Hair loss is a common condition that affects the lives of millions of men and women across the world. Hair loss can present itself in many ways and varies greatly from person to person. Thinning hair, a receding hairline, bald spots and excessive shedding are all effects of hair loss, which can be caused by factors like age, disease and genetic disposition.
In most cases, hair loss is a result of miniaturized hair follicles and a shortened hair growth cycle. As follicles miniaturize, they produce thinner, shorter and lighter hair, which cannot adequately replace hairs that are shed naturally. As miniaturization progresses, it can lead to a halt in hair growth, resulting in a dead follicle with no hair—baldness.
Conditions Causing Alopecia (or Hair Loss)
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The body’s immune system disrupts hair growth & causes round bald patches
A form of alopecia areata that causes complete loss of all scalp & body hair
Form of alopecia areata that causes complete loss of all hair on the scalp
Localized hair loss due to constant pulling or tension on hair roots
buns & braids
A disorder in which a person compulsively pulls out their scalp or body hair
Follicles are prematurely pushed into the resting stage from stress or illness
Alopecia areata that occurs in a wave pattern around the edge of the head
A defect in hair fibers in which nodes along the hair shaft cause hair to easily break off
A bacterial infection that irritates the hair follicles & can lead to permanent hair loss
A condition in which there never was hair growth in the first place
A skin disease that affects areas of the skin with hair, replacing hair follicles with scarring
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Alopecia (Hair Loss) Causes
There are numerous factors contributing to hair loss. Knowing the source is half the battle when it comes to making informed decisions about proper treatment. Some conditions may only cause temporary hair loss, while others result in chronic and progressive problems that can last a lifetime without treatment.
Age and Genetics: These are the two most common sources of hair loss. Hair loss can be part of the aging process. Genes play a significant role in determining whether or not hair loss will be present. Those with relatives who have experienced hair loss have greater odds of losing their hair as well.
Disease and Medical Conditions: There are many diseases that can cause hair loss. Hair loss can often be an early sign of an undiagnosed condition such as lupus or diabetes. Illness, surgeries, stress, eating disorders, poor nutrition and infections are also factors.
Hormonal Imbalances: Endocrine disorders including diabetes, thyroid conditions, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as well as anomalies in androgen or estrogen levels can cause hair loss. Pregnancy and menopause can also contribute to hair loss due to hormonal changes. While hair actually tends to get thicker during pregnancy, hair loss in women can occur in the postpartum period (Telogen Effluvium). This usually recovers after 6-12 months.
Prescription Medication: Several medications, including some for blood pressure, heart conditions, birth control, and depression have been shown to cause hair loss. Cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause hair loss as well.
Hair Disorders and Hair Styling: Some hair disorders and diseases such as Alopecia Areata and Trichotillomania can cause hair loss in otherwise healthy people. Additionally, some hairstyles and hair products can contribute to hair loss.
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Alopecia (Hair Loss) Prevention & Treatments
In some cases, but not all, hair loss can be prevented or paused. Improving overall (physical and mental) health and maintaining a healthy scalp is a good place to start. If there is knowledge of hair loss in the family or early signs of hair loss are present, it is worthwhile to seek help. A hair-loss expert can analyze the condition of your hair under a microscope and formulate an appropriate treatment plan to prevent further hair loss. Hair loss prevention may include at-home hair therapy monitored by a professional.
If your hair loss is a result of medical treatments, consult with your doctor to determine if there is an alternate treatment that does not include hair loss as a side effect. Hair loss caused by styling habits, stress and diet can often be reversed by altering habits and opting for healthier choices.
Due to the prevalence of hair loss, many treatment options are available. However, because so many varieties of hair loss exist, not all options are suitable for everyone. The most successful and safest solutions for hair loss include hair transplant surgery
, non-surgical hair replacement, laser hair therapy
and proven at-home hair therapy systems.
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