Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments and Prevention
Alopecia is characterised by permanent hair loss. Losing 100 hairs per day is considered normal. But if the amount exceeds this number, then we are talking about abnormal loss, caused by a disease, drug treatment or other factors.
This disorder can affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. A multitude of different causes can lead to hair loss on the head or loss of facial hair. Among these causes, some are more common than others.
- What are the most common causes of hair loss?
- Advances in medical treatments: the hair surgery
- Lifestyle factors that can contribute to hair loss
- Medications for Hair Loss: What to Know
- Nonmedical treatments for hair loss: tips to try every day
- Facing hair loss? Don’t underestimate your emotional well-being
What are the most common causes of hair loss?
Alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia (hereditary baldness) affect both men and women. Conversely, hair loss due to stress or illness is called telogen effluvium. In addition to genetic causes and living conditions, there are certain diseases that can cause loss of hair.
Diseases that can cause hair loss
Some medical conditions can trigger certain types of alopecia. For example, anaemia leads to undernourishment of hair follicles and can make them fall. Here is a list of pathologies that can cause more hair than usual to enter the resting phase and eventually fall out:
- Thyroid problems: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can lead to hair fall. At first, the hair looks dull, becomes brittle and fragile. Hair loss is diffuse and persists until the disease is treated with medication.
- Autoimmune diseases: If the scalp itches and bald patches, initially small and then larger, form on the scalp area, it could be an autoimmune disease, alopecia areata.
More rarely, an autoimmune disease such as alopecia universalis, alopecia areata totalis or alopecia totalis universalis leads to complete baldness. These diseases themselves being incurable, only a few treatments have recently proved to be possible, but limited, to reduce symptoms.
Pathologies responsible for hair loss
Hair fall due to a disease can be reversible or irreversible (if left untreated). It is therefore particularly important to know the cause and exclude other factors to treat it as best as possible:
- Nutritional deficiencies: Hair follicles need vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. A poor diet leads to dull hair and also hair loss. Treatment is possible by modifying the diet.
- Medications: Often occurs months after treatment, which is why it is often not associated with the medication. Once the pharmaceutical product has left the body, hair usually grows back.
- Cancer treatment: Chemotherapy and radiotherapy damage hair follicles all over the body. Once the cancer is fought and the treatment is over, the hair can grow back.
- Stress: Stress alters the body’s hormonal balance. Significant and prolonged stress can lead to alopecia. Autogenic training and other stress reduction methods help and make the hair grow back.
Advances in medical treatments: the hair surgery
Since the late 1990s, there has been progress in the development of medical treatments for male or female pattern baldness. Current methods are being adapted to best suit the patient's condition. In some cases of hair loss, hair density is permanently lost in part or all of the head. In these cases, a hair transplant is the only option left, if all the criteria are met.
Lifestyle factors that can contribute to hair loss
Genetics or medical conditions are not the only causes of hair loss. Diet and all aspects of unhealthy lifestyle can also trigger this condition. That's why it's important to do your introspection when you notice thinning hair and identify possible triggers.
Bad habits that contribute to lifestyle-related baldness issues
Continuous stress becomes a major risk to the good balance of hair growth. In addition, smokers suffer from hair loss more frequently than non-smokers. Nicotine contains many toxic substances that hinder blood circulation and lead to undersupply of hair follicles.
Aggressive hairstyles and sedentary lifestyles: a bad mix for hair health
Hairstyles that put too much strain on the hair roots can lead to traction alopecia, that occurs when the hair is pulled too tightly. This can happen if you wear your hair in tight braids, ponytails, or buns for long periods of time. It can also happen if you use hair products that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol.
Lack of exercise can also contribute to hair loss. When you don't get enough exercise, your blood circulation slows down. This can reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach your hair follicles.
Protect your hair's health
There are a number of things you can do to help protect your hair health. First, choose hairstyles that are gentle on your hair roots. Second, avoid using hair products that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol. Third, make sure you get enough exercise.
If you are concerned about hair loss, talk to your doctor or a hair specialist. They can help you identify its cause and recommend treatment options.
Medications for Hair Loss: What to Know
Hair loss affects both men and women. In some cases, the first treatment options involve a medical diagnosis or medication. Elithair presents the most common 2023 treatments for androgenetic alopecia.
Medical Treatment Options for Hair Loss
- Minoxidil is the number one treatment for hair loss. It is a medication for high blood pressure that has the side effect of stabilising hair fall. However, stopping the treatment will stop all the benefits of minoxidil.
- Finasteride is also a common medication used to halter baldness issues. The active ingredient promotes new hair growth as long as it is used. However, some patients experience side effects such as psychological and/or sexual disorders. Because it can cause birth defects, it is not prescribed to women.
- PRP therapy is useful in cases of poor circulation and lack of essential substances. For this, blood is drawn from you and enriched with nutrients by passing it through a centrifuge. The preparation is then injected directly onto your scalp and feeds the weakened hair follicles with essential vitamins and minerals.
Nonmedical treatments for hair loss: tips to try every day
In addition to current treatment methods, applying certain actions every day can also help to promote new hair growth and cover bald areas.
Fighting hair loss with natural remedies
The most suitable nonmedical treatment for your case generally depends on the cause of hair loss. If your body is lacking important vitamins, dietary supplements can help you regain a thicker head of hair.
Prioritize shampoos and conditioners that are based on ingredients specifically designed to protect the scalp. Regular scalp massages (with or without accessories) complement the effectiveness of treatments.
Some diets can not only prevent hair from falling, but also solve the existing problem and restore strength to hair roots. Lack of sleep increases cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for regulating stress, which can be another indirect factor in disrupting the balance of hair growth.
Facing hair loss: Don't underestimate your emotional well-being
Hair loss can be a difficult experience to live through. There are several ways to cope and to counter the emotional suffering it causes. Talk to someone you trust about your feelings.
Get informed in detail, because the more you know, the less power an alopecia will have over your quality of life. Focus on the things that influence you positively. In support groups and online forums, you can share your experience anonymously or exchange information.
To regain your self-esteem, therapy can also be helpful and necessary if your hair loss leads to depression. Here are a selection of support groups:
- Alopecia UK is a national charity that offers support groups for people with alopecia. These groups are specifically for people with alopecia areata, that causes round, bald patches to appear on the scalp.
- Hair Loss Experiences forum specialised for people with hair loss.
- The American Hair Loss Association offers a variety of support groups for people with hair loss. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences and learn from each other.
Hair loss can be a challenging experience, but there are resources available to help you cope. By talking to someone you trust, getting informed, and focusing on the positive, you can start to feel better about your alopecia.
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