Hair loss is an important issue for many men and women who suffer from it. The carefree remarks and free jokes about the baldness of people with hairy heads only contribute to humiliation. Some people are even angry at the thought that their hair threatens to go as far back as the Red Sea water did for the Hebrews so many years ago.
Countless people wonder if there really is a cure for hair loss. Before we answer this question, we should first answer the following questions: What is hair loss and what are the causes?
What is hair loss?
The term alopecia, better known as baldness, includes various diseases that involve the lack of hair where it would normally grow, especially when it comes to the head. The most common form of baldness is the progressive thinning of the hair that occurs in some adults.
Each strand of hair has a follicle located at the end of the hair shaft. The follicles serve as hair incubators where the hair is produced. Each hair strand has a matrix located at the base of the follicle. The cells in this region produce keratin, a hard protein that makes up the hair shaft, and melanin. Melanin colors keratin and gives hair its color.
The activity of the individual follicles depends on the surrounding follicles. Healthy hair follicles grow continuously. About 85% of the hair follicles on a healthy scalp grow actively at the same time and hair loss is not a problem.
Each strand of hair continues to grow for about 4 years before entering a resting phase of about 4 months. On average, only about 15% of the total amount of hair follicles rest on a healthy scalp at any given time. When a higher percentage of hair follicles stops growing at some point, hair loss becomes a problem.
What happens with hair loss?
The follicles are fed by a network of capillaries that supply the base of the follicle with nutrients. The amount of blood available for the scalp and follicles is determined by the health of the scalp capillaries and the arteries of the neck and temples.
Problems arise when hair follicles are not well nourished. For example, some women see their hair thinning after menopause after slowing or stopping estrogen production. Hair loss in women is generally more diffuse than in men. Women rarely have light spots, a large part of the head can have sparse hair instead. Only about 15% of women suffer from such a high degree of hair loss that it becomes obvious.
In men, the hormone DHT can damage the hair follicles, causing them to shrink or enter the resting phase of the hair cycle prematurely. In this case, the result is often the characteristic U-shaped pattern of hair loss at the tip of the head.
What causes hair loss?
Predisposition may be a factor that explains why one person begins to lose hair as they age while another does not. Various other conditions such as obesity, allergies and diabetes can also be attributed to a predisposition. In some instances, hair loss may be the result of side effects caused by certain prescription drugs. Of course, these factors can often be countered.
If you are not able to reverse the predisposition, you can sometimes contain it. By changing lifestyles, maintaining a tailored health system and a balanced diet, many of these factors can be mitigated or reversed.
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Products such as Rogaine, Dutasteride and Propecia can help to prevent or slow hair loss. Scalp exercises and massages with special preparations can also help.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is a type of hair loss that occurs more frequently in women than in men. It is characterized by a high number of hairs that suddenly enter the rest phase of the hair cycle. This usually leads to severe hair loss, as opposed to bald areas. This can be an overwhelming experience for women, especially those who have already had lush hair.
TA can be caused by prolonged emotional or physical stress, serious illness, hormonal changes after pregnancy or an emergency diet. Once the triggering factor is eliminated, TE hair loss usually stops. Hair can grow back even without treatment, usually in 6 months to a year.
With proper treatment, hair growth can be accelerated. Some experts recommend increasing the amount of iron stored in the body to 70 or 80 ng/ml (nanograms per millilitre). The amount of iron normally stored in a woman’s body can range from 12 to 50; the lower end is not high enough to accelerate hair growth.
Rogaine can also be used for several months to start the TE recovery process; once the hair grows back, Rogaine use can be stopped.
As mentioned above, emergency regimes can trigger TE in both men and women. In fact, diets containing less than 1,200 calories per day can cause sudden hair loss. This is particularly true for low-protein diets. If the body does not have the right protein, it borrows it by putting healthy hair in the rest phase to maintain the protein.
Although hair loss is usually temporary due to inadequate nutrition, it can lead to permanent hair loss in people who are genetically predisposed to hair loss. Extreme weight loss in men can also increase the production of androgens from male sex hormones that kill hair follicles. Once the hair follicles are destroyed, there can be no more hair growth.