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Causes of Hair Loss


It is very important to bear in mind that we're all unique and the rate and degree of hair loss will vary for every person. 

Most people shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair each day and even though this may appear as being a great deal it is not enough to cause any noticeable difference as typically we have around 100,000 strands of hair on our scalp. In brief each strand of our hair has growth and rest cycles and it is the length of each cycle as well as the quality of the growth that will determine the incidence of hair loss. The Growth cycle (anagen phase) varies between individuals but generally can last two - three years, although the rest cycle (telogen phase) usually lasts only two - three months. Once we loose hair the scalp naturally replaces the old discarded hair with new strands, however when the new hair is not replaced as quickly as it is lost then a noticeable volume of hairloss becomes visible as time passes. Reasons for the new hair not being replaced or the old hair being shed faster can be varied although a large percentage can be related to hormonal changes. These changes can be simply due to changes related to age in addition to changes bought on by pregnancy, illness and the like.

Factors that cause Thinning hair.

Alopecia

There are many forms of alopecia which all have differing levels of hair thinning. Below is a number of the several forms of the loss of hair (alopecia). It is worth noting that many forms of hairloss can be traced back to medical ailments that stress the immune system e.g. Lupus, or stress specific organs of the body (i.e. Coronary disease, diabetics, hormonal changes, scalp infections etc)

Alopecia Androgenetic (Pattern Baldness)

Pattern Baldness in both men and women is defined by the length of our hair growth cycle as well as the quality of the new hair being grown. Hence as the growth cycle slows down and the resting/loss cycle becomes more accelerated hair loss begins to outweigh hair growth and pattern baldness becomes more apparent. The quality of the new growth plays a large part because as the quality declines so does the strength of the roots which experts claim adds to the rate of thinning hair. For this reason many treatments target strengthening or improving the quality of our regrowth and not only just endeavouring to stimulate new growth. Often pattern baldness is Hereditary and it is the heredity factors that may determine the degree, rate and onset age of pattern baldness.

Alopecia Areata.

This is the most typical of the more severe forms of alopecia, however for most alopecia areata sufferers it is often associated with some type of autoimmune disease e.g. Lupus. The hair loss is often in a number of places on the scalp and presents as localized round patched differing in dimensions.

Alopecia Areata Totalis.

As suggested from the name this particular type of alopecia causes total hair loss on the scalp and can occur either slowly over time or very rapidly. The speed of hair loss varies between individuals and it's also unfamiliar as to what factors promote the pace of loss.

Alopecaia Areata Unversalis.

This is actually the rarest form of alopecia and results in total hair loss not just on the scalp but everywhere in the body for example facial hair, eyebrows, eyelashes etc

Trichotillomania (hair pulling)

Trichotillomania is usually a disorder in which the sufferer has a compulsive behaviour of pulling out his or her own hair. They can pull hair from any part of the body, however it is pulling of scalp hair that's obviously most noticeable. This compulsion exceeds the normal degree of a behaviour that individuals perceive as a habit.

The cause of this compulsion will be different between individuals, yet it's often attributed to anxiety from stressful situations in the persons life. Trichotillomania has been described in such cases as a self-soothing mechanism used by the person to handle the worry or anxiety that they are enduring.

It is believed that genetics can start to play a major part in this disorder with a few people being more genetically disposed to becoming a sufferer.

Other reasons behind Hair thinning

Some medical conditions may cause hair thinning temporarily. Conditions like anemia, thyroid diseases, Lupus, diabetes and others. Sometimes this hair loss can be quite rapid. Some women discover that after pregnancy they experience degrees of hair thinning. Certain medications may also cause thinning hair. These medications include medications for the treatment of acne, cancer, coronary disease, high cholesterol and many more. Women on the pill for birth control can experience some thinning hair also.

When chemotherapy must be used to treat cancer there can be very rapid thinning hair of the whole scalp. In most cases the hair will regrow back as soon as the chemotherapy treatment is stopped. However the regrowth of the persons hair can be dependant upon the severity of the illness and the length that a person has been ill the hair loss will vary.

Management of The loss of hair

Treatment will vary dependant upon the reason for the Hair Loss. In certain instances the hair loss is temporary and will fully regrow with no treatment. Hormone replacement therapy can block the hormone effects on the hair follicles. Cortisone injections and the use of topical creams and lotions can be used in some cases of alopecia areata. Anti fungals and antibiotics may also be used if there is an infection causing the hair loss.

There are surgical alternatives for some sufferers of hair loss like hair transplantation, scalp reductions and artificial hair fibre techniques. Some people have tried vitamins, zinc, hair lotions and tonics. There is no scientific proof that these promote hair growth or slow hair loss.

Wigs and Hairpieces can assist in covering the area of hair thinning in most cases whether it is temporary or not.

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