Hair loss, known scientifically as alopecia, can be the result of a wide range of causes. Cicatricial alopecia refers to hair loss that occurs after the hair follicles are damaged, either through inflammation, or by physical means. This damage is permanent and creates scar tissue within the site of hair production, preventing any hair in the future from growing. Noncicatricial hair loss, however, leaves the hair follicle undamaged, suggesting that regrowth of the hair is possible in the future.
Characteristics of Excessive Hair Loss
Hair shedding is a normal part of the growth and development cycle of hair. Usually a hair follicle goes through a period of growth, shedding, and resting. You should not feel distressed if you find some hair falling out. If you have long hair, it may seem that the quantity of hair shed may be excessive; however, excessive hair loss is the loss of 100 or more strands of hair per day. This shedding may be noticed while combing hair, washing it, or in other ways like waking up to a pillow covered in hair. If you notice this excessive shedding, you should see a dermatologist in order to diagnose and treat your condition. The treatment may involve topical or oral administration of drugs, or may be just a change in diet.
Evidence of hair loss may be found through the following:
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss is a condition with many causes. Some of these causes may be normal as your life progresses, while others can be due to an imbalance or disease. Here is a list of common causes of hair loss:
Noncicatricial Hair Loss
Cicatricial Hair Loss
Diagnosis of Hair Loss
The individual may be able to assess if his/her hair loss is normal or excessive, but to confirm the diagnosis of excessive hair loss, a consultation with a dermatologist is recommended. A dermatologist can order tests that may reveal the cause of the hair loss, and indicate the most appropriate treatment.
When is Hair Loss Normal?
Men: Hair loss is normal in men 45 years of age or older who have a genetic predisposition for balding.
Women: During pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding. More on female hair loss.
Treatments for Hair Loss
There are various types of treatments for hair loss. Deciding which to adhere to will depend on the cause. Your dermatologist will help you treat hair loss according to the condition that caused it.
When hair loss is caused by diseases, imbalances, or deficiencies, once the condition is corrected, it should grow back, provided that there isn’t any scarring within the follicles. Drug treatments that may have caused hair loss may be discontinued when safe to do so, allowing for the hair to return. Iron-rich foods such as meat and eggs, as well as zinc supplements, may also facilitate hair growth.
Here are some common causes of hair loss and their treatments:
How to Prevent Hair Loss
There are many things you can do to maintain the health of your hair and reduce the chance of it falling out. Foremost of these is a healthful diet with adequate vitamins and minerals, as well as protein. Unfortunately, hair loss may also be caused by heredity; despite a healthy diet and lifestyle your hair will fall out.
Here is a list of things you can do to decrease the chance of hair loss:
Additionally, it is important to keep your stress level down and exercise regularly. Exercising promotes circulation, consequently leading to a well nourished and stronger hair that is more resistant to falling out. It is also important to note that hair loss is common in the early months of breastfeeding, after surgery, and in the case of hormonal disorders.
Can Stress Cause Hair Loss?
Stress has a wide range of effects on the body. Stress hormones may affect the skin, nails, and hair and change the way they function. One of these functions is the production of skin oils, which during stress increases and can aggravate conditions like dandruff. The function of hair growth itself can be altered during times of stress, resulting in hair loss.
When you are stressed, your hair production may be hindered and hair that falls out and enters the rest phase of hair growth does not grow back right away. The accumulation of hair follicles suspended in that rest phase during stress means that the hair that is naturally falling out is not replaced. The thinning that results from this is stress induced hair loss.
How to Minimize Stress Induced Hair Loss
The best remedy for stress related hair loss is to get rid of the stress. Because this isn't always easy to accomplish, you can do things that will keep the hair follicles that are in the growth phase stay healthy:
Is Stress Induced Hair Loss Reversible?
Fortunately, stress related hair loss is usually reversible. When your stress levels are reduced and your bodily functions return to normal, the hair follicles of your scalp that have entered the rest state will “awake” and begin to produce hair once again.
Vitamins for Hair Loss
Vitamins for hair loss are a great way to build up and strengthen hair from its root, preventing it from falling out and making it less brittle.Vitamins and minerals to grow healthy hair and prevent hair loss include:
Although the above substances will help with hair loss, taking too much of them may be harmful as well. Please consult with your health care practitioner on dosage and possible interactions with medication if you plan on taking them to prevent or reverse hair loss.
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