Your hair is made of keratin, the same protein that makes up your nails and the outer layer of your skin. The part you see and style is called the hair shaft. It’s actually dead tissue made by your hair follicles. The follicles are tiny bulb-like structures beneath your scalps surface. The average head has 100,000 hairs. Your hair grows and is shed regularly. But many factors can disrupt the cycle. About 90 percent of the hair on most people’s scalp is in a 4- to 5-year growth stage at any given time. The other 10 percent is in a 2 to 3-month resting stage after which it is shed. Most people shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. Once a hair is shed, the growth stage begins again as a new hair from the follicle replaces the shed hair. New hair growths at a rate of approximately ½ inch a month although this slows as you age… hair loss may lead to baldness when the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of re-regrowth, when new hair is thinner than hair shed or when hair comes out in patches.
Hair thinning is common amongst otherwise healthy women. It can begin in women as early as their twenties. My goal in this section is to give you a better understanding of the various reasons why hair loss occurs and share with you beauty options that are proven to work. Thinning hair and hair loss can have a profound effect on self-image and self-confidence, causing men and women to feel unattractive, embarrassed and helpless. If you are experiencing hair loss, I want you to know that you are not alone! Let us confront your hair loss and take action to safely regain control of your appearance and self-esteem.
Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from the scalp and can be a result of hereditary, certain medications, or an underlying medical condition. For many the loss is permanent. But in some causes in hair loss are treatable. Seeing your physician can help you get to the root of your concern.
Alopecia is a common disease that results in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. Alopecia occurs in males and females of all ages, but onset most often occurs in childhood. There are three types of Alopecia: Alopecia Aereata, Alopecial Totalis and Alopecia Universalis.
What is Alopecia Aereata?
It affects approximately 2 percent of the population and can involve hair loss on the scalp or the body. With Alopecia Areata baldness usually occurs in small, round, smooth patches. Hair loss may be on the scalp only or body hair may be lost as well. Alopecia Aereata is classified as an autoimmune disease, but the cause of it is unknown. In fact, people who develop this type of baldness are generally in good health. A family history of Alopecia Areata makes you more likely to develop it. Unlike androgenetic Alopecia hair will generally grow back. But it may takes several years.
WHAT TRIGGERS ALOPECIA AREATA TO START OR STOP?
Current research suggests that something triggers the immune system to suppress the hair follicle. It isn’t known what this trigger is and whatever it comes from outside of the body like a virus or from inside. Recent research indicated that some people have genetic markers that increase both their susceptibility to develop Alopecia areata as well as the degree of disease severity.
IS ALOPECIA areata HEREDITARY?
Yes, hereditary plays a role in one out of persons with Alopecia areata someone else in the family also has it. Those who develop Alopecia areata for the first time after the age of thirty years old have less likelihood that a family member will have it. Those who develop their first patch of Alopecia areata before the age of thirty have a higher possibility that another family member will also have it. Alopecia areata often occurs in families whose members have had Asthma, Hay fever, Atopic Eczema or other autoimmune diseases such as Thyroid disease, early onset Diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus Erythematosus, Vitiligo, Pernicious Anemia or Addison’s disease.
WHAT OTHER PARTS OF THE BODY ARE AFFECTED?
In some people, the nails develop stippling that looks as if a pin had made rows in tiny dents. In a few the nails are severely distorted. However other than hair and occasionally the nails, no part of body is affected.
Is where the hair may temporarily or permanently stop growing in certain areas on the head. Traction alopecia is usually caused by continuous and excessive stress on particular hairs. For instance, if you continuously style your hair in a ponytail, buns, braids or cornrows the hairs with most tension may gradually stop growing resulting in hair loss. If this type of traction and hair loss continues for an excessive period of time, then the hair loss may become permanent. Generally, however, a change in hairstyle that reduces the traction on the hair and hair follicle is all that is required in order to reverse the process. This is especially common in African-American females (women of color), who wear tight braiding or cornrow hairstyles.
Chemical treatments burn the scalp causing hair follicles to shrink and grow thinner hair and if a scar forms over the hair follicle the hair will not grow at all. Chemical hair treatments dry out the scalp causing hair follicles to over produce sebum and become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Chemicals in hair treatments are known toxic hormonal disruptors that can accelerate hair loss due to aging.
Physical or emotion stress can trigger hair loss whether people are predestined to lose or hair or not. When stress causes hair loss, stress can actually speed up the process. The stress experienced must be quite severe before it leads to hair loss. Examples of severe stress are loss of a loved one, strenuous sports, training, severe illness or drastic weight loss, surgeries and emotional stress. The body simply shuts down production of hair during periods of stress since it is not necessary for survival and instead devotes its energies toward repairing vital body structures. A recent high fever, severe flu or surgery, you may notice you have less hair four weeks to three months after an illness or surgery. These conditions cause hair to shift rapidly into a resting phase, meaning you’ll see less new hair growth. A normal amount of hair typically will appear after the growth phase resumes. This means the total hair loss and regrowth cycle can last six months or possibly longer when induced by physical or emotional stress. There are some health conditions which may go undetected that can contribute to hair loss. These include anemia and low blood count and thyroid abnormalities. Both of these conditions can be detected by a simple, inexpensive blood test.
Another version Traction Alopecia, which is often referred to as “Hair Pulling Disorder” , an impulse control disorder, when a person compulsively pulls out strands of hair in distinct patches on the scalp. Some individuals also pull out hairs from eyebrows and eyelashes as well. Trichotillomania is often caused by an undue amount of anxiety, stress and depression. It most commonly occurs among young children, adolescents, and women. It generally affects twice as many females than males. The treatment for Trichotillomania often involves behavioral therapy or psychiatric help where an antidepressant may be prescribed.
CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS & RADIATION TREATMENTS
Drugs designed to poison cancer cells also poison the hair follicles and will often result in total hair loss. Hair loss from chemotherapy treatment will start approximately 2 – 3 weeks after the first dose of chemotherapy, but won’t result in total hair loss until 1 -2 months have elapsed. Hair loss is reversible and will be back in about 3 – 4 months after the last chemotherapy dose. Hair on the head is most commonly affected. The scalp may become tender and hair that is growing may become dull and sry. The hair may grow back thinner, and perhaps a different color but will eventually return to its original thickness and shade.
Hair loss results from white blood cells in the immune system attacking healthy cells in the hair follicles, damaging the follicle and diminishing the production of hair.
* *Taking a drug with the same side effect can compound the situation. In extreme cases it may lead to complete baldness.
LUPUS - Hair loss occurs when antibodies infiltrate hair follicles causing hair shaft to be rejected by the body and fallout. If scarring occurs hair loss can be permanent.
HASHIMOTOS DISEASE- Attack on the thyroid causes large amounts of hair to fallout in the shower if undetected.
GRAVES DISEASE- Thyroid disorder affects the production of new hair on the scalp and body. An imbalance of hormones forces hair follicles into the telogen(resting) phase of the hair growth cycle prematurely.
CROHN'S DISEASE- Prevents ot limits absorbtion of hair nutrients and vitamins normally absorbed through walls of the gut and filtered into the bloodstream which causes a nutritional deficiency causing hair follicles to stop regenerating and begin shedding.