Quick 30 Seconds Summary of Guide To Hair Loss
- Hair loss is medically known as alopecia.
- More than 147 million people suffer from hair loss globally.
- Ageing, heredity, hormonal changes, stress, medical conditions, and wrong hair treatments cause hair loss.
- Hair loss is treated through medication and in some cases surgery.
- Alternative treatments found in Ayurveda and Aromatherapy have proven to be beneficial for hair loss patients.
- Preventive steps and home remedies can be incorporated into the daily life of hair loss patients to avoid extreme balding or thinning of the hairline.
Hair Loss - Meaning & Overview
Hair loss is a global health and beauty issue with over 147 million people suffering from it. This is a mind-boggling number considering that most people who suffer from hair loss do not take any concrete steps to prevent it or mitigate it. Perfect Health Magazine’s article on hair loss will cover everything about hair loss from symptoms, causes to treatments and preventive steps.
What Is Hair Loss?
The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Alopecia is a medical condition where the human body loses hair more rapidly than its production. Hair is a product of the protein Keratin and can be found everywhere on the body except for the palms, soles, eyelids and belly buttons. Hair densely covers our scalp and offers extra protection to the head. The protein keratin springs out of the hair follicles located on the body.
Adults on an average have approximately 150,000 hair on their head and losing about 100 hair per day is considered normal hair loss (normal hair loss needs no medical treatment, it is a natural process of the body).
Hair loss or Alopecia occurs mostly on the head but many patients see an overall loss of hair in other places on the body as well.
While alopecia is not a gender specific disorder, mostly men suffer from it. Extreme and sudden hair loss also causes a person to lose confidence and have low self-esteem.
What Are The Different Types Of Hair Loss Or Alopecia?
Following are the different types of hair loss or alopecia:
This is a genetic medical condition that affects the human body regardless of gender. Androgenic alopecia is seen in both men and women.
When men suffer from androgenic alopecia it is called as male pattern baldness and when women suffer from it, it is called as female pattern baldness.
Gradually receding hairline, thin hair and hair loss characterise androgenic alopecia.
This type of alopecia is the result of ageing. Fewer production of Keratin as the body ages causes involutional alopecia.
As the name suggests alopecia universalis is a kind of alopecia where the body loses all body hair including the eye lashes, pubic hair and eyebrows.
This is a type of sudden and shocking hair loss. Alopecia areata is characterised by bald patches and thin hair in both children and adults.
Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder where a person’s distress leads to him/her pulling out their own hair. This type of hair loss needs mental healing to cure.
This type of hair loss is temporary and may not result in permanent balding. The hair growth cycle when undergoing changes causes telogen effluvium.
Other medical conditions such as skin inflammations leave permanent scars on the scalp. These scars stop the ability to regenerate hair follicles and result in permanent baldness. Damaging hair treatments can also result in scarring alopecias.
What Are The Causes Of Hair Loss?
- Heredity – genetics and family history play a big role in causing alopecia or hair loss.
- Hormonal Changes – the human body goes through various hormonal changes as it ages. Some of the hormonal changes can cause extreme hair loss.
- Medical Conditions – medical conditions such as cancer, ringworm and auto immune disorders can lead to hair loss.
- Radiation Therapy – radiation therapy is prescribed to patients with cancer. This treatment causes extreme hair loss in patients.
- Stress – shocking events, trauma and stress can cause sudden hair loss.
Hairstyles and hair treatments – people who regularly undergo hair treatments such as straightening, curling, coloring etc. will see hair loss as time progresses. Since many hair treatments harm the quality of the hair and lead to problems with the hair growth cycle.
When To See A Doctor For Hair Loss?
A little hair on your comb every day is quite normal and natural. Losing a few strands of hair should not send you in a tizzy and cause you to worry.
However, if you start losing an abnormally high amount of hair, notice your hairline receding or observe bald patches, then it is time to see a doctor.
Hair specialists are known as trichologists in the medical field. A trichologist is qualified to treat all forms of hair loss and any other hair issues.
How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed?
A trichologist or hair expert diagnoses hair loss by physically examining your hair and scalp, inquiring about the symptoms you have observed, blood tests, and only if necessary then a scalp biopsy.
It is important for the doctor to determine the type of alopecia in order to formulate a good treatment plan for you.
What Are The Different Ways Of Treating Hair Loss?
Hair loss treatments can facilitate in the regeneration of hair follicles and regrowth of hair for patients facing hair loss. There are many effective hair loss treatments that have worked wonders for both men and women.
- Generally the first step in treating hair loss is prescribing medication and supplements to strengthen the hair.
- Doctors recommend Minoxidil which is an over-the-counter medication. It is available as a liquid/foam/shampoo. Twice a day external application on the scalp is necessary to start seeing good results. The minimum timeframe for reversal of hair loss and regeneration of hair is 6 months with Minoxidil.
- Finasteride is a drug prescribed for men being treated for alopecia. It is a tablet which needs to be consumed daily, as per the dosage recommended by your doctor. Men start seeing a visible slowing in hair loss when they consume finasteride for atleast a few months consistently.
- Depending on your case the doctor may prescribe additional oils, shampoos, hair packs, drugs etc. to halt the hair loss as quickly as possible.
- Hair Transplant Surgery is a surgical option for hair loss. A cosmetic surgeon is qualified to perform this surgery and treat permanent hair loss successfully.
What Are The Preventive Steps To Avoid Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be prevented if you take the following steps in advances and make them a part of your lifestyle.
- Using a good quality shampoo and conditioner regularly can ensure that your hair’s health remains strong and there minimal hair loss.
- When brushing or combing your hair, it is important that you be gentle with it. Brash movements or pulling them too harshly can cause hair loss. Use oils or detanglifying liquids when brushing your hair.
- Take vitamin supplements to increase the strength of your hair internally.
- Do not expose your hair to harsh weather elements such as the sunlight or winds or rains. Protect them from Ultra Violet radiation.
- In case you are a smoker, Perfect Health Magazine suggests that you stop smoking. Smoking adversely affects the hair growth.
What Are Alternative Therapies To Treat Hair Loss?
Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic treatments and home remedies can successfully treat hair loss.
Aromatherapy practitioners use a combination of cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, thyme and tulsi to stimulate hair growth. There are many other herbal elements that may be used to slowly stop hair loss and regenerate new hair follicles. These treatments are 100% natural and have no side effects.
Ayurveda has extensively covered hair loss treatments. Hair loss treatments are determined based on the imbalance that is occuring in the patients 3 doshas ( vaat, pitta and kapha). Ayurvedic Vaidyas prescribe treatments such as Shirodhara, Shiro Abhyanga, Shirolepa, and Nasya. These treatments also ask the patients to follow a strict diet regimen that includes the consumption of various herbs and natural elements for best results.
- Regularly massaging the scalp with coconut oil and almond oil improves the hair quality abundantly.
- Apply pure aloevera gel to the hair before shampooing them.
- Change your lifestyle and dietary routine to include more proteins and foods like amla for halting hair loss in its tracks.
- Take fish oil tablets on a daily basis.
- Ginseng supplements can stimulate hair growth naturally. One should add Ginseng supplements to their daily supplement pack for treating hair loss.
- Applying fresh lemon juice to the scalp before a shampoo can work wonders for hair loss.
- Manage stress with regular exercise and meditation to prevent hair loss.