Your hair is threads of keratin produced by your hair follicles. But don’t be fooled, because the keratin you see as hair are actually dead. Hair cells also need to renew like every other cell in your body, so the old cells get pushed out by the new ones at about half a ruler per year. It’s found everywhere on the outer layer of your skin except for your lips, palms and soles. They can come in various forms, some are thick, and some are so thin that they’re almost invisible.
Hair loss is a condition that affects everyone, in any gender and any age. A normal adult has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs, and it usually sheds up to a hundred times per day. With that in mind, you don’t have to get alarmed over a few hairs on your pillows, on the bathroom floor and your brush. However, men are the typical victims of hair loss, especially in their older years. By age 35, 2 out of 3 men will already experience some hair loss. At 50 years old, more than 80% of men already experience hair loss and thinning.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Medical professionals are yet to answer why some have hair follicles live a shorter life cycle over others. However, these factors may be the reason behind your hair loss:
Hair loss is a hereditary condition that will dictate your predisposition to pattern baldness. Your genetic makeup is the most common culprit for losing hair. Hair loss is thought by most to only occur in the strands of the scalp, but it can actually be anywhere in your body. A condition in women called androgenic alopecia is the counterpart of the receding hairline or pattern baldness in men. In the case of women, their hairline widens, and the thinning of their hair becomes apparent. The process is usually slow and has a predictable pattern. In America alone, 80 million men and women suffer from it, and an astonishing $3.5 billion is spent by Americans to treat hair loss alone.
Hormonal changes like in pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, stopping the use of birth control pills abruptly and abnormal levels of androgen contribute to hair loss. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are natural processes that women undergo in their life. However, taking birth control pills is very much in your control. There’s no problem with you taking pills, but make sure that if you stop, do it gradually. Your body is adjusting to the effects of pills, so when you stop abruptly, you’re going to experience hormonal fluctuations that would lead to hair loss. Abnormalities in your androgen serum is another factor to look out for. Androgen receptors in your scalp will be activated and this will cause your hair follicles to shrink and will make you lose more hair.
Constant exposure to stress might cause you trichotillomania, a disorder that causes you to pull your hair constantly. You could never predict when a certain stressor would come. Some people experience a physical or emotional shock following an extreme weight loss, high fever, divorce, death of a loved one, a tragedy, and a catastrophe.
Ringworm infection can cause hair loss, but only temporary. Baldness happens when an area of your body forms scar tissues, hindering the growth of new hair.
Accidents, injuries and X-rays
When you get wounded, a scab will form to cover the area and help repair the skin and grow the hair back. But in the cases of accidents like burns and major injuries, a significant area of your body might get affected and cause scar tissues to form. In this event, your hair will not grow back. X-rays can also cause temporary hair loss but will eventually return.
Hair loss is usually a side-effect of drug intake or therapy. Cancer patients lose their hair because of chemotherapy that kills not only the cancer cells but the healthy cells as well. Other drugs for depression, arthritis, high blood pressure and more can also cause temporary hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that targets your hair follicles. It’s a condition where your immune system sees your cells as foreign and attacks your own body. The rate of hair fall is different for each, but you might notice your hair falling out in clumps to the size of a quarter which is very horrifying. Sometimes, your hair will grow back but will eventually start to fall again. In even rare cases, all of your scalp hair will fall off (alopecia areata totalis) and even the entire body hair (alopecia areata universalis).
A poor diet low in protein, iron, calorie and other nutrients can cause thinning of your hair or temporary hair loss.
Thyroid disease, infections, and lichen planus (a type of lupus) can all cause hair loss. Like how diet can contribute to hair loss, Anemia is another medical condition that causes iron-deficiency which is an obvious suspect for hair loss.
Hot oils can cause folliculitis which contribute to your hair loss. So does your other hair routines like shampooing too often, bleaching, dyeing, perms and hairstyles that pull your hair too much. Braiding your hair too tightly and using rollers or hot curls can cause Traction Alopecia. These habits can make your hair brittle and break causing bald patches. Your hair may come back healthier if the source of the problem is eliminated.
The hair is very important for most people. It’s often associated with beauty in women as a long, voluminous and healthy hair is their crowning glory. It changes the way you look significantly, with different hairstyles, colors and cuts, your hair is the pride you wear every day. With many causes of hair loss also comes with various treatment options, solutions and preventions. What’s important is that you consult an expert first before you plunge into hair growth treatments. Make sure you know the nature of your condition and the products or treatments you use to enjoy healthy hair everyday.