Hair Loss - Why Me?
Whilst it is still not fully understood what actually causes all forms of hair loss there have been great strides in determining major factors of hair loss.
Male Hair Loss - the Myths
Stress makes your hair fall out!
Although it is unclear whether stress or severe life events can cause alopecia there are case reports indicating that this may be so.
It is, however, very rare and frequently no cause can be found for severe and rapid developing alopecia.
Patients who have suffered hair loss following a stressful event may still benefit from specific treatment to assist in hair regrowth.
Bad Circulation starves the hair follicles
Although patients with poor circulation do not appear to be more likely to suffer from alopecia, tight fitting hats and wigs may cause hair loss in a very small minority of people. The mechanism is unclear but may be due to impairment of blood flow in the scalp. Care should be taken by alopecia sufferers who wear these garments.
Dirty hair damages the hair and it falls out
Just not true! How many times at school did you have dirty hair and get away with not washing it for a couple of days? Did you lose hair then? Of course not.
Male Hair Loss - the Real Causes
DHT & Androgen Receptors
Testosterone is an androgen hormone which is essential for healthy development of the body and maintenance of the secondary sexual differences between men and women. Testosterone is converted by an enzyme ( 5-alpha reductase) to form dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
This conversion occurs in peripheral tissues and results in higher levels of DHT in the scalp and in the blood. DHT is thought to play a major part in the development of androgenetic alopecia.
From puberty onwards, androgens interact with the genetically determined androgen-sensitive hair follicles, resulting in a sequence of events. This process includes gradual miniaturisation of the hair follicles, alteration of the hairgrowth cycle and eventually results in small thin hair follicles - the patient will experience thinning and loss of hair.
To alter the process and redress the balance of hair loss, products that inhibit DHT production, or interfere with the binding of the DHT, along with products that promote hair growth can be used.
When we have the situation detailed above our bodies react by considering these hair follicles as foreign objects that need to be dealt with!
This is an auto-immune response.
The body then rejects these hair follicles and this exacerbates the situation.
Symptoms include itching scalp, tingling and inflammation of the scalp.
You should consider the use of a shampoo that treats this irrespective of the hair loss solution you choose.
Male Hair Loss - the Next Step
Female Hair Loss
Hair loss can be common in females and is more common following the menopause but alopecia will not be manifest in all cases. In many cases the sufferer will simply notice increased hair loss and thinning of the hair; early treatment can improve the outcome. Although alopecia tends to be socially accepted in males it is unacceptable in females and in many cases it can have devastating effect on the sufferers emotional state and confidence. But you should not despair - there are products available that can help reduce hair loss and promote regrowth of hair. Read on....
First let us examine the myths that surround female hair loss!
Female Hair Loss - the Myths
There are many websites that try to dispel the "myths" of womens hair loss but some of these so-called "myths" do have a basis for truth. Let's now examine many of these popular "myths" and provide a balanced response.
Frequent shampooing contributes to hair loss.
Many websites say this is "rubbish", however, in textbooks of trichology it is recommended that "care should be taken of fragile and thinning hair. These measures include using gentle shampoos as heavily medicated shampoos can affect the scalp and brushing should be gentle. Any tangles of hair should be separated without pulling of the hair. So, it's not so much how frequently you wash your hair but what you wash your hair with!
Hats and wigs cause hair loss.
This is untrue on the whole, though if you are a sufferer of alopecia you should avoid tight fitting hats and wigs in our opinion.
100 strokes of the hair brush daily will create healthier hair.
This is not true and we wish it was that simple. However it is important to look after thinning and fragile hair and gentle brushing to maintain condition can be of benefit. Tangles should be separated by fingers without pulling the hair.
Permanent hair loss is caused by perms, colors and other cosmetic treatments.
Whilst treatments on hair can damage the nutrients and make it less healthy it will not lead to alopecia. However, should hair loss be experienced after perms etc. then you should avoid them.
Women are expected to develop significant hair loss if they are healthy.
Shaving one's head will cause the hair to grow back thicker.
Not true - in fact, if you are suffering from Androgenetic Alopecia this will actually just quicken your hair loss.
Standing on one's head will cause increased circulation and thereby stimulate hair growth
We're afraid not - increasing circulation just does not stimulate hair growth.
Dandruff causes permanent hair loss.
Stress causes permanent hair loss.
Stress can cause temporary hair loss but not permanent hair loss. Even then, it's rare!
Hair loss does not occur in the late teens or early twenties.
Whilst fairly rare this is not true.
Female Hair Loss - The Causes
The most common type of hair loss seen in women is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern alopecia or baldness. This is seen as hair thinning predominantly over the top and sides of the head. It affects approximately one-third of all susceptible women, but is most commonly seen after menopause, although it may begin as early as puberty. Normal hair fall is approximately 100-125 hairs per day. Fortunately, these hairs are replaced. True hair loss occurs when lost hairs are not regrown or when the daily hair shed exceeds 125 hairs. Genetically, hair loss can come from either parents side of the family.
There are two different types of hair loss, medically known as Anagen effluvium and Telogen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is generally due to internally administered medications, such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicle. Telogen effluvium, is due to an increased number of hair follicles entering the resting stage.
The most common causes of Telogen effluvium are:
- Physical stress: surgery, illness, anemia, rapid weight change.
- Emotional stress: mental illness, death of a family member.
- Thyroid abnormalities.
- Medications: High doses of Vitamin A, Blood pressure medications, Gout medications.
- Hormonal causes: pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause.
When the above causes of telogen effluvium are reversed or altered you should see the return of normal hair growth.
Female Hair Loss - The Next Step
Now we understand a little more about the causes of female hair loss it is time to examine your own situation. Click here to proceed to the "Evaluate Your Hair Loss"