Hair is an integral part of a person’s appearance. Hereditary trichotillomania (genetic trichotillomania) always raises concerns. Learn more about baldness and how to prevent it.
How common is baldness in India? According to a 2011 census, about 46% of men in their twenties experience baldness. Since most of the causes have been inherited, the numbers have not decreased since then. If the maternal or paternal family also has baldness problems, they are more likely to be bald. This family baldness is called androgenetic alopecia, or androgenetic alopecia. There are multiple possible causes for alopecia (hair loss), but androgenetic alopecia is the most common.
Hair grows cyclically in our body. It follows four phases:
- Anagen (growth period): This is the hair growth stage. At this stage, hair grows actively from the hair follicles (the structure of the scalp).
- Katagen (transition period): At this stage, the hair stops growing and begins to loosen in the hair follicles. This phase lasts 10 days.
- Rest period (rest period): At this stage, loose hair stays in each hair follicle for about 2-3 months and then begins to fall out.
- Exogen (molting stage):The exogenous phase is essentially an extension or part of the telogen phase of hair growth. At the extrinsic stage, the scalp loses hair, and washing and brushing are often helpful. It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs per day at the extrinsic stage.
Therefore, hair loss is a natural physiological process. Hair grows, loosens, falls, and grows again. However, the normal daily amount of hair loss from this hair cycle is 50 to 100. Beyond this, it is called alopecia. Hair loss or alopecia is a disorder caused by impaired hair growth. Hair loss can be categorized into specific types:
- Frontal fibrous alopecia: This is the most common pattern among patients who complain of hair loss. In such patients, the hair gradually recedes at the hairline of the forehead.
- Alopecia areata: In these patients, hair loss occurs with patches. Bald spots with spots begin to appear in multiple areas of the scalp.Initially, the skin has itching and pain, Hair loss continues.
- Tinea capitis: It is one of the common causes of hair loss among children. Tinea capitis or ringworm is a fungal infection of the scalp. Children usually present with a red, scaly, itchy scalp associated with hair loss. Sometimes it is associated with blisters filled with pus.
- Sudden loosening of hair: Hair loss is usually a step-by-step process, but patients with a healthy scalp and no family history of hair loss may complain of hair loss. This may be due to stress or other factors.
- Whole body hair loss: This is seen in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. This type of alopecia is not unique to the scalp and causes hair loss throughout the body.
What are the other causes of hair loss?
- Hormonal changes: This is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. This can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or oral contraceptives. Such events are associated with hormonal imbalances and lead to hair loss.
- Drugs and Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs (drugs used for cancer), antidepressants, and certain antihypertensive drugs (drugs that lower blood pressure) are some drugs for which alopecia (hair loss) is a side effect.
- stress: Stress can be caused by anything from school to work to personal problems. Stress is very commonly associated with alopecia (hair loss). The stress of hair loss can also cause hair loss.
- Hair styling procedure: This includes changing hairstyles by curling, straightening, or bleaching (applying chemicals). Such a procedure not only beautifies your hair, but also hurt it.
- Fungal and bacterial infections: Infection of the scalp with certain fungi or bacteria can lead to alopecia (hair loss).
- Telogen effluvium: Excessive hair loss can occur approximately 2-3 months after any shocking or stressful event to the system. Hair loss can be caused by accidents, surgery, illness, sudden weight loss, or some psychological stress. Hair usually grows within about 2-6 months.
- Malnutrition:Optimal levels of iron and other nutrients are essential for healthy hair growth as well as overall health. Proper intake of protein, vitamin D, and other vitamins from the diet is also important for maintaining healthy hair. Lack of one or more of these nutrients can result in more hair being lost than usual.
When do I need to see a doctor?
Certain types of hair loss can be undone at first, but can’t be undone if left untreated. For example, frontal fibrous alopecia, receding hairline, should be treated early to prevent permanent deformation. From time to time, alopecia may indicate other conditions. Therefore, see a doctor as soon as the first signs of alopecia appear.
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What is the way to prevent baldness?
The most common cause of baldness is genetics, orrogenetic alopecia. And there’s not much you can do with your genes. However, you can take steps to prevent further damage.
- Quit smoking: Studies show that smokers have a higher incidence of hair loss. If you are a smoker and have the first signs of hair loss, you should quit smoking.
- Treat your hair gently. When I run late to college or work, I sometimes comb my hair when it’s still wet. This can damage your hair and cause hair loss.
- Avoid direct sunlight: Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, but too much direct sunlight can damage your hair. Also, avoid ultraviolet rays.
- Cooling cap: Scientists have developed cooling caps to avoid hair loss in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. This can reduce the incidence of chemotherapy-induced hair loss.
How is baldness diagnosed?
Patients who come to a clinic with hair loss need to undergo specific tests to find the cause of the hair loss.
- Scalp biopsy: This test takes a sample of skin abrasions from the scalp. Microscopically examine whether hair loss is due to an infectious cause such as a fungus.
- Optical microscope: Your doctor may take a sample of your hair and examine it with a light microscope to see if the hair loss is due to a shaft injury.
- Blood test: Sometimes hair loss is due to other underlying disorders. Your doctor may do a specific blood test to check for such a condition.
How are baldness treated?
- medicine: Certain drugs can effectively treat hair loss. These drugs contain a variety of formulations and strengths of minoxidil and finasteride. Specific sprays and topical ointments that combine these drugs are also available. These drugs effectively reversed hair loss in many patients.
- Hair transplant surgery: This is the most effective treatment for permanent hair loss. Dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons perform such surgery. In this surgery, the hair is transplanted from the normal growth area to the bald area.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy for hair loss is a three-step treatment that takes human blood, processes it, and injects it into the scalp.
- Nutritional Hair Supplements: It can be used as a baldness support therapy. You can use hair supplements that contain amino acids, cbiotin, minerals and more.
- wig:These are more temporary solutions, but they are cheaper and more versatile. Synthetic wigs are generally cheaper when compared to human hair wigs. Human hair wigs look more natural and are easier to style and maintain because the polymer holds the structure longer and better under natural fibers.
Hair loss affects your appearance. Contact your dermatologist as soon as possible to avoid problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Is it normal to lose hair every day?
Hair growth follows a specific cycle. Every day, hair grows and dies. It’s normal to lose your hair every day. However, if it exceeds 100, you need to check.
- Are Hair Growth Agents Safe?
Medically, no drug is completely safe. All drugs have some side effects. There are also several in minoxidil and finasteride. After estimating the risk-to-reward ratio, the patient is given the drug. If the risk is high, the drug will be discontinued. In addition, these medicines are provided in the form of sprays or topical ointments. This mode of application prevents systemic side effects because the drug acts locally on the scalp and does not reach the bloodstream.
- Does intense brushing have a positive effect on hair by improving blood circulation in the scalp?
This is partially incorrect. A better cycle can make your hair healthy, but not by vigorous brushing. You can massage the scalp with hair oil to improve blood circulation. Vigorous brushing damages the hair and increases hair loss.