10 Possible Causes of hair loss and how to prevent it
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
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August is National Hair Loss awareness month so I wanted to share some common causes of hair loss and how they can be prevented. Before we jump into the hair loss we should understand how the hair grows. The hair growth cycle hair 3 phases anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Anagen is the growth phase where cells are produced in the hair follicle. A healthy scalp produces about 1/2 inch of hair per month over a span of 3-5 years and can last up to 10 years. Full-length hair averages 18-30 inches. 90 percent of the scalp is in the anagen phase at one time.
Catagen is the transitional phase where the hair detaches from the follicle less then 1 percent of the scalp is in this phase at one time. This phase lasts 1-2 weeks.
Telogen is the final phase known as the resting phase. The hair stays in this phase until it is pushed out by the start of the next anagen phase. Also known as shedding. Less then 10 percent of the scalp is in this phase at once.
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1. Mechanical/ Traction Alopecia
Traction alopecia is hair loss that’s caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair. Traction alopecia can be reversed if you stop pulling your hair back. But if you don’t intervene soon enough, the hair loss may be permanent. Symptoms may include small bumps, redness, itching, and soreness. Ultimately, the hair follicles can become so damaged and scarred that they can’t produce new hair.
Prevention: alternating your hairstyle frequently can help to reduce hair loss. It is recommended that you avoid wearing tight ponytails, buns, weaves, and braids for extended amounts of time.
2. Androgenic/Androgenetic alopecia-
Is the miniaturization of terminal hair into vellus hair (short, fine, non-pigmented). Androgenic alopecia is usually a result of genetics, age, or hormonal changes. This type of hair loss can start around age 35 and happens more frequently over the age of 40.
Prevention: Topical treatments, diet, and supplements can assist in keeping the follicle healthy thus decreasing the chances of hair loss.
Medications can lead to two types of hair loss: telogen effluvium and anagen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is the most common form of drug-induced hair loss. It usually appears within 2 to 4 months after taking the drug. Some medications include Cholesterol, Blood pressure, Blood Thinner, Steroids, and Acne medications.
Prevention: Consult your physician about alternative medications.
4. Anagen effluvium
Anagen effluvium is an abnormal, rapid loss of hair during the first phase (anagen) of the hair's growth cycle. It can be caused by drugs used for cancer treatment, trauma to the body, or exposure to certain toxic chemicals. Growth usually begins quickly after eliminating exposure to the cause. However, textural and color changes may occur in the new hair.
Prevention: Identify the cause of hair loss and eliminate it.
5. Telogen effluvium
Telogen effluvium is a reversible condition in which hair falls out after a stressful experience. Nothing can be done to prevent most of the types of physical shock that can start telogen effluvium. Some cases may be caused by a poor diet, and these might be prevented by eating a balanced diet that provides enough protein, iron, and other nutrients. The stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within a few months, those hairs can fall out. Types of stress can include surgery, childbirth, and serious illness. Prevention: In many cases, no treatment is needed and the hair often grows back when the stress goes away, however supplements and a balanced diet may be helpful.
When you deprive your body of certain foods, it can cause nutritional deficiencies that may lead to hair loss. When you don't get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs from your diet, it can cause a loss of hair. For instance, too little protein in your diet can damage healthy hair, and inhibit your body's ability to build new hair follicles. Very strict weight-loss diets can also cause noticeable hair loss, which commonly occurs about three months after losing 15 pounds or more of body weight.
Prevention: Eat a balanced diet and take proper supplements.
There is a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being thyroid disorders, anemia, eating disorders, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
Prevention: Consult a physician.
Women may lose hair following childbirth or during menopause. Men can also lose hair due to changes in hormonal makeup as they age. Hair loss due to hormonal changes and imbalances is temporary, though it's difficult to predict when the hair will start growing back. When there is an increase in testosterone in both sexes a hormone called DHT is created which commonly causes hair loss due to the miniaturization of the hair follicle.
In women, hormonal hair loss produces different results from men. Instead of the horseshoe-like hair pattern or receding hairline common in men, women with hormonal hair loss usually notice a thinning pattern across the entire scalp. Simply put, you probably won’t get a receding hairline if you’re prone to female-pattern hair loss, but your hair might become noticeably thinner.
Prevention: Use topical treatments and oral supplements with DHT blockers in them.
9. Self Care
Sometimes DIY hair treatments can go wrong. An example of this is giving yourself a relaxer, perm, hair color, or any other chemical treatment. The presence of chemicals on the scalp left unnoticed can cause a chemical burn thus creating hair loss. This hair loss can sometimes be reversible depending on the damage and severity.
Prevention: Seek the assistance of a licensed cosmetologist when doing certain hairstyles.
Tinea capitis also known as ringworm of the scalp is a fungal infection that penetrates deep into the hair shaft, causing itchiness and hair loss. Depending on the type of fungi responsible for the infection, the hair may break off at the scalp's surface or just above, leaving hair stubs.
Another type of fungal infection that causes hair loss is candida, also known as yeast. Candida thrives in warm and moist areas, but you can develop a scalp yeast infection even without these conditions. Your skin typically has a small amount of yeast that doesn’t cause any problems. But when too much of this type of yeast grows, you may develop an infection. Small cuts on your scalp may also provide an entryway for the fungus to get below the surface. All of these factors can create favorable conditions for Candida to grow.
Prevention: A scalp yeast infection is often curable with treatment, seek the help of a medical professional for assistance.
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