Causes of Hair Loss
Many conditions and diseases, and improper hair care can result in excessive hair loss. While losing 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal, people who notice their hair shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing or whose hair becomes thinner or falls out, should consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- The most common cause of excessive hair loss is hereditary thinning or baldness.
- Other causes of hair loss, some of which are temporary, include:
- Some cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapeutic medications;
- Alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that affects all ages, which causes hair to fall out in patches
- Excessive or improper use of styling products, such as perms, dyes, gels, relaxers and sprays can cause weathering – or hair breakage
- Hairstyles that pull on the hair, like ponytails and braids
- Shampooing, combing or brushing hair too much (l00 strokes or more a day) or too hard, or pulling it out
- One of at least 30 diseases, such as thyroid disease
- Following childbirth, major surgery, a high fever or severe infection, oven the flu
- Inadequate protein in the diet or eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia
- Certain prescription drugs (including blood thinners, high dose vitamin A and medicines for arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems and high blood pressure)
- Use of birth control pills (usually in women with an inherited tendency toward hair thinning) or a few months after discontinuation of oral contraceptives
- Hormonal imbalances, especially in women; and
- Ringworm of the scalp, a contagious fungal infection most common in children
Psychosocial Impact of Hair Loss
While the physical symptoms of hair loss can be traumatic for patients, the psychosocial impact of the hair loss can be just as severe.
- In quality-of-life studies of people with androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as male-or female-patterned hair loss, the research finds that there is an increased prevalence of personality disorders in patients experiencing this type of hair loss when compared to the general population.
- Women also reported a higher incidence of behavior that interfered with their daily lives-including a significant loss of self-esteem, being introverted, feeling less attractive, and tense feelings in public places.
Treatment of Hair Loss
- Topical minoxidil (for men and women) and oral finasteride (for men only) have been shown to help in the regrowth of hair or slow hereditary hair loss.
- Hair loss caused by diseases such as thyroid disease can be reversed with treatment of the underlying disease.
- Topical or oral estrogen, or other female-specific hormones are sometimes prescribed for women experiencing hair loss.
- Hair transplantation is a permanent form of hair replacement utilizing dermatologic surgery that involves moving some existing scalp hair to bald or thinning parts. It may benefit men with male pattern baldness, some women with thinning hair and people who have lost some but not all hair from burns or other scarring injuries to the scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes.