Millions of men and women worldwide struggle with hair loss. Here are answers to some of the most common questions people have about hair loss:
The causes vary depending on age, hormones, illness and genetic disposition. Hair loss can also be caused by medication, stress or trauma. About 90% of male hair loss is caused by male pattern baldness. While a similar condition occasionally affects women as well, female hair loss is typically the result of other causes.
Hair loss is far more common for women than most people realize. Today there are more than 30 million women experiencing hair loss in North America. Forty percent of all women will have some female pattern hair loss by the time they reach menopause, and nearly half of all women will experience some form of hair loss by age 50.
If your hair loss is caused by hair care or styling habits, medications, stress, or diet, there are preventative steps you can take. Hair loss prevention usually involves altering your habits (for example, eating healthier foods or opting for a more relaxed hairstyle). If your hair loss is caused by a medical condition, consult with your doctor to find out if alternate treatment options are available.
Unfortunately, genetically inherited hair loss can't be prevented, but it can be treated:
There are many hair loss "medications" on the market, some more legitimate than others. Contrary to the promises that accompany them, not all of them work. And those that do may not work for you specifically. Each person responds differently to hair loss medications based on a number of factors, including the cause of hair loss, degree of hair loss, age, lifestyle, and health.
Minoxidil (a topical medication) and Finasteride (an oral medication for men) are the most popular medications used to prevent hair loss. While some people find them effective, they don't work for everyone. And any results gained using them will be lost once you stop using them.
Some hair loss is normal. An average healthy person ordinarily loses 50 to 100 hairs from the scalp every day. More serious hair loss comes in many forms. In many cases, you've already lost as much as 50% of your hair by the time you start to notice.
The most common sign for men is the receding hairline or thinning crown common in Androgenetic Alopecia or pattern baldness. Hair loss that occurs in patches is often a result of conditions such as Trichotillomania, Traction Alopecia, and Alopecia Areata (see below). Cancer treatments that include radiation and chemotherapy can also cause hair loss that affects the entire scalp.
Androgenetic Alopecia, commonly known as male or female pattern baldness, results from a genetic predisposition that makes follicles sensitive to the effect of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT builds up around the hair follicle, causing a shorter hair growth cycle and finer hair. Eventually, the follicle shuts down and completely stops producing hair so that when the hair falls out, it isn't replaced. It's the most common form of hair loss and affects both men and women.
Alopecia Areata is spotty hair loss, resulting in completely smooth areas or patches on the scalp about the size of a quarter or larger. In some cases, Alopecia Areata can turn in to Alopecia Universalis, which is the complete loss of all scalp and body hair. Alopecia Areata is most common in people under the age of 30, and its cause is unknown. For some patients it resolves itself spontaneously, while for others it may last a lifetime.
Traction Alopecia is a gradual form of hair loss that occurs when hair is pulled excessively tight for long periods of time. This type of hair loss is usually caused by regularly wearing a tight braid, ponytail, "cornrows," or hair weaves, but it can also occur after a patient has a facelift and other cosmetic surgery that creates constant tension on the hair.
Trichotillomania is a compulsive disorder that causes people to pull out the hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or other parts of the body, resulting in noticeable bald patches. It is currently defined as an impulse-control disorder, but there are disputes about how it should be classified. Trichotillomania is estimated to affect 1% to 2% of the population, or 4 to 11 million Americans, 90% of them women and children.
Chemotherapy can cause hair cells to stop dividing, resulting in hair loss. In some cases patients lose as much as 90% of their scalp hair. Sometimes this hair grows back when the cancer treatment ends, sometimes it doesn't.
No. Many people think that wearing hats can cause hair loss, but this is not the case. There is absolutely no evidence--scientific or otherwise--that hats affect hair growth in any way.
No. Hair growth is genetically programmed. Your hair growth rate is not affected by close clipping, shaving, trimming, or cutting.
No. In fact, excessive hair brushing can actually cause breakage and stress your hair. Ball-tipped or boar bristle brushes are recommended to prevent hair loss.
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