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General Information   :  Hair Loss  :  FAQs

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The Truth About Hair Loss

 
 
  A 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.

Hormones, specifically 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 loss.

 

General Information   :  Hair Loss  :  FAQs

 

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