Hair Fall/Hair Loss

HomeHair Fall/Hair Loss
Hair Fall/Hair Loss2020-04-02T20:03:26+05:30

Do you dread brushing your hair with the fear of having a thick bunch of hair in your hand? Hair-fall is indeed a very common problem these days and major cause of stress and low self-esteem. Our heads have about 100,000 to 150,000 strands of hair and normally, we lose up to 100 of them per day- thus, having few strands in your comb or hairbrush shouldn’t bother you. If the hairloss is too much, it needs medical intervention.On this page we will learn about what is hairloss and what we can do about it.

HAIR LOSS

Our hair is made up of keratin- a protein thatis produced in the hair follicles. As new hair cells are produced, old cells are pushed out of the surface of the skin. The hair that we see is actually a strand of dead keratin.

  • Anagen phase characterised by active hair growth which lasts around 2-6 years.

  • Catagen phase or transitional hair growth stage which lasts for 2-3 weeks.

  • Telogen phase also called the resting phase includes no hair growth and lasts for 2-3 months.

Around 90% of our hair is growing at any time, rest 10% are at their resting stage. In about 3-4 months, the hair in the resting stage falls off and new hair grows. If the hairloss is excessive, there is probably an underlying condition.

TYPES OF HAIR LOSS

Hair-loss is also called alopecia. Alopecia is of few types:

Androgenic alopecia: It is a genetic condition that affects both men and women. Men with this condition develop a receding hairline and gradual loss of hair in the crown and frontal scalp area. In women, there is thinning of hair on the entire scalp and hair loss is more in the crown area.

Alopecia areata: This type of baldness starts suddenly in children and adults and begins with patchy hairloss. This may eventually lead to complete baldness. However, in most people with this condition, the hair returns in a few years.

Alopecia universalis: This type is characterised by total hairloss, not only in the scalp but also in the eyelashes, eyebrows and pubic area.

Involutional alopecia: This is a condition in which hair thins and sheds with age.

Trichotillomania: It is a psychological disorder in children in which hair loss occurs by pulling one’s own hair.

Trichotillomania: It is a psychological disorder in children in which hair loss occurs by pulling one’s own hair.

HAIR LOSS CAUSES

Some of the common causes of hairloss are:

  • Abnormal levels of hormones such as androgens

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Childbirth

  • Stress and illness

  • Conditions like fungal infections, thyroid disorder, lupus, diabetes and anaemia

  • Drugs such as chemotherapy drugs, antiplatelets, contraceptives

  • Burn injuries and exposure to harmful radiation

  • Low protein or very low-calorie diet

  • Excess use of dyes, chemicals, blow dryers and curling iron

Factors like having a family history of baldness, increasing age, stress, smoking and sudden significant weight loss increase your risk of having hair fall.

SIGNS OF HAIR LOSS

The signs of hair loss may be different in men, women and children. The following are the common presentations:

IN MEN
IN MEN

Receding hairline

Thinning of hair

Patchy baldness in the crown area

IN WOMEN
IN WOMEN
General thinning of hair which is most evident in the crown area.
IN CHILDREN
IN CHILDREN

Hairless patches on the scalp and eyebrows.

Excessive shedding of hair, especially after an illness.

DIAGNOSIS

Bald patches can be determined visually. Sometimes, you may have to undergo tests to determine the underlying cause of hair loss:

Scalp biopsy: In this test, the doctor would take a scrape out a small amount of tissue with the hair roots. This sample would be evaluated under microscope. This test helps to find if there is a fungal infection of the scalp.

Pull test: In this test, your doctor would grasp few strands of hair and apply a slight pull. If many hair fall off, it means that most hair are in the resting stage of the life cycle.

Blood tests:Blood test helps to find out whether you have anaemia or any underlying health problems that may be causing hair loss.

PREVENTING HAIR LOSS

If you have genetic conditions like alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia, then you cannot prevent hair-fall. In other cases, follow these measures to prevent hair damage and hair fall.

Love your natural hair: Avoid using too much of chemicals like dyes and devices like curling iron, straightness which disturb the natural make up of your hair. These make the hair dry and brittle.

Choose suitable hair products: Use mild shampoos to clean your hair. For brushing your hair, make sure that the bristles of the brush are not too hard.

Use proper hair combing/ brushing techniques: Do not brush when your hair is wet. While brushing, use complete strokes from the scalp to tip of the hair. Use a wide toothed comb to prevent pulling of hair.

Protect your hair:Protect your hair from sunlight and harmful radiations. Also protect your hair from dust and pollution. Wear a scarf while you go out.

Prevent chemo- related hairloss: If you are on chemo medications, talk to your doctor about cooling cap which help to decrease hair loss.

Eat healthy: Nutritional deficits also increase the risk of hair fall.

HOME REMEDIES

Dietary measures: Eat foods that are rich in minerals such as calcium, iron,copper, chromium, iodine, zinc, and magnesium which promote hair growth. Such foods improve blood circulation and promote hair growth. Vit B(present in whole grains, egg yolks, liver, rice and milk), Vitamin A(carrots) and vitamin E(yogurt, dark green veggies and whole grains) are also very good for improving growth and quality of hair.

Herbal preparations:Certain herbal preparations can be very useful in treating hair loss. They include- Ginkgo biloba extracts along with coconut oil(apply on scalp and massage for 2 mins); Indian gooseberry (Amla) (dry gooseberry boiled with coconut oil applied on the scalp); application of onion juice on hairless patches; applying rosemary, lavender and walnut oil on the scalp.

TREATMENT

If you experience any symptoms and your hair-loss is a cause of concern for you, talk to your doctor and find out which treatment is appropriate for you. If the onset of hair-loss seems to be sudden and severe, it might indicate an underlying disease. Here is the list of treatments which have been proven to be effective and very useful for people with alopecia

Wigs and tattoos: The simplest you could do is opt for a wig. There are numerous wig varieties with different styles, colours and texture. Consult a wig specialist and find out which wig suits you the best. If there are hairless patches in the eyebrow or eyelashes region, check out for tattoos which can help hide the patches.

Medications:  The medications which are used for treating hair fall and baldness include:

  • Minoxidil: This is an over-the-counter medication andis usually available as topical creams and foams. This drug directly works on the hair follicles, reverses their shrinking process and stimulates growth of new hair. When you start using it, the hairfall may increase at first but continue the treatment for atleast 6 months to see optimaleffects. The common side effects of this medication are unwanted hair growth on area around the scalp, irritation of the scalp and increased heart rate.

  • Finasteride: Finasteride is an approved drug for treating male pattern baldness. This drug works by blocking the action of androgens on the scalp. It is available as a pill which must be taken daily. Pregnant women are advised not to use these tablets as they can cause severe birth defects. Side effects of this drug are rare and may include decreased sex drive and high risk of prostate cancer.

  • Other medications that are prescribed for hairloss include corticosteroids (in autoimmune conditions that cause baldness) and spironolactone(act by blocking the effect of androgens on the scalp.)

HAIR TRANSPLANTATION SURGERY

Hair transplantation is recommended for irreversible hair loss conditions. During a hair transplant surgery, tiny patches of skin on the scalp which contain several hair strands are removed and implanted in the bald patchy areas. The transplanted hair may fall out, but new hair growth is evident in a few months. Post transplantation, the doctor may recommend minoxidil to minimize hair loss.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What should we eat to reduce hair fall immediately?2020-02-02T16:58:08+05:30

Diet changes cannot help to restore lost hair immediately. Changing to a healthier diet helps to reduce hair fall but it takes some time to see the effect. Adding foods such as eggs, carrots, dark green vegetables, nuts, whole grains, yogurt to your daily diet can help to promote hair growth.

Which food items can cause hairloss?2020-02-02T16:57:32+05:30

Foods that cause hairloss include sugary foods, fishes with high mercury levels( like tuna), fried fatty foods and foods with high selenium content.

Does masturbation cause hair-fall?  2020-02-02T16:56:09+05:30

Many people believe that masturbation causes hair loss as with every ejaculation, the body loses important protein through semen. Another theory is that masturbation increases dihydrotestosterone level which contribute to alopecia.  However, it is a myth and there is no scientific evidence which support the link between masturbation and hairfall.

What is the best vitamin for hair loss?2020-02-02T16:55:42+05:30

Biotin (vit b7), vitamin A, D, panthenol (vitamin B5) are all very important for improving hair quantity and quality. Vitamin b7 and vitamin A strengthens hair. Vitamin A also help hair to produce natural oils to protect and nourish hair. Vitamin D plays an important role in developing new hair follicles. Panthenol repairs damaged hair and helps retain moisture in the hair, thereby making your hair strong and lustrous.

How can I stop my hair loss?2020-02-02T16:55:12+05:30

Certain simple measures at home can help reduce hairloss. Avoid using too much of chemicals like dyes and devices like curling iron, straighteners. Use mild shampoos to clean your hair. Protect your hair from sunlight, dust and harmful radiations.Eat a healthy diet consisting of plenty of proteins, minerals and vitamins.

What are the causes of hair-fall?  2020-02-02T16:54:47+05:30

Hairloss can be genetic or due to hormonal problems. Other factors that increase the risk of hairloss are stress, illness, certain medications (chemotherapy drugs, antiplatelets, contraceptives), exposure to harsh environments, malnutrition, and improper hair care practices (eg: excess use of dyes, chemicals, blow dryers and curling iron).

How can we stop hair fall naturally?2020-02-02T16:54:19+05:30

To stop losing hair, you should make some lifestyle changes.First, eat healthy. You diet should be rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet which contain raw veggies and fresh herbs may reduce risk of androgenic alopecia or delay its onset.Omega fatty acid supplementshelp repair your hair from inside and prevent hair fall. Talk to your doctor about the supplements you can take.Next, follow a good hair care routine. Do regular scalp massages with coconut oil or olive oil. Aloe vera massages help in reducing hair-loss and prevents dandruff.Ginseng is a popular herb which stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth. Onion juice and lemon oil have also been found to improve scalp circulation and promote hair growth.