Hair Loss – Causes and Prevention
If you are sad because of hair loss, remember that you are not alone. Millions of people, including women as well as men, lose hair every day. The only difference may be some of these people have their hair re-grown naturally, i.e. without any therapy or treatment, while others need a treatment to re-grow their hair. And sometimes hair even doesn’t re-grow. To check what you can do with your hair loss, the best person you can visit is a trichologist or a dermatologist. We can discuss some points here too.
Causes of Hair Loss
There are so many causes of hair loss that you might be confused. When hair loss starts abruptly, the cause may an illness, medicines, diet or even childbirth. When it starts slowly and comes into notice in each passing year, the cause may be hereditary. The cause of your hair loss may even be certain hair care routine. Here are some major causes.
Genetic Baldness or Thinning of Hair (Androgenetic Alopecia): This is the commonest cause of hair loss and affects women too along with men. When men are affected with it, their hairline usually recedes. But several other men get bald patches too, particularly on top of the head. On the other hand, women see their hairline intact, but experience severe thinning of hair. The commonest first sign of hair loss in many women is a broadening part. Men too, in rare cases, see severe thinning of hair, while rarely women see bald patches or receding hairline. The reasons for this are still not known.
Alopecia Areata: One opinion about alopecia areata is that it’s an autoimmune disease which means that our immunity mistakenly attacks our own tissues, like in this case, it attacks our own hair. The result of this is round smooth patches of lost hair on the scalp and other body parts. It is seen that people with this disorder are normally in excellent health. Most of them also see their hair re-growing.
Cicatricial Alopecia (Scarring): This is a rare disorder and people suffering from it are otherwise healthy. This disorder destroys the hair follicles of the affected person. Scars are formed in place of the lost follicles and so, hair cannot re-grow.
Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia: This disorder is more common in women of African ethnicity. It starts at the center of the scalp and hair loss radiates out from this center. The scalp in the affected area becomes shiny and smooth. The speed of hair loss may be slow or fast. When it is fast, the person may experience burning, tingling, itching or pain on the scalp.
Causative Medical Condition: Hair loss may denote one of the first signs of a disease. There are around 30 diseases in which hair is lost. These include anemia and thyroid disease too. When this underlying disease is cured, hair loss is often automatically cured without any special treatment.
After Illness: Following an illness, severe hair loss can occur. High fever, a major surgery, flu or severe infection can bring hair loss too.
Cancer Treatments: Chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also be the causes of hair loss. This type of hair loss is usually temporary but can cause great mental trauma.
Ringworm: Ringworm can affect scalp too. This is contagious and more common among children. If left untreated, it can result in balding.
Trichotillomania: In this disorder, people pull out their own hair because of an urge to do that. Some people even feel an urge to pull out hair from their own eyelashes, eyebrows, hair inside nose and other parts of the body.
Stress and Hormones
Childbirth: Some women experience significant hair loss after childbirth. The cause of this is dropped estrogen levels. This type of hair loss is temporary and the affected women get their hair re-grown within a few months.
Menopause: Hair loss is commonly seen in menopause. This is also temporary. However, a woman of 40+ age should not expect to get hair as thick as it was in her young age.
Stress: A stress-giving incident like divorce or demise of a loved one can also cause hair loss.
Poor Nutrition and Dieting
Weight Loss: Some people who lose more than 15 pounds within a short time often experience hair loss. This type of hair loss occurs 3 to 6 months after the weight loss and is common and temporary.
Excessive Intake of Vitamin A: An excessive intake of vitamin A can also cause hair loss. People often have too much of vitamin A supplements or medicines, thinking that it is good for health. But it causes hair loss. Once such an excess intake is stopped, hair re-grows again.
Lack of Protein: If protein supply to the body is less, the protein in hair is used by the body and hair loss occurs. Eating more protein-rich foods, like fish, eggs, meat, nuts, milk etc can stop such a hair loss.
Lack of Iron: Lack of iron in diet can also cause hair loss. To cure it, iron-rich foods like soybeans, spinach, lentils, white beans, pumpkin seeds, liver, mollusks like oysters and clams, etc should be eaten regularly.
Eating Disorders: Anorexia (not to eat enough) and bulimia (to vomit after eating) can also cause hair loss.
Hair Loss Prevention
Hair loss prevention is actually quite easy. Hair loss can be stopped by simply taking proper care of your health.
Healthy Lifestyle: Hair loss or any other hair problem arises because of wrong lifestyle, like poor nutrition due to wrong food habits, lack of exercise, inactivity, lack of adequate and timely sleep, smoking, alcoholism, etc. So, eat right, i.e. fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, dairy, eggs and nuts, take adequate exercise and sleep, try to quit vices and your hair loss will be prevented.
Hygiene: Poor hair hygiene can also cause hair loss. Clean hair with a mild herbal shampoo twice in a week. After rinsing your hair after shampooing, rinse once again to ensure that you have washed all the shampoo. Use clean combs and pillows. Cover your head while going out to protect hair from dust and other pollutants.
Harsh Hair Treatments: Harsh treatments to hair like perming, back combing, blow drying, wearing very tight hairstyles, etc can damage hair and cause hair loss.
In short, if you are healthy, your hair will be healthy too and you won’t experience hair loss.