Hair Loss: Everything You Need to Know About Hair Loss

What exactly is hair loss?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 80 million men and women in the United States suffer from genetic hair loss (alopecia). It might impact only your scalp hair or your complete body. Although alopecia is more common among older persons, children can sometimes have significant hair loss.

It’s common to lose 50 to 100 hairs every day. With over 100,000 hairs on your head, even a minor hair loss is barely perceptible. New hair usually grows in to replace the hair that has fallen out, although this does not always happen. Hair loss can happen gradually over time or suddenly. Hair loss can be either permanent or transient.

It’s hard to keep track of how much hair is lost on any one day. If you find clumps of hair in your brush or a big amount of hair in the drain after washing your hair, you may be losing more hair than is typical. You can also see bald spots or thinning hair. If you discover you’re losing more hair than usual, you should talk to your doctor about it. They can figure out what’s causing your hair loss and make therapy recommendations.

What causes hair loss?

Your doctor or dermatologist (a specialist who specializes in skin disorders) will first try to figure out what’s causing your hair loss. Hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness is the most prevalent cause of hair loss.

This form of hair loss is more likely if you have a family history of baldness. Hereditary hair loss can be triggered by certain sex hormones. It can start at any age, including puberty. Hair loss can sometimes be caused by a simple pause in the hair development cycle. Hair loss can be caused by major diseases, surgeries, or traumatic occurrences. However, without therapy, your hair will normally begin to regrow.

Hair loss can be caused by hormonal changes. Here are several examples:

  • pregnancy
  • childbirth
  • discontinuing the use of birth control pills
  • menopause

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of medical disorders, including:

  • thyroid disease
  • alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles)
  • scalp infections like ringworm

Scarring diseases like lichen planus and some kinds of lupus can cause lifelong hair loss as a result of the scarring.

Hair loss can also be caused by drugs used to treat the following conditions:

  • cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • arthritis
  • depression
  • heart problems

Hair loss can occur as a result of a physical or mental trauma. The following are some examples of this sort of shock:

  • a death in the family
  • extreme weight loss
  • a high fever

Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) is a condition in which people feel compelled to pull their hair out, commonly from their head, brows, or eyelashes. Hairstyles that pull the hair back excessively tightly might cause traction hair loss by putting pressure on the follicles. Hair thinning can also be caused by a diet low in protein, iron, and other minerals.

How do you know if you’re losing your hair?

Hair loss that persists is generally a sign of an underlying health problem. Based on a physical examination and your medical history, your doctor or dermatologist can establish the reason of your hair loss. Simple dietary modifications may be beneficial in some circumstances. Your prescription drugs may also be changed by your doctor.

A biopsy of the skin on your scalp may be taken if your dermatologist detects an autoimmune or skin illness. A little portion of skin will be gently removed for laboratory testing. It’s critical to remember that hair development is a complicated process. It may take some time to figure out what’s causing your hair loss.

What are the hair loss therapy options?

Medications will most likely be the first line of defense against hair loss. The majority of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are topical creams and gels that are applied directly to the scalp. Minoxidil is a common component found in most goods (Rogaine). According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your doctor may prescribe minoxidil in addition to other hair loss therapies. Minoxidil can cause scalp discomfort and hair growth in other places of your body, such as your forehead or cheeks.

Hair loss can also be treated with prescription drugs. For male-pattern baldness, doctors recommend finasteride (Propecia), an oral drug. To reduce hair loss, you take this drug on a regular basis. When males take finasteride, they may see new hair growth. Finasteride has a few adverse effects, including decreased sex drive and poor sexual function. According to the Mayo Clinic, there may be a relationship between finasteride use and a more deadly kind of prostate cancer (high-grade)

Prednisone and other corticosteroids are also prescribed by doctors. This can be used to decrease inflammation and inhibit the immune system in those who have alopecia areata. Corticosteroids are hormones that your adrenal glands produce. Inflammation is reduced and the immune system is suppressed when the body has a high level of corticosteroid.

You should keep a close eye on these drugs’ negative effects. The following are examples of possible negative effects:

  • Glaucoma: a group of eye illnesses that can damage the optic nerve and cause visual loss.
  • fluid retention and swelling in the lower legs
  • higher blood pressure
  • cataracts
  • high blood sugar

Corticosteroid usage has also been linked to an increased risk of the following conditions:

  • infections
  • calcium loss from bones, which may lead to osteoporosis
  • thin skin and easy bruising
  • sore throat
  • hoarseness

Procedures in Medicine

Medication alone isn’t always enough to stop hair loss. Baldness can be treated using surgical techniques.

Surgery for Hair Transplantation

Hair transplant surgery involves transplanting tiny plugs of skin, each containing a few hairs, to bare areas of the scalp. Because patients with hereditary baldness often lose hair on the top of their heads, this method works well for them. You’d require many operations over time because this sort of hair loss is progressive.

Reduction of the Scalp

A surgeon removes the hairless area of your head during a scalp reduction. The surgeon next uses a hair-covered portion of your scalp to seal the wound. A flap is another possibility, in which your surgeon drapes hair-covered scalp over a bald region. This is a sort of hair removal.

Bald patches can potentially be covered by tissue growth. It will take two procedures to complete. A tissue expander is placed under a hairy region of your scalp close to the bald spot during the initial procedure. The expander expands out the hairy portion of your scalp after a few weeks. The expander is removed in the second procedure, and the enlarged patch of scalp with hair is pulled over the bald place. These baldness surgery treatments can be costly, and they come with dangers. These are some of them:

  • patchy hair growth
  • bleeding
  • wide scars
  • infection

It’s also possible that your graft won’t take, in which case you’ll have to redo the procedure.

How can I prevent hair loss?

There are things you can do to keep your hair from falling out. Hairstyles that exert too much strain on your hair, such as braids, ponytails, and buns, should be avoided. These styles cause lasting harm to your hair follicles over time. Avoid pulling, twisting, or rubbing your hair. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet that contains enough iron and protein.

Hair loss can be exacerbated or caused by certain aesthetic regimes. If you’re experiencing hair loss, wash your hair with a mild baby shampoo. Unless your hair is particularly greasy, you should only wash it every other day. Always pat your hair dry instead of rubbing it.

Hair loss can also be caused by styling products and appliances. The following are some examples of goods or tools that can help with hair loss:

  • blow dryers
  • heated combs
  • hair straighteners
  • coloring products
  • bleaching agents
  • perms
  • relaxers

If you want to use hot equipment to style your hair, wait until it’s completely dry. Also, utilize the lowest possible settings.

What are the long-term prospects of hair loss?

Hair loss can be stopped or even reversed with rigorous therapy, especially if it’s caused by a medical condition. Hair loss caused by hereditary factors may be more difficult to manage. Certain procedures, such as hair transplants, can, nevertheless, assist to hide baldness.

Consult your doctor about all of your choices for reducing the impact of hair loss.

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