A number of disorders can cause the hair to fall out. People who have an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata lose hair on their scalp, as well as on other parts of their body. Other health conditions that can cause excess hair loss include: … Fungal infections of the scalp.
What is Hair loss in men?
There are many people who are aware of the fact that losing up to a 100 hair a day is normal; however, there would also be many who would not be aware of when this normal hair loss turns into a more serious condition. As a matter of fact, many men suddenly notice that there is a huge bald patch on the top of their head. Hair loss is actually a much more common problem than most people would think – but diagnosing the type of hair loss is imperative and this is something that only an experienced professional can do. There are causes to be analysed and types to be looked into, before a course of action can be decided.
SOME OF THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS IN MEN
TYPES OF HAIR LOSS IN MEN
There are actually categories to hair loss and some of the most prominent ones include
Androgenetic Alopecia –
More commonly known as male pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is actually much more common than people might think. The balding will start from the sides and slowly progress towards the back of the head. When you see a horseshoe shaped bald area in men, it is this very condition. The condition is considered to be genetic and the hair follicles are found to be extremely sensitive to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. It is only the hair that is resistant to DHT that continues to stand strong and does not fall out. The falling out of hair will be gradual and the growth will be very slow or non-existent. The same condition can also affect women, and in them too, the cause is mostly genetic. However, complete bald patches are rare in women, and for them the condition will present more in the form of a gradual thinning.
Alopecia Areata –
An autoimmune condition, this disorder can cause either small bald patches or even complete loss of body hair, depending on the severity of the condition. There are actually three sub divisions in this condition, namely alopecia areata monolocularis, alopecia totalis and alopecia areata universalis. While in certain cases, the condition rectifies on its own, there are also cases, where the person has gone completely hairless and remained the way.
Cicatricial or Scarring Alopecia –
In this condition, the hair follicles are destroyed from within and what makes this condition even more complicated is the fact that it is not easy to detect. The condition is quite rare and is not gender specific.
Traction Alopecia –
There are many men and women who feel that when their hair is pulled back, it looks good. There are those who go for tight weaves or braid their hair really tightly. While these hair styles might look good, over a period of time, they will make the hair follicles weak, making them more susceptible to breakage. If the habit continues, it will make the hair loss permanent.
This is actually a medical condition, in which the person constantly pulls out their hair. Studies have shown that the condition accelerates when the person is under some kind of stress or is very nervous or anxious. Bald patches will start to appear, wherever the hair has been pulled out, but in most cases the hair does grow back, especially if the habit is kept under control.
What is Hair loss in women?
Men developing bald patches might not seem like the end of the world, but imagine the same happening to a woman. The moment a woman starts to see extra hair on their towels or pillows, they hit the panic button, because they are worried that very soon there might be bald patches appearing on their head.
It is important to remember that hair loss in men is actually different from the manner in which hair loss happens for women.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN:
In men, pattern hair loss is caused because of an increase in the level of DHT or Dihydrotestosterone. However, in women, it is caused due to an increase in oestrogen, a condition that can be caused due to menopause, pregnancy, childbirth or even the starting or stopping of contraceptives.
There are a number of medical conditions which can lead to hair loss. From improper functioning of the thyroid gland to skin infections such as lupus or lichen planus, from certain scalp infections to a more severe condition known as alopecia areata, there are several medical conditions that can lead to excessive hair fall. In addition, even medical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery can lead to hair loss.
Hair loss can also be cause due to certain medications, which are being used to treat conditions such as cancer, depression, heart problems as well as arthritis.
There are also other causes which are known to cause hair loss, such as extensive use of chemicals and heat on the hair, as well as tight hair styles, which is also known as traction alopecia. Even a crash diet could lead to hair loss as can a really high fever.
TYPES OF HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN
In order to have a proper diagnosis, understanding the type of hair loss is crucial and this could include:
Androgenetic Alopecia –
Also known female pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia is actually much more widespread than most people would realise. There will be a general thinning all over the head, and eventually the area near the temples will start to recede. The condition is considered to be genetic and is often related to a rise in oestrogen levels in the body.
Alopecia Areata –
This is an autoimmune condition, which leads to small patches of hair falling out. In the more severe versions, women could lead to complete loss of body hair. There are three versions of alopecia areata, namely alopecia monolocularis, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.
Cicatricial or Scarring Alopecia –
Actually a serious condition, scarring alopecia is actually quite rare. In this condition, the very follicles are destroyed and the scars left behind ensure that there is no new hair growth. What is most problematic about this condition is that the fact that it is quite difficult to detect.
Traction Alopecia –
Women love to experiment with their hair styles and often try out tight braids or weaves. While these might not do much damage immediately, in the long run, they can cause immense traction, leaving the hair weak. When the hair is weak, it becomes easier for them to break.
A medical condition, people suffering from trichotillomania will constantly want to pull out their own hair, especially when they are under stress or duress. Pulling out hair will lead to bald patches and hair that is generally weakened.
WHAT TO EAT FOR HEALTHY HAIR
Eat the correct balance of the following vitamins and minerals to supply hair with all that it needs to remain shiny, lustrous and strong…
As hair is made of protein, ensuring you have enough protein in your diet is crucial for making hair strong and healthy. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Extremely low protein diets may result in hair loss. Choose chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and eggs as excellent sources of protein along with vegetarian sources such as legumes and nuts.
Iron is an especially important mineral for hair and too little iron (anaemia) is a major cause of hair loss. The hair follicle and root are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply. When iron levels (serum ferritin) fall below a certain point, you may experience anaemia. This disrupts the nutrient supply to the follicle, affecting the hair growth cycle and may result in shedding. Animal products such as red meat, chicken and fish provide iron with a high bioavailability, meaning the iron is readily available to the body. Vegetarians can raise their iron stores by including lentils, spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and salad greens.
Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron so foods high in vitamin C are good to eat in conjunction with iron-rich foods. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so is used readily by the body. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats our body cannot make itself, and therefore must be obtained through our diet. Omega-3s are found in the cells that line the scalp and also provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Look out for oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources including avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Vitamin A is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance created by our hairs sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum we may experience an itchy scalp and dry hair. Include animal products and orange/yellow coloured vegetables which are high in beta-carotene (which makes vitamin A) such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.
Zinc and selenium
Scalp protection involves other important minerals, notably zinc and selenium. A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Fortified cereals and wholegrains are a good source of zinc along with oysters, beef and eggs.
The sun can damage our hair just like it can damage our skin so ensure you eat foods rich in vitamin E to provide protection for your hair. Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E so try to include them as part of a balanced diet.
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. Too little biotin can cause brittle hair and may lead to hair loss. Include biotin rich foods such as wholegrains, liver, egg yolk, soy flour and yeast.
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