What Causes Hair Loss
What Causes Hair Loss In Men And Women?
In general, peoples’ hair actually has a cycle of growth that typically lasts somewhere between two and three years. Each individual hair grows about one centimeter every month during this phase of growth. A full ninety percent of your hair is growing at any one time. The remaining ten percent is in what is known as a resting phase at any one time. After three or perhaps four months, the hair that has been resting falls out which makes way for new hair to grow in its place. The good news is that it is perfectly normal to lose some amount of hair each day, even up to as many as fifty to one hundred hairs daily. So I guess the very few hairs I see on the pillowcases, brushes, sink or on the back of my jacket are indeed nothing to worry about at all! Or I could choose to worry and have more fall out since yes, stress is just one of the many factors that cause hair loss. Some hair may fall out during a stressful time in life or more often, it tends to happen a few months after the stress has occurred. So if you’re stressed out that a few hairs have fallen out of your head each day, you can scratch that stressor off your list.
What Causes Hair Loss, How About Hormones?
Hormones by far have the largest impact on hair loss since hormonal changes both encourage hair growth yet also cause hair loss. Although when thinking of hair loss many of us tend to just think about men and the hair loss struggles many of them have to deal with, women also struggle as well and amazingly even children, which was news to me. Men tend to have their hair loss occur in a distinct area from the front of their scalps to the crown or the top of their heads, whereas women tend to have their hair loss or thinning happen all over their heads and not in just a specific set location. This particular type hair loss can be attributed to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). However, since everyone has DHT and not everyone experiences pronounced hair loss, something else must be involved, and that would be having hair follicles that contain a larger number of receptors of Androgen that the DHT can attach itself to. Up until now, the most successful treatment in the prevention of hair loss is found in anti-androgen medications that help prevent the making of DHT. Childbirth, pregnancy, discontinuing birth control pills, the onset of menopause and either an over or under-active thyroid are also factors to consider.
What Causes Hair Loss, How About Illness & Disease?
Illnesses and diseases can also play a part in hair loss but is usually only a temporary loss. Hair follicles are very sensitive and are prone to react to imbalances within the body. Most hair loss due to illnesses and diseases is indeed temporary and usually rectifies itself upon the body’s return back to a healthful condition. However, with something very serious such as cancer, the normal treatments of both chemotherapy and radiation will cause hair loss since the treatments actually stop hair cells from dividing and can have as much as a ninety percent hair loss occur. While it can still be considered a temporary loss, it can also be a much longer process for re-growth in comparison to other diseases. Another difference in hair loss and re-growth after cancer treatments is that on many occasions the new hair that grows back in is not the same color as the original hair. For some people this is a great thing and saves them from having to go to a beautician and pay for a chemical coloring. Someone very close to me had light brown to almost blonde hair and when her hair grew back in after chemotherapy it was a very dark black. I cannot remember if she was happy about it!
Hair styling treatments such as using chemicals for permanents, hi and low lites, straighteners, relaxers, dyes and more are typically safe for the hair and do not necessarily promote hair loss. The problem is more in if these chemicals and treatments are used too frequently. Some people’s hair can break if the solutions used are too strong, left on too long or the rare occasion of having two hair procedures done on the same day. Make sure you only go to qualified professional hair stylists or if you are daring and decide to do it yourself, choose only very reputable products and follow the directions exactly. There have been cases where some hair chemicals were so powerful it resulted in chemical burns that unfortunately resulted in permanent hair loss. I am sure this bit on hair styling seems to be only focused on the women readers but no, there are also plenty of men who have used chemicals in their hair as well (they just might not have told anyone!)
Diet and medications definitely play a role in hair loss to some extent. Some people who choose to go on a low-protein diet, which I honestly cannot imagine why on earth for, as well as those who have severely unusual eating habits in general, may develop protein undernourishment. To help save what protein is still available, the body determines to make a shift from the growing phase of the hair to the resting phase. If this indeed takes place, be prepared for an immense amount of hair to shed two to three months later. One simple test is to see if the hair can be very easily pulled out deep at the roots. Especially while dieting, consuming proper amounts of protein is imperative both for overall health and for avoiding a large amount of hair loss. Some prescription medications can cause temporary loss of hair in certain people. Just some examples of those medications would be ones for arthritis, blood thinners, depression and high blood pressure.
Genetics indeed also play a role in hair loss in both men and women. Hair loss is a hereditary trait that can be inherited from either the father’s or the mother’s side. Some think that it takes genetics from both parents’ sides to inherit predisposition to hair loss but this is simply not true, although yes it could happen on occasion. Hair thinning or loss is not the end of the world. There are products that can help such as Rogaine and certain types of hair transplant surgeries to consider as well. There is even just accepting the way it is and believe as many do that “bald is beautiful” and it is far more important what is inside a person than what you can see (or not see!) on the outside. Hopefully you now understand what causes hair loss.