Hair Loss: The Causes, the Impact and its Treatment
Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, but many hairs are so fine, that they’re virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which is produced from the hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells.
The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hair and it loses up to 100 of them a day; finding few stray hair on your hairbrush is not necessarily a cause for alarm. That’s normal, and in most people, those hair grow back. But many men and some women lose hair as they grow older. While daily shedding is normal, people who notice their hair shedding in large amounts after combing or brushing and those whose hair becomes thinner , should consult a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing; each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. This life cycle is divided into three phases:
- Anagen – is active hair growth that lasts between two to six years
- Catagen – is transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks
- Telogen – is a resting phase that lasts about two to three months; and at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.
As people age, their rate of hair growth slows.
Causes of hair loss
Causes of hair loss, some of which are temporary, include:
- Excessive or improper use of styling products which cause weathering or hair breakage.
- Hairstyles that pull the hair, like ponytails and braids.
- Frequent shampooing, pulling, combing or brushing of hair too hard.
- A variety of diseases, including thyroid.
- Childbirth, major surgery, a high fever or severe infection, stress, or even the flu.
- Inadequate protein or iron in the diet, or eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
- Certain prescription drugs, including blood thinners, high-dose vitamin A, and medicines for arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems and high blood pressure.
- Use of birth control pills (usually in women with an inherited tendency for hair thinning).
- Hormonal imbalances, especially in women.
- Ringworm of the scalp, a contagious fungal infection which is most common in children.
- Some cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- Alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that affects all ages, which causes hair to fall out in round patches.
Psychosocial impact of hair loss
- While the physical symptoms of hair loss can be traumatic for patients, the psychosocial impact of hair loss can be just as severe.
- Hair loss can cause dramatic and devastating emotions in patients that can negatively impact their quality of life. Psychosocial studies have found patients’ self-esteem, body image and self-confidence to be negatively affected.
- Known psychosocial complications include depression, low self-esteem, altered self-image, and less frequent and enjoyable social engagement.
- The negative quality of life may be worse in women due to societal pressure to be attractive. Treatment from a dermatologist may be sought in order to improve the quality of life.
Treatment of hair loss
- Medical management: It includes topical and systemic medicines
- Modern Drug Delivery System: It includes Mesotherapy and PRP therapy
- Hair transplantation is a permanent form of hair replacement utilizing dermatological surgery that involves moving some existing scalp hair to bald or thinning parts. It may benefit men, with male pattern baldness, some women with thinning hair, and people who have lost some but not all hair from burns or other scarring injuries to the scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes.
- Restoration surgery is another treatment option. In scalp reduction surgery, the bald scalp is removed and hair-bearing scalp is brought closer together to reduce balding. In scalp expansion surgery, a physician temporarily inserts devices under the scalp to stretch hair-bearing areas, which also reduces balding. In scalp flap surgery, a hair-bearing piece of scalp is surgically moved and placed where hair is needed.
When you experience acute hair loss and want to pursue a treatment, talk to us and at Skin City, we can help you in regaining lost hair with our wide range of advance services in hair diagnostics, treatments and surgeries.