Causes of Hair Loss
Understand the causes of hair loss and take control of it now.
Hair Loss occurs when the hair growth cycle is disrupted or when hair follicles are destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. It is caused by these factors:
Family History (Hereditary): Genetics does play an important role in hair loss
Hormonal Changes: More commonly due to DHT in androgens, Childbirth, Menopause etc
Stress/ traumatic events: Can be either physical or mental stress
Diet: Low protein diet or calorie-restricted diet and lack of balanced nutrients
Lifestyle: Excessive hairstyling and hair treatments
Medical conditions / medication: Thyroid, Diabetes, radiation, chemotherapy, medicine etc
Aging: Rate of hair growth slows down as one ages.
Hair loss (Alopecia) and hair thinning can be quite debilitating as it affects the confidence and overall appearance of an individual. In the past, not many effective treatments were available to counter hair loss but with advancement and more in-depth knowledge on hair loss, there are now many effective medical grade treatments available that are backed by evidence-based research.
Alopecia is actually more common than most people think.
Statistical studies show that more than 50% of men will experience hair loss to some extent in their life and the psychological impact of alopecia cannot be over-emphasized with many experiencing social, personal and work-related problems.
The Hair Cycle
Anagen Phase: Active growing phase (85% of hair and lasts 3 – 6 years)
Catagen phase: Growth stops (1 – 5% of hair and lasts 3 weeks)
Telogen phase: Resting phase where hair is getting ready to be shed (10% of hair and lasts up to 4 months)
It is normal to shed up to 100 strands of hair daily.
Types of Hair Loss
1) Androgenetic Alopecia (Male Pattern Hair Loss)
As its’ name implies, the cause of such hair loss is Genetics and driven by Androgen (ie. Testosterone or more specifically DiHydroTestoterone DHT). DHT affects and damages the hair follicles causing thinner hair, decreased hair growth/length and eventually loss of hair.
If you have a strong family history of hair loss, then you are more susceptible to be subjected to Androgenetic Alopecia.
It is important to recognise this condition early so that preventative medical treatment can be carried out.
Commonly, the hair at the sides of the front of the scalp are affected first and subsequently the crown of the head.
The following Norwood Classification shows the stages of Androgenetic Alopecia with 1 being the earliest stage and 7 the most severe stage.
There are now many effective treatments aimed at halting further progression of hair loss, and by thickening and stimulating more hair growth.
2. Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL)
FPHL is androgenetic alopecia that occurs in females usually after menopause. Although less common than Male Pattern Hair Loss, approximately 40% of women do experience hair loss by the time they are 50 years of age.
It is a progressive condition although spurts of excessive hair loss may be experienced within a few months.
Typically, there is general thinning of the hair and hair loss occurs commonly over the crown of the head.
The following on the left is the classification for FPHL graded with The Ludwig Scale.
Treatment is aimed at slowing and stopping the progression via topical and oral medications, and to promote hair growth through machine-based devices.
3. Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata is caused by your own body cells attacking the hair follicles (autoimmune). This damage to hair follicles result in:
Sudden loss of hair
Expansion of the bald area
The affected area often have a shiny appearance with a smooth surface that are usually devoid of hair or with loosely scattered thin hair.
Regrowth of hair is possible but recurrence may be triggered by:
Traumatic events (physical or psychological)
Treatment is aimed at inhibiting the damage of the hair follicles by your own body cells and include topical, injectable medications and oral medications.
4. Telogen Effluvium
Telogen Effluvium refers to temporary hair loss in the telogen phase due to an event that has “shocked” the system. The precipitating event could have occurred months before with the loss of hair only occurring at a later stage when new hairs pushes out the telogen hairs.
Precipitating factors include:
Physical trauma (eg. Accidents, surgery)
Sudden loss of weight
Excessive sun exposure
Although temporary in nature, chronic telogen effluvium may sometimes take years before the normal hair cycle is regained.
Treatment involves removing any factors that may cause further trauma to the hair follicles, testing for hormones (eg. thyroid) / nutritional (iron, folate, B12) deficiencies and to promote hair growth through topicals/ orals and machine-based treatments.
5. Fungal scalp infections
Fungal infections can damage hair follicles and cause hair loss in the area affected. It is more common in children but can also occur across all ages.
Fungal scalp infections may present as itching, scaling of the scalp and redness over the affected area.
Treatment involves oral medications as well as topical treatment.
6. Seborrheic Dermatitis / Dandruff
Seborrheic dermatitis is characterised by scaly patches on the scalp, oily skin and sometimes areas of redness and inflammation.
It is often associated with growth of a type of yeast (Malassezia) on the skin.
Treatment involves scalp treatment with medical shampoos, steroids to treat inflammation and in serious cases oral medication.
These conditions can be treated and best to start early. We do have hair loss treatments that tackles hair loss from different angles and pathways so that the current hair can be thicken, and achieve fuller head of hair.
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