. Hair loss occurs when this natural cycle gets disrupted. Below are some of the most common causes of hair loss:
The most common types of hair loss (called male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness) are usually caused by genetics and age. If your parents suffer from hair loss, there’s a big chance that you will too.
Some changes in the levels of your body hormones may cause hair loss. For example, women who experience pregnancy, childbirth or are already at menopause experience more defined hair loss than others.
Certain medical conditions can cause hair loss too. For example, thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism) can lead to hair loss. Hair usually grows back when the underlying thyroid problem is treated.
Another medical condition that can cause hair loss is alopecia areata which creates bald spots on your head. Scalp problems like ringworm, psoriasis, and dermatitis and disorders like trichotillomania (hair-pulling) can also cause hair loss.
Lupus, an autoimmune disease, can also cause hair loss that is patchy with lesions on the scalp.
Stress and shock
Traumatic or stressful events can lead to general thinning of the hair for several months. Hair loss caused by such events is usually temporary.
Radiation to the head and chemotherapy also cause hair loss which may be irreversible. Certain medications like those used for high blood pressure, heart problems, gout, depression, and arthritis can also contribute to hair loss.
Perms and hot oil treatments can damage the hair follicle. This could lead to permanent hair loss if scarring occurs. A tight hairstyle like pigtails and cornrows can also cause hair loss (traction alopecia).
Studies show that the lack of iron and zinc may contribute to hair loss. There is also evidence that deficiencies in fats, vitamins D, B-12, C, and A, and minerals like copper and selenium are also to blame.
How To Treat Hair Loss
Now that we’ve talked about the causes of hair loss, let’s look at some of the hair loss treatments available.
Most hair loss can be treated through medication. The most common one is Propecia which you can get from Express Pharmacy. Propecia is a treatment used for male pattern baldness. This type of medication is for men only and should not be used by children and women because it can cause birth defects.
Available as a pill, Propecia can be taken once a day. This drug was first used to treat prostate issues until it was discovered that it can block the formation fo certain male hormones that can cause hair loss.
If medication doesn’t work, hair transplant surgery may be performed. During this procedure, small plugs of skin with some hair are moved to bald spots of your scalp.