certain amount of hair "loss" naturally occurs every day, where
we lose about one hundred strands of hair. Hair has a normal
cycle of growth at the end of which it falls out of the
follicles and is replaced by new hair. However, some people
experience loss of hair that is greater than normal.
Hair loss increases as we age.
This is normal and true for both men and women. It is a
condition known as Androgen tic Alopecia and it effects everyone
to some degree or another, and it explains 95% of all hair loss.
The degree to which it affects you is often dictated by
heredity, and if you are male with a high propensity for
Androgenetic Alopecia this is also known by the more familiar
term "Male Pattern Baldness".
Male Pattern Baldness is
recognized by bald patches appearing on the top of the head or
by a receding hair line. Women showing signs of Androgenetic
Alopecia never go entirely bald or have bald patches, because
their hair thins out evenly over the whole head.
testosterone, are the main culprits in Androgenetic Alopecia.
The testosterone hormone turns into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT,
with the help of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme. One of the things
DHT does is reduce the size of hair follicles and cause scalp
membranes to thicken, become hard and allow less blood to flow.
The hair follicles atrophy in this environment and when hair
reaches the end of its natural growth cycle and falls out, it no
longer gets replaced.
Testosterone is sometimes
called the "male hormone" for the simple reason that men's
bodies have and require more testosterone than women. Obviously,
higher testosterone levels lead to greater hair loss.
There are other contributors to
hair loss, too. Some medical treatments have side effects
including abnormal loss of hair, such as chemotherapy,
radiation, birth control pills, and blood thinners. Sudden
changes in diet, an overdose of vitamin A, changes in hormone
levels can also lead to unusual hair loss. Certain medical
conditions can cause abnormal hair loss, such as hypothyroidism
and fungal infections. Other events such as pregnancy, extreme
emotional stress and invasive surgery can cause unusual hair
loss, often 3-4 months after the event occurred. Ongoing stress
can slow growth of new hair because more follicles go into
resting mode which means less new hair appears.
Finally, hair loss can also
occur from physical stress on the scalp. For example, pony
tails, braids, cornrows and tight rollers that pull excessively
on the hair follicles can cause eventual scarring and prevent
regrowth of hair. Chemical treatments such as permanent waves,
straighteners, and hot oil treatments can irritate and inflame
hair follicles which also leads to scarring and permanent hair