- 28 Mar, 2017
- Hair Restoration Clinic
About 40% of women around the world suffer from thinning hair or hair loss, while 50% of men experience some type of hair loss by age 50. Losing hair for women is like losing their “crowning glory” while men associate hair loss with loss of youth and sex appeal.
The medical term for hair loss is "alopecia". Pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), the most common type of alopecia, affects roughly one-third of men and women. It's typically permanent. Other types of alopecia are temporary, including alopecia areata. It can involve hair loss on your scalp or other parts of your body.
Types of hair Loss:
A ) Permanent hair loss
• Male-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). For men, pattern baldness can begin very early, even in the teens or early 20s. It's typically characterized by a receding hairline at the temples and balding at the top of the head. The end result may be partial or complete baldness.
• Female-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Women with permanent hair loss usually have hair loss limited to thinning at the front, sides or crown. Women usually maintain their frontal hairline and rarely experience complete baldness.
• Cicatricial (scarring) alopecia. This rare condition occurs when inflammation damages and scars the hair follicle, causing permanent hair loss. Sometimes the patchy hair loss is associated with slight itching or pain.
B ) Temporary hair loss
• Alopecia areata. Hair loss usually occurs in small, round, smooth patches about the size of a quarter. Usually the disease doesn't extend beyond a few bare patches on the scalp, but it can cause patchy hair loss on any area that has hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes and beard. In rare cases, it can progress to cause hair loss over the entire body. If the hair loss includes your entire scalp, the condition is called alopecia totalis. If it involves your whole body, it's called alopecia universalis. Soreness and itching may precede the hair loss.
• Telogen effluvium. This type of temporary hair loss occurs suddenly. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or may fall out after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
• Traction alopecia. Bald patches can occur if you regularly wear certain hairstyles, such as pigtails, braids or cornrows, or if you use tight rollers. Hair loss typically occurs between the rows or at the part where hair is pulled tightly.
Causes of hair loss
• Genetic predisposition like Androgenetic Alopecia the most common type.
• Poor nutrition. Having inadequate protein or iron in your diet or poor nourishment in other ways can cause you to experience hair loss. Fad diets, crash diets and certain illnesses, such as eating disorders, can cause poor nutrition.
• Medications. Certain drugs used to treat gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems and high blood pressure may cause hair loss in some people. Taking birth control pills also may result in hair loss for some women.
• Disease. Diabetes and lupus can cause hair loss.
• Medical treatments. Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy may cause you to develop alopecia. Under these conditions, healthy, growing (anagen) hairs can be affected. After your treatment ends, your hair typically begins to regrow.
• Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause temporary hair loss. This could be due to pregnancy, having a baby, discontinuing birth control pills, beginning menopause, or an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. The hair loss may be delayed by three months following a hormonal change, and it'll take another three months for new hair to grow back. During pregnancy, it's normal to have thicker, more luxuriant hair. It's also common to lose more hair than normal about three months after delivery. If a hormonal imbalance is associated with an overproduction of testosterone, there may be a thinning of hair over the crown of the scalp. Correcting hormonal imbalances may stop hair loss.
• Hair treatments. Chemicals used for dying, tinting, bleaching, straightening or permanent waves can cause hair to become damaged and break off if they are overused or used incorrectly. Overstyling and excessive brushing also can cause hair to fall out if the hair shaft becomes damaged.
• Scalp infection. Infections, such as ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back. Ringworm, a fungal infection, can usually be treated with a topical or oral antifungal medication.
• Trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). Trichotillomania is a type of mental illness in which people have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it's from their scalp, their eyebrows or other areas of their body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves them with patchy bald spots on their head, which they may go to great lengths to disguise. Causes of trichotillomania are still being researched, and no specific cause has yet been found.
Treatments of hair loss
Baldness, whether permanent or temporary, can't be cured. But hair loss treatments are available to help promote hair growth or hide hair loss. For some types of alopecia, hair may resume growth without any treatment.
A ) Medication
The effectiveness of medications used to treat alopecia depends on the cause of hair loss, extent of the loss and individual response. Generally, treatment is less effective for more extensive cases of hair loss.
The types of drugs for treatment of alopecia that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration include:
• Minoxidil (Regaine). This over-the-counter (nonprescription) medication is approved for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata. Minoxidil is a liquid or foam that you rub into your scalp twice daily to grow hair and to prevent further loss. Some people experience some hair regrowth or a slower rate of hair loss or both. Minoxidil is available in a 2 percent solution and in a 5 percent solution.
• New hair resulting from minoxidil use may be thinner and shorter than previous hair. But there can be enough hair growth for some people to hide their bald spots and have them blend with existing hair. New hair stops growing soon after you discontinue the use of minoxidil. It may take 12 weeks for new hair to start growing. If you experience minimal results within six months, your doctor may recommend discontinuing use. Side effects can include irritation of the scalp.
• Finasteride (Propecia). This prescription medication to treat male-pattern baldness is taken daily in pill form. Many men taking finasteride experience a slowing of hair loss, and some may show some new hair growth. Positive results may take several months. Finasteride works by stopping the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that shrinks hair follicles and is an important factor in male hair loss. Rare side effects of finasteride include diminished sex drive and sexual function. As with minoxidil, the benefits of finasteride stop if you stop using it.
• Finasteride is not approved for use by women. In fact, it poses significant danger to women of childbearing age. If you're a pregnant woman, don't even handle crushed or broken finasteride tablets because absorption of the drug may cause serious birth defects in male fetuses.
• Corticosteroids. Injections of cortisone into the scalp can treat alopecia areata. Treatment is usually repeated monthly. Doctors sometimes prescribe corticosteroid pills for extensive hair loss due to alopecia areata. New hair may be visible four weeks after the injection. Ointments and creams also can be used, but they may be less effective than injections.
• Anthralin (Dritho-Scalp). Available as either a cream or an ointment, anthralin is a synthetic, tarry substance that you apply to your scalp and wash off daily. It's typically used to treat psoriasis, but doctors can prescribe it to treat other skin conditions. Anthralin may stimulate new hair growth for cases of alopecia areata. It may take up to 12 weeks for new hair to appear.