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Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, What to avoid & What to look for

This is only meant to inform and not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

What is hair loss?

Every human being loses hundreds of hair every day. But this is a natural and temporary process, and the old ones immediately replace new hair. Hair loss happens when the new hair either has weak roots or doesn’t grow at all. It results in a clear hairless patch of skin on the body.

‘Alopecia’ or ‘Baldness’ is a medical term used for hair loss. (Phillips, Slomiany, and Allison 2017). It can be due to hundreds of causes with external and internal factors behind it.

How does hair fall?

Hairs contain the fastest growing cells. Whenever a person suffers from any pathology or any insult to the hair, either externally or internally, it can result in a breach in the cycle of hair production and hair loss results.

It is also a fact that when the hair cycle does not complete correctly, it results in the thinning of new hair, and they eventually come out of their roots. Hair loss is a process that may demand from months to years depending upon the cause discussed below.

What are the effects of hair loss?

Hair loss can lead to various psychological problems in a person. No one wants to lose any part of his body. Hair imparts beauty to the body. Losing hair that can be hideable may not affect anyone. But having scalp baldness or losing the hair from the eyelashes or beard can impart immense psychological trauma to a person.

Research shown that hair loss can lead to anxiety, depression, bipolar mania, and psychotic disorders(Phillips, Slomiany, and Allison 2017; Nigel Hunt 2005).

It is a vicious cycle of stress that can start other stress issues. Social phobias, lack of energy, low mood, and sleep deprivation are also present in the person suffering from hair loss.

What can cause hair loss?

It is imperative to find the cause behind hair loss because it can be treated and prevented. There are hundreds of hair loss causes, but broadly they can be either due to internal factors or due to external factors.

It is also essential to understand that hair loss can be permanent or temporary, depending on the cause.

The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary , which runs in families. It is also called pattern baldness, which occurs because of specific genes which lack hair protein signals. All this can lead to loss of hair from the scalp, which started so that the hairline eventually recedes. Pattern baldness is an age-related process. Its prevalence is sixteen percent in men with eighteen to twenty-nine years of age and fifty-three percent with forty to forty-nine years of age.

Hormonal i mbalance is also an essential factor leading to hair loss. Androgens, Testosterone, estrogens, and thyroxine are the chemicals that play a crucial role in hair growth. Any imbalance can result in defective hair production and hair loss results.

We can treat pathological hair loss with medication. The prevalence of hormonal pattern baldness ranges from six percent to thirty-eight percent, depending upon the individual’s age.

Any psychological trauma or stress can lead to signals that stop hair follicle and baldness results. It is temporary Baldness, and the new hairdo replaces the bald scalp in no time. This condition is termed telogen effluvium and affects about two percent of people worldwide.

Any d isease condition can also lead to hair loss. Most common pathologies associated with hair loss include Alopecia Areata, Tinea capitis, Scarring Alopecia, nonscarring Alopecia, and Lupus.

The primary cause behind this process is the weakening of roots of the hair secondary to ongoing pathology. It is a quick process, and a person can get the hair back once the disease process has resolved.

Various d rugs and medications can also lead to temporary hair loss in individuals all around the globe. These medications include birth control pills, antidepressants, anticoagulants, acne medications, steroids, thyroid medications, antihypertensive medications, psoriasis medications, anticoagulants, and cholesterol drugs.

Drugs usually interact with the growth cycle of hair, resulting in weakening hair and baldness results. Once it happens, it is essential to stop that medication so that hair growth can be restored.

Surgery is another cause of patchy hair loss from the surgical wound site. It is a patchy permanent hair loss and can also be secondary to general anesthesia’s hazardous side effects. It is an ongoing process and can be treated with hair transplantation.

Malnutrition is another crucial cause behind hair loss. Hairs are proteins, and they require essential vitamins, minerals, and protein for their growth. If, for instance, we cannot take the necessary amount of nutrients, it can lead to Baldness. It is usually treated with an eating diet rich in deficient nutrients.

Apart from all these factors, age also plays an essential role in hair loss. With advancing age, we usually lose more hair and get less.

Hairstyling by using different hazardous gels also making youth prone to such problems.

These days, COVID-19 has become an important cause behind hair loss in our population. Fever, flu, and stress are common symptoms of coronavirus infection, leading to hair loss. If so happens with you, there is nothing to be overly worried about. Hair loss can be reverted once the stress, fever, and flu get settled.

Cosmetic Treatments

In this category of treatment, the goal is to enhance your appearance without actually treating the underlying condition.

1. Hair-Fiber Powders

Hair fiber powders are made employing a small number of keratin fibers charged with electrostatic energy. As a result, these fibers attach to existing hair follicles, which conceals areas of severe hair loss.

Overall, hair fiber powders give your hair a fuller look. If you learn how to use this product properly, it’ll go unnoticed under good lighting conditions. Folks that suffer from diffuse hair loss might not see the effects of this product since its mechanism of action requires existing hair follicles.

2. Synthetic Wigs

Synthetic wigs are a viable solution for people with severe hair loss. There are several sorts of synthetic wigs that suit different individuals.

Make sure to settle on the one that matches your hair color and skin complexion.

3. Real-hair Wigs

As the name implies, real-hair wigs are made using real human hair to offer you a natural look. Always look for reputable brands of real-hair wigs to avoid scamming and low-quality wigs.

4. Shave Your Head

Shaving your head could be a choice, especially if you’re handling male or female pattern baldness. Having a shaved head is aesthetically far more appealing than having several patches of baldness spread around your head.

5. Tattooing

Tattooing your scalp could be helpful to feature a private touch to your bald head.

Medical Treatments

1. Finasteride

Finasteride is a prescription drug used to treat hair loss.

Mechanism of action

Finasteride works by decreasing the quantity of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is liable for androgenetic alopecia.

Dosage

• Form: oral tablet

• Strengths: 1 mg

• Brand: Propecia

• Typical dosage: 1 mg per day

2. Minoxidil

Minoxidil is another prescription drug that can be taken orally. Besides treating high blood pressure cases, minoxidil is approved by the FDA as a treatment of hair loss.

Mechanism of action

Minoxidil expands the diameter of peripheral blood vessels, which improves the irrigation of hair follicles and promotes their regrowth.

Dosage

• Generic: Minoxidil

• Form: oral tablet

• Strengths: 2.5 mg and 10 mg

3. Spironolactone (Carospir, Aldactone)

Spironolactone may be a diuretic that treats fluid retention and high BP.

In recent years, doctors started using this drug to treat female pattern hair loss induced by androgenetic alopecia.

This drug is used when minoxidil doesn’t work.

Mechanism of action

Spironolactone slows down the assembly of androgens, which later become DHT – the first hormone that triggers AA.

In one study, researchers found that 75% of participants with female pattern hair loss reported an improvement in their hair loss after taking this drug.

Dosage

For hair loss, 100–200 milligrams are appropriate. However, your doctor may start you on 25 mg to lower the danger of side effects.

4. Oral Dutasteride (Avodart)

Dutasteride may be a prescription that also treats androgenetic alopecia.

Mechanism of action

Dutasteride inhibits the action of a category of enzymes referred to as 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors.

As a result, the amount of DHT drop in your blood, which improves the signs of hair loss. This drug also helps people with enlarged prostates.

Dosage

• Generic: Dutasteride

• Form: oral capsule

• Strength: 0.5 mg

• Brand: Avodart

5. Drithocreme (Anthralin)

Drithocreme, also called Anthralin, maybe a drug that treats psoriasis, hair loss, and several other dermatological conditions.

6. Diphencyprone

Diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP) is a new agent employed by some dermatology centers to treat alopecia areata. Its ingredients include acetone and feature a shelf-life of about 6 months.

Mechanism of action

The application of diphenylcyclopropenone to the skin redirects autoimmune attacks on the hair follicles. Consequently, your hair is going to be ready to regrow more efficiently.

7. Janus Kinase Inhibitors

Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors have a transparent effect on alopecia.

The mechanisms involved during this process are still unclear. However, several scientific studies confirmed their positive effects on hair loss.

8. Corticosteroid Injections and Creams

Corticosteroids are a category of medicine that has anti-inflammatory and immune-regulating properties. These drugs could also be beneficial for a few cases of hair loss, especially those that involve active inflammation of autoimmune reactions (e.g., alopecia areata).

9. Immunotherapy

Contact immunotherapy is one of the most efficient way to treat alopecia. The foremost common drug used is diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP), which we detailed above.

10. Laser Therapy

Laser therapy (i.e., light therapy) shoots photons into the scalp tissues, which encourage hair cells to grow. It’s safe, tolerable, and fewer invasive than most hair loss treatments.

11. Hair Transplant

A hair transplant may be a very effective (and expensive) procedure that focuses on grafting new hair follicles into your scalp. Depending on your preferences and budget, you’ll choose artificial or authentic hair to graft.

12. Scalp Reduction Surgery

Scalp reduction surgery may be a procedure that addresses hair loss in men and ladies. It involves moving the skin with normal hair growth to bald areas on your scalp. For instance, the skin on the edges of your head gets pulled up, stitched together and the bald top of your head is going to be covered with hair.

13. Hair Growth Solutions

There are several hair growth solutions on the market, which use vitamins, minerals, and other hair-promoting substances. Before trying these solutions, you ought to speak together with your dermatologist.

14. Styling Products

To keep the post-non-promotional, I won’t include a list of products that are recommended by the dermatologist here. However, there might be products in your local area which can help. Consult your dermatologist or trichologist for their recommendation.

15. Consult A Board-Certified Dermatologist

Consulting with a board-certified dermatologist is that the best approach to treat hair loss. Your doctor will take your medical record, perform a physical examination, and order some tests. Learn more about hair loss consultation by reading the complete guide.

Home Remedies

1. Supplements

Nutritional deficiencies are common causes of hair loss. However, before you begin taking supplements arbitrarily, you’ll want to talk together with your doctor or nutritionist to perform some blood tests. This will allow you to form evidence-based decisions and treat your nutritional deficiencies more effectively.

2. Exercise!

While extreme physical activity may trigger reversible hair loss, experts recommend getting regular exercise to balance your hormones and keep homeostasis checked.

3. Essential Oils

Some evidence suggests that applying certain essential oils may help moisturize your scalp and nourish hair follicles. The research during this field is preliminary and more clinical studies are necessary.

4. Garlic

In one study, researchers found that garlic protects skin cells from the damage of UV. Another study found that applying garlic gel to bald spots on the scalp may improve alopecia. However, the evidence of this study is anecdotal. More research is required to conclude.

5. Onion Juice

Adding onion juice to the hair and scalp provides them with sulfur, which supports strong and thick hair. Researchers believe that the mechanism of action involves a rise in blood flow to the hair follicles, which promotes their regrowth.

6. Saw Palmetto

Studies that inspected the consequences of saw palmetto on hair loss are scarce but promising. It appears that saw palmetto blocks the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, which is that the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. This might help patients with androgenetic alopecia.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar may help with hair loss by avoiding bacteria and regulating ph levels. However, these effects could also be limited to certain sorts of hair loss.

8. Coconut oil

Coconut oils work by moisturizing your hair and removing any toxin buildups from the follicles. This oil penetrates underneath the scalp to reaches the shaft of the follicles.

9. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil could also be an efficient choice in treating hair loss. It’s rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which stimulate hair growth and stop hormonal imbalances.

10. Pumpkin Seed Oil

In 2014, scientists released a study that examined the consequences of pumpkin seed oil on hair loss. The results demonstrated that participants who took the supplements had 30% more hair growth relative to the placebo group.

Emotional Help

1. Therapy

As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, hair loss is often a traumatizing event surely individuals. If you’re handling a scarcity of confidence, distorted body image, or simply overwhelmed with this issue, you’ll get to consult a licensed psychologist to urge help.

Your therapist will put things into perspective and assist you to recover from the negative thoughts related to hair loss and physical appearance.

2. Support Groups

Similar to other conditions, you’ll find support groups for people that suffer from hair loss. Sharing experiences and exchanging helpful tips with others will assist you to recover from your trouble.

To find these groups, search online or ask your local doctor.

What To Look For?

Caffeine-infused products

According to a 2014 study, researchers found that caffeine promotes hair growth.

The study concluded that caffeine stimulates hair growth at the molecular and cellular levels in both genders.

Essential oils

Essential oils aren’t just good-smelling additives. Recent evidence suggests that these oils can promote hair growth.

In one study, participants who received a daily dose of pumpkin seed oil (400 milligrams) led to significant hair growth in men. The study lasted for twenty-four weeks, with hair growth reaching up to 40% relative to baseline.

The group that received flavorer showed a big increase in dermal thickness, follicle depth, and follicle number.

Vitamins and minerals

Since hair grows almost like other tissues, it is sensible that it requires vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids for optimal development. Hair growth vitamins target all hair on your body, not specifically your hair. If you’re getting to buy a hair loss product, you would like to seem for the subsequent nutrients:

  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 and omega-6
  • Zinc
  • Iron

In one study, scientists showed that the intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for six months helps protect against hair loss.

Ingredients to avoid during a hair growth product

Just like you would like to seem for the proper ingredients for hair growth, you furthermore may get to be wary of the ingredients that exacerbate this condition.

Therefore, every ingredient we are getting to list worsens hair loss using different mechanisms.

For instance, diethanolamine (DEA) triggers inflammation and severe immune reactions within the scalp, which is that the last item you would like when you’ve been diagnosed with alopecia.

Here are the ingredients you would like to avoid when buying a hair loss product:

• Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

• Parabens

• Propanediol

• Imidazolidinyl Urea

• Common salt

• Diethanolamine (DEA)

• Fragrance

Fortunately, you have become an expert in the field of hair loss, which allows you to confidently choose the right products that meet your needs.

Conclusion

Hairs are the precious structures that impart beauty to our bodies. The need for an hour is to care for them by eating a proper diet, remaining stress-free, and avoiding the medication that aggravates hair loss. If you are suffering from hair loss, it is essential to consult the dermatologist as soon as possible and discuss your problem.

To read more on hair loss (this is just 2 chapters out of 7), you can head over to this medically reviewed 25000+ words guide on hair loss.

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