Hair fall—Causes, Treatment and Prevention

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With the changing weather conditions, it becomes difficult to manage and take care of your hair. Disregarding the importance of hair-care can cause your hair to become weak, undernourished and might change its texture, and increase breakage and hair fall. It becomes really important for you to take care of your hair properly since it’s sensitive and very prone to damage. If the right action for your hair is not taken at the right time, then the gradual hair fall will eventually lead to permanent hair loss.

Hair loss also known as ‘alopecia’ can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it 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 hair on their head, but it’s more common in men.

What Causes Hair Loss Exactly?

Before trying to prevent alopecia, it’s necessary to know what causes the condition. There are many reasons of alopecia, such as Thyroid disease, Hormonal Imbalance, Medications, Stress, Nutrient Deficiency etc.

The main reason alopecia occurs is not completely understood and it may have many causes and some of them include:

Infection-

Alopecia may be due to infections such as Folliculitis, Tinea Captiis (a fungal infection), secondary syphilis and a microscopic mite known as Demodex folliculorum which feeds on essential hair nutrients and thereby causing thinning.

Drugs –

Medical researchers have linked temporary or permanent hair loss to several medications. Medications for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure have been linked to causing hair loss. Also, medications that affect the hormonal balance of the body tend to cause pronounced alopecia. Medications that affect the body’s hormonal balance include steroids, hormone replacement therapy, and acne medications.

Pregnancy –

During pregnancy, there is an increase in circulating estrogen. This increase in estrogen causes the hair to thicken. After delivery, the circulating estrogen returns to their normal levels and this cause a corresponding hair loss. Hair typically grows back normally and treatment is not indicated.

Hormonal Imbalance

This is a very common cause in women for hair loss which happens in menopause or after childbirth. Well, men can also lose their hair due to hormonal changes with age. However, the main reason is genetic male pattern baldness. The hair loss due to hormones is due to the response to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone).

Trauma –

Any kind of trauma can cause alopecia.

Traumatic events such as childbirth, major surgery, poisoning and severe stress may lead to hair loss. This condition is known as telogen effluvium. Another form of trauma is the compulsive pulling and bending of the hairs which results in a kind of hair loss known as Trichotillomania.

Radiotherapy is applied to the head to treat some forms of cancers. This radiation can cause baldness and permanent hair loss.

Nutrition Deficiency –

Hair loss is triggered when the person is facing nutritional deficiencies like zinc and iron. Along with that low intake of nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, B-12 etc, also create an issue.

Aging –

As the body losses its natural replenishment ability with aging, it’s not uncommon to see alopecia or thinning as one ages.

How is Hair Loss Prevented?

Alopecia can be prevented by a number of ways. As stated earlier it is important to study the aforementioned causes of alopecia and use it as a guide to prevent hair loss.

Concerning the infections that may cause alopecia, it is pertinent to visit your doctor as soon as signs and symptoms of such infections arise. Treatment of the infections as early as possible will reduce your chance of going bald due to the infections.

It is also important to be mindful of the medications used for treatment of diabetes, hypertension and others. Stick with drugs that have been green-lighted by the FDA.

Although it is impossible to reverse natural balding, you can protect hair from trauma that may eventually lead to loss of it. Avoid styles that tend to stress the hair line thereby leading to alopecia.

Also, in order to prevent alopecia, it is important to be mindful of the shampoos, relaxers, bleachers and other hair products used. Use hair products that are targeted to restore hair growth.

Not only that, deficiency of vitamins can lead to alopecia, it is therefore essential to eat well-balanced diets.

Hair loss treatments

At this stage, people opt for hair loss treatments. There are several hair loss treatments out there. Choosing the right one is important to suit your condition and prevent further damage. A lot of reasons contribute to one having hair loss, but they don’t come without a hair loss treatment available.

Here are some ways where you can try and prevent hair loss, through hair loss treatment.

• Minoxidil

Minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug approved by the FDA for stimulating new hair growth and preventing further hair loss in cases of hereditary balding. Minoxidil is rubbed into the scalp twice a day.

• Hair Transplant (Surgery)

Hair transplantation is where the dermatologist removes a small patch of skin with full hair thickness from one part of the body and transplants it into a bald patch. Several surgeries are usually performed over a few months.

• Prescription Finasteride

Oral finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) is an FDA-approved drug for baldness and the only one available in pill form (one pill a day). It is a prescription drug strictly for men as it can have ill effects on a woman’s health.

Hair transplant can be classified into 2 types of hair loss treatment, i.e. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT).

1. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)

In an FUE hair transplantation, each follicular unit is individually taken directly from the scalp with no strip of tissue being removed. Hair follicles are removed in a random fashion and the result is less density in the donor area, which is not noticeable. They have a faster healing time as there are no stitches required, and no scars are left behind. Since it’s a time-consuming process, it’s costly as compared to the FUT.

2. Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT)

The FUT process involves removing a small strip of tissue from the back of the head, from which the donor hair follicles will be extracted. The hair follicles are harvested from the strip by a skilled clinical team before being individually transplanted to the recipient areas. Since this involves removal of tissue, there is a linear scar left behind, and some customers experience more discomfort and pain later compared to those who got the FUE procedure. The industry norm for pricing is a per-graft basis.

These hair loss treatments are much more complicated in nature and require much more reading and consultation to see if that’s what you require to be done for your hair. It is very much recommended that you consult a reputed and certified clinic or doctor, before coming upon a decision. A lot more factors are involved in deciding what type of hair loss treatment you should take than just your hair, in order to decide what kind of treatment you should opt for, such as your health, your immunity, and many other important factors.

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