Have you ever felt a strange kind of depression when you see a clump of hair falling out during a shower? Even taking a bath makes one feel panicky in severe hair loss situations. According to statistics, almost 21 million women and 35 million men suffer from loss of hair throughout the globe at some stage of their lives. Many consider the loss of hair or ‘alopecia’ as loss of hair from any part of the body although general concern of people is the scalp. Dealing with hair issues actually requires proper diagnoses of the underlying cause, suitable remedy, accompanied with a lot of patience.
Indicators of Hair Loss
According to studies, an average human has approximately 100,000-150,000 hair on their scalp. A person usually sheds 100 hair per day on average. However, this is not the issue if the hair replacement happens at an equal rate at which they are lost. If it is not like that, people observe thinning of hair in the overall head region or at specific areas of the scalp. If your comb or brush is full of hair strands after shampooing, then this is a first and foremost indicator, suggesting that you are suffering from alopecia.
The indicators of loss of hair are common and easily observed. Usually, these include loss of hair in patches, skin lesions, scarring, and dandruff. Alopecia areata (AA), which is an autoimmune disorder, results in patchy hair fall. The patches may occur in a single bald patch or as widespread patches. This condition results in abnormal loss of hair in the area of eyebrows, the backside of the head and above ears. In case of a men-pattern of hair loss, the hair starts thinning and falling out around the temples and the crown regions. The female-pattern hair loss usually takes place in the frontal and parietal regions.
What are the Major Causes of Hair Loss
Causes of alopecia may vary according to various factors. Factors include individual’s age, gender, genetic makeup, personal health, and hygiene as well as climatic conditions etc. The common reasons that may lead to hair thinning may include medicinal side effects, infection/diseases, mental trauma, pregnancy, and childbirth or as a result of strong radiation-based therapy as in case of certain cancers. Internal hormonal changes, as well as external unfavorable surroundings such as air and water pollutants, environmental toxins, unfavorable styling products, and overall unhealthy scalp environment, are some of the major culprits of hair thinning or baldness among both men and women.
Hair Loss in Women
It comes as a shock to some women, but hair loss in women is quite common. The female-pattern hair loss is what we know as androgenic or androgenic alopecia. Unlike the male-pattern alopecia, women do not have a receding hairline. Instead, the central parting on the head becomes more noticeable with thinning of hair. To avoid hair loss in women, avoid making hairstyles that cause the hair to pull the empty section apart. Avoid using heating tools and chemicals to process the hair. Use products that facilitate hair growth. Do not skip a head massage and consider applying essential oils.
How to Deal with Hair Loss effectively
Diagnostic tools for hair loss
The first step you need to take while dealing with alopecia is to diagnose the root cause of this problem. The diagnosis can depend upon the appearance and pattern of hair fall, occurrence among family members and a detailed medical background. A dermatologist may recommend any of the suitable test depending upon the symptoms. Some of the commonly used tests include pull-test, pluck test, trichoscopy, daily hair counts, and scalp biopsy. Other than these, two widely used diagnostic techniques are:
- Savin Scale which records and categorizes hair fall patterns among women affected by androgenetic alopecia i.e. female pattern baldness).
- Norwood Hamilton Scale determines the degree of male pattern baldness.
In certain cases, the doctor may recommend blood tests for correct diagnoses of alopecia. Common tests include C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, serum iron and serum ferritin levels and different hormonal levels.
Hair loss cure varies on an individual basis because of the difference in underlying root cause as discussed above. Therefore, you must consult the specialist if the problem seems like a serious one. At present, clinical studies highlight three major treatments, including prescription finasteride, surgical treatments, and minoxidil.
Among these, minoxidil is the non-prescribed medication approved for both genders. Its application at the start may result in hair shedding. However, after some time like at least six months of usage, hair fall reduces and hair start to regrow in the normal manner. You need to apply the medication continuously to reap its benefits to the full. The side effects of minoxidil may include tachycardia, unwanted hair growth over adjacent skin as well as irritation in scalp region.
Finasteride or Propecia is a drug approved only for men. It has to be taken daily as a pill. Men that have used finasteride observed slowing of hair fall while some experiences new hair growth as well. Just like minoxidil, finasteride also needs regular use for good results. Some of the rare side effects of finasteride may include the decreased sexual function and increased risk of prostate cancer. Women may be expecting must avoid touching crushed or broken tablets.
If all kinds of medication fail, then a person may opt for surgical procedure as the last resort in order to cure hair problem. In case of hair transplantation, the surgeon moves the healthy hair on the head to the areas of thinning. Transplanted hair start to falls out within first few weeks, but then regrow permanently within months. However, several transplant sessions are required for complete treatment.
Other Treatment Options
Other surgical options including scalp flaps, follicle transplants, and hair fall reduction are also available. These procedures are effective but with side effects. Some of the side effects include high expenses and a risk of scarring and infection. Scalp reduction is the process in which area of bald skin on the head reduces. Treatment usually combines scalp reduction with hair transplantation to offer a natural-looking hairline.
One thing for sure is that hair loss prevention is less complicated compared to its laborious treatment procedures. Opting for a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and less exposure to unfavorable hair products may prove fruitful. Nonetheless, if it’s genetic or as a result of certain unavoidable circumstances, then the above-mentioned treatments can be fairly beneficial after consulting with a reliable skin care specialist.