Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness is the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows.
The severity of hair loss varies from a small area to the entire part of the body. Hair loss in humans could cause psychological distress. Its inflammation or scarring could make some people seriously concerned and could alter their looks. However, there are ways of treating or preventing hair loss. For a successful treatment or prevention, one has to understand the type of hair loss.
TYPES OF HAIR LOSS
This disease is asymptomatic. It can come at any age and is often not permanent. Stress is a major trigger of this. It’s an autoimmune disease where the body erroneously attacks the hair follicles, causing inflammation which leads to hair loss.
It can be caused by a diverse group of rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle, replacing it with scar tissue and thus causing permanent hair loss.
In some cases, hair loss is associated with severe itching, burning and pain and is rapidly progressive. The inflammation that destroys the follicle is below the skin surface and there is usually no ‘scar’ seen on the scalp.
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS AND FEMALE PATTERN BALDNESS
It is a hair loss that primarily affects the top front of the scalp. In males the hair loss often starts as a receding hairline. Classic male-pettern hair loss begins above the temples and vertex or calvana of the scalp. As it progresses, a rim of hair at the side and rear of the head remains. It rarely progresses to complete baldness.
Female pattern hair loss typically begins as a thinning of the hair. It causes diffuse thinning without hairline recession and rarely leads to total hair loss.
New studies have shown that some experts say they have discovered what they believe is the cause of male pattern baldness. Some believe it’s not simply a lack of hair, rather a problem with the new hair that is made.
A manufacturing defect means the hair produced is so small, it appears invisible to the naked eye, giving the classic bald spot or receding hairline.
CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
- Hormones – Androgen stimulate facial hair growth, but can suppress scalp hair, a condition called the Androgen paradox
- Pulling out of hair
- Malnutrition, including iron deficiency
- Radiation therapy
Hair loss often follows childbirth without causing baldness. In this situation, the hair is actually thicker during pregnancy due to increased circulating estrogens. After the baby is born, the estrogen levels fall back to normal pre-pregnancy levels and the additional hair foliage drops out.
- Unhealthy scalp environment
This can play a significant role in hair thinning by contributing to miniaturization or causing damage. Air and water pollutants, environment toxins, conventional styling products and excessive amounts of sebum have the potential to build up on the scalp.
The debris can block hair follicles and cause their deterioration and consequent miniaturization of hair. It can also physically restrict hair growth or damage the hair circle, leading to hair that is weakened and easily broken off before its natural lifecycle has ended.
- Tricotilomania and traction alopecia
Tricotilomania is the loss of hair caused by compulsive pulling and bending of the hairs. Onset of this disorder tends to begin around the onset of puberty and usually continues through adulthood. Due to the extraction of the hair roots, permanent hair loss can occur.
Traction alopecia is most commonly found in people with ponytails, who weave or braid their hair regularly, who pull on their hair with excessive force. In addition, rigorous brushing and heat styling, rough scalp massage can damage the cuticle, the hard outer casing of the hair. This causes stands to become weak and break off, reducing overall hair volume.
TREATMENT OF THEIR LOSS
- Hair transplant surgery
- Steroid injections