Hair loss - everything you need to know

Over 40% of women in their 40s and men in their 35s suffer from visible hair loss.

Typically, people lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day. Hair shedding is part of the natural balance – some hairs fall out and others grow back. When the balance is disturbed – a small amount of new hair grows in place of the hair that falls out – hair loss occurs.

What is hair loss?

The medical term for hair loss is “alopecia”. Hair loss can affect just the scalp or the whole body and can be temporary or permanent. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose the hair on their head, but it is more common in men. Baldness is called excessive hair loss from the scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of balding.

Suffering from hair loss? We can help

Signs and symptoms of hair loss?

The most common symptoms of hair loss can include:

  • Gradual loss and thinning of hair on the top of the head (the scalp). This is the most common type of hair loss that affects people as they age. In men, hair often begins to decline along the forehead line as well. In women, thinning and thinning hair is usually seen. An increasingly common hair loss in older women is receding hairline (frontal fibrosing alopecia).
  • Round or spotty bald patches. Some people lose hair in round or uneven bald patches on the scalp, chin, or eyebrows. Your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
  • Sudden hair fall. Physical or emotional shock can cause hair to fall out. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or brushing your hair or even with a gentle pull. This type of hair loss usually results in an overall thinning of the hair, but is temporary.
  • Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can lead to hair loss all over the body. Hair usually grows back.
  • Spots of flaking that spread on the scalp. This is a sign of fungus. It may be accompanied by frizzy hair, redness, swelling and sometimes drainage.

Types of hair loss, causes and prognosis for cure?

Although many causes of hair loss can be successfully treated, the key to effective treatment is to find the cause of the hair loss. Without an accurate diagnosis, treatment is often ineffective.

Hereditary hair loss

This type of hair loss occurs in both men and women and is the most common cause of hair loss worldwide. In men, it is called male pattern hair loss. In women, female pattern hair loss is seen. Regardless of whether it develops in men or women, the medical term is androgenetic alopecia.

No matter which term you use, it means that you have inherited genes that cause hair follicles (what each hair grows out of) to shrink and eventually stop growing hair. The shrinkage can start as early as your teens, but usually begins later in life.

In women, the first noticeable sign of hereditary hair loss is usually an overall thinning or widening of the part.

When a man has hereditary hair loss, the first sign is often a receding hairline or bald spot at the top of the head.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yes, treatment can help stop or slow hair loss. It can also help hair regrowth. The earlier treatment is started, the better it works. Without treatment, you will continue to lose hair.

Age-related hair loss

With age, most people notice some hair loss as hair growth slows down. At some point, the hair follicles stop growing, which leads to thinning hair on the scalp. The hair also begins to lose its color. A woman’s hairline naturally begins to fall back.

Is hair restoration possible?

If treatment is undertaken in time, some people find it helps them to regrow their hair.

Hair loss Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is a disease that develops when the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles (what holds the hair in place), causing hair loss. You can lose hair anywhere on your body, including on your scalp, inside your nose and in your ears. Some people lose their eyelashes or eyebrows.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yeah. If your hair doesn’t grow out on its own, treatment can help stimulate its growth.

Hair loss during chemotherapy

If you are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy to your head or neck, you may lose all your hair (or most of it) within a few weeks of starting treatment.

Is hair restoration possible?

Hair usually begins to grow back within months after chemotherapy or radiation treatment to the head or neck is completed. Dermatologists may suggest medications to help hair grow back faster.

Hair loss after childbirth, illness or other stressors

A few months after giving birth, recovering from an illness or surgery, you may notice a lot more hairs in your brush or on your pillow. This can also happen after a stressful time in your life, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one.

Is hair restoration possible?

If the stress stops, your body will readjust and the excessive hair will stop. When shedding stops, most people see their hair regain its normal fullness within 6 to 9 months.

Hair loss due to hormonal imbalance

A common cause of this imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It leads to cysts on a woman’s ovaries, as well as other signs and symptoms that may include hair loss. Stopping certain types of birth control pills can cause a temporary hormonal imbalance. Women who develop hormonal imbalances may develop thinning hair (or hair loss) on the scalp.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yes, it is possible. Once the hormonal balance in your body is restored, our dermatologists can recommend appropriate treatment.

Hair loss due to excessive hair care.

Excessive hair care or hairstyles that pull your hair, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hair treatments with hot oils and perms can also cause hair fall. If you dye, perm or relax your hair, you can damage it. Over time, this damage can lead to hair loss.

Is hair restoration possible?

You can change the way you care for your hair, which can prevent hair loss. Once you damage a hair follicle, hair cannot grow out of that follicle. Having many damaged hair follicles creates permanent bald spots.

Hair loss due to scalp infection

Scalp infection can lead to scaly and sometimes inflamed areas on the scalp. You may see what look like small black dots on the scalp. These are actually hairs. In some people, a bald spot appears.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yes, treatment can lead to the elimination of the infection. Once the infection is cleared, the hair tends to grow.

Hair loss caused by medication use

A possible side effect of some medications is hair loss. If you think a medicine is causing hair loss, ask the doctor who prescribed it if hair loss is a possible side effect. It is important not to stop taking the medicine before you have spoken to your doctor. Suddenly stopping some medicines can lead to serious health problems.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yeah. Once your body is cleansed of the medications taken, hair tends to grow back.

Hair loss caused by psoriasis of the scalp

Many people who have plaque psoriasis develop psoriasis on the scalp at some point. This can lead to hair loss.

Is hair restoration possible?

The hair tends to grow back once the scalp psoriasis clears up, but this takes time. By following these tips from dermatologists, you may be able to prevent hair loss.

Hair loss from hair pulling

Some people pull their hair, often to relieve stress. They may not realise they are pulling their hair. The medical term for this is trichotillomania.

Is hair restoration possible?

If you haven’t destroyed the hair follicles, yes. For your hair to grow back, you need to stop pulling it.

Hair loss caused by sexually transmitted infections

If left untreated, sexually transmitted infections can lead to hair loss. Syphilis is one such sexually transmitted infection. If left untreated, syphilis can cause patchy hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, beard, and elsewhere. Other sexually transmitted diseases can also cause hair loss.

Is hair restoration possible?

After treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, hair often begins to grow again.

Hair loss in thyroid diseases

If you have a thyroid problem, you may observe hair thinning. Some people notice that their hair comes out in clumps when they comb it.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yes, treatment of thyroid disease can reverse hair loss.

Hair loss due to biotin, iron, protein or zinc deficiency

If you don’t get enough of one or more of these elements, you may end up with noticeable hair loss.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yeah. When your body gets enough of the missing nutrients, hair can grow again.

Hair loss in poisoning

Slow poisoning can lead to hair loss. Poisons that can cause hair loss include arsenic, thallium, mercury and lithium. If you ingest a large amount of warfarin, which is found in rat poisons, it can also cause hair loss. Ingesting large amounts of vitamin A or selenium is also toxic and can cause hair loss.

Is hair restoration possible?

Yes, hair tends to regrow when you are no longer exposed to the poison.

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