Hairfall

Hair fall is not a life-threatening condition. But it can become seriously jeopardize one’s self-confidence by drastically changing for the worse how he/she looks. Men, women and even children can experience hair loss. This condition occurs generally as a result of hormonal changes, heredity, medical conditions or as a side-effect of some medications. Hair loss due to hereditary reasons is the most common cause of hair fall.
The hair growth rate slows down as people age and is called alopecia. There are lot many hair loss types:
  • Involutional Alopecia– It is the natural gradual thinning of hair with age. There is an increase in the number of hair follicles which enter the resting phase and the other hairs become fewer and shorter.
  • Androgenic Alopecia– Both women and men can be affected by this genetic condition. Men who have this condition may start losing hair even in their teenage years. This is known as male-pattern baldness. It is marked by gradual hair loss from the frontal scalp and the crown and the hairline receding. Women affected by this have hair thinning after their forties. It is known as female-pattern baldness and maximum hair loss happens near the crown.
  • Alopecia Areata– It usually has a sudden onset and leads to hair loss in patches in young adults and children. It may lead to total balding (alopecia totalis). In over 90% of people having this condition, the hair grows back within a few years.
  • Trichotillomania– It is observed most commonly in children. A person tears out their own hair because of this psychological disorder.
  • Telogen Effluvium– Hair growth cycle changes lead to a temporary thinning of hair on the scalp. It happens due to a lot of hair entering the resting phase which leads to shedding of a hair and consequent thinning.
  • Scarring Alopecia– It leads to irreversible hair loss. Inflammatory conditions of the skin like folliculitis, acne and cellulitis, results in scarring that destroys the hair’s ability to regenerate. Tightly woven hair and hot combs may result in irreversible hair loss as well.
What are the causes of hair fall?
Hair fall is most commonly prevalent in people who have had a family history of hair loss, genetics play a huge role in this. Some hormones also trigger hair loss which usually begins during puberty. Other factors such as traumatic events, surgeries and major illnesses can also trigger acute hair fall. In such cases, hair starts growing back on its own after some time. Temporary hair loss can be caused due to menopause, sudden discontinuation of birth control pills, childbirth and hormonal changes due to pregnancy.
Sometimes severe medical conditions can also cause hair loss such as scalp infections (ringworm), alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder which damages the hair follicles) and thyroid disease. Disorders like lichen planus and certain types of lupus can also cause lichens which result in hair fall. Many times hair fall can also be triggered by the use of medications used to treat heart problems, depressionarthritishigh blood pressure and cancer. Emotional or physical shock can also trigger hair loss such as high fever, extreme weight loss and death in the family.
A hair-pulling disorder known as trichotillomania makes the affected person pull out his/her hair deliberately. It is an impulse control disorder which can be treated by therapy. The affected person can pull out hair from their eyelash, eyebrows and the scalp. Tying our hair very tightly puts immense pressure on the hair resulting in breakage. This is known as traction hair loss. Consuming less iron and protein in your diet can also lead to thin hair.
There are few other causes through which hair loss occurs:
  • Hormones– Abnormal androgen levels may cause hair to fall as well.
  • Genes– Genes from either parent can increase the likelihood of a person having female or male pattern baldness.
  • Drugs– Blood thinners, cancer treatment drugs, birth-control medication and beta blockers may lead to hair fall as well.
  • Medical Predispositions– Diabetes, lupus, iron deficiency, thyroid disease, anaemia and eating disorders may lead to hair fall. Usually, when the root cause is treated, hair grows back again.
  • Cosmetic– Procedures like perming, hair dyes, bleaching and over the use of shampoo can all lead to thinning of hair, making it brittle and weak. Braiding hair tightly, using hot curlers or rollers also causes hair breakage and damage. These, however, don’t lead to baldness.

 

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