Alopecia can mean baldness, a term generally reserved for pattern alopecia or androgenic alopecia. Compulsive pulling of hair (trichotillomania) can also produce hair loss. Hairstyling routines such as tight ponytails or braids may induce Traction alopecia. Both hair relaxer solutions, and hot hair irons can also induce hair loss. In some cases, alopecia is due to underlying medical conditions, such as iron deficiency.
Generally, hair loss in patches signifies alopecia areata. Alopecia areata typically presents with sudden hair loss causing patches to appear on the scalp or other areas of the body. If left untreated, or if the disease does not respond to treatment, complete baldness can result in the affected area, which is referred to as alopecia totalis. When the entire body suffers from complete hair loss, it is referred to as alopecia universalis. It is similar in to the effects that occur with chemotherapy.
UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF HAIRLOSS
Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except the palms and the soles of our feet, however some hair are so fine they are almost invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, and keratin is produced by hair follicles which are located on the outer layer of the skin. As the hair follicles produce new cells, the old cells are pushed out through openings on the skin surface hence what we call hair is just a string of dead cells. Hair grows at the rate of about 6 inches a year. The average human head has about 100,000-150,000 hairs and about 100 of this is lost on a daily basis, hence the stray hair u find when you comb your hair.
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:
At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person's scalp is growing.
Anagen -- active hair growth that lasts between two to six years.
Catagen -- transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks.
Telogen -- resting phase that lasts about two to three months. 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
TYPES OF HAIR LOSS
Involutional alopecia is a natural condition in which the hair gradually thins with age. More hair follicles go into the resting phase, and the remaining hairs become shorter and fewer in number.
Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition, called male pattern baldness, can begin suffering hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s.It's characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp. Women with this condition, called female pattern baldness, don't experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
Alopecia areata often starts suddenly andcauses patchy hair loss in children and young adults. This condition may result in complete baldness (alopecia totalis). But in about 90% of people with the condition, the hair returns within a few years.
Alopecia universalis causes all body hair to fall out, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
Trichotillomania, seen most frequently in children, is a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out one's own hair.
Telogen effluvium is temporary hair thinning over the scalp that occurs because of changes in the growth cycle of hair. A large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing hair shedding and subsequent thinning.
MEASURING WOMEN'S HAIR LOSS
The Savin scale is a common measure that ranges from normal hair density to a bald crown (very rare). It's helpful in documenting female pattern baldness, which affects about 30 million American women. Experts think genetics and aging play a role in androgenic alopecia, along with the hormonal changes of menopause. Hair may become thin all over, with the greatest loss along the center of the scalp. A receding hairline is very rare in women.
CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN
RING WORM : When ringworm affects the scalp, the fungus triggers a distinct pattern of hair loss -- itchy, round bald patches. Bald areas can appear scaly and red. Ringworm of the scalp is treated with antifungal medication. The fungus is easily spread by direct contact, so family members should be checked for symptoms, too.
|hair loss caused by ring worm|
THE PILL : A little known side effect of birth control pills is the potential for hair loss. The hormones that suppress ovulation can cause hair to thin in some women, particularly those with a family history of hair loss. Sometimes hair loss begins when you stop taking the pill. Other drugs linked to hair loss include blood thinners and medicines that treat high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and depression.
EXCESSIVE DIETING : You may lose more than weight with a crash diet. People may notice hair loss 3-6 months after losing more than 15 pounds, but hair should regrow on its own with a healthy diet. Be prepared to shed some locks if your diet is very low in protein or too high in vitamin A.
TIGHT HAIR STYLES : It's no myth: Wearing cornrows or tight ponytails can irritate the scalp and cause hair to fall out. The same is true of using tight rollers. Let your hair down, and it should grow back normally. Be aware that long-term use of these styles can cause scarring of the scalp and permanent hair loss.
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CONTINUOUS USE OF HAIR EXTENTIONS CAN ALSO CAUSE HAIR LOSS IN WOMEN
Yes too much brazilian weaves can permanently damage your hair. In researching hair extensions and the damage they can do to your scalp, HowStuffWorks.com contacted several trichologists -- physicians who specialize in treating maladies of the hair and scalp. It's worth noting that the general consensus among the trichologists we corresponded with is that, when done properly, hair extensions pose little or no threat to your scalp. It's when they're put in haphazardly that problems can arise.
One such issue, the aforementioned traction alopecia, may be the most common problem with hair extensions. When hair extensions are put in, they're often woven into the real hair. If the weave is too tight, hair extensions will tug at the real hair they're attached to as they're removed, resulting in loss of the real hair. This tugging of the scalp can also lead to inflammation at the site, since the hair has literally been pulled out by the extension [source: Kingsley].
The attached nature of most types of hair extensions can also lead to inflammation and irritation of the scalp when the hair is brushed or combed, since the extension can be caught in the tines. This also leads to tugging of the scalp. Because there aren't many ways around this, extensions should only be used for the short term.
Some types of systems use heat to apply the hair extensions, a method known as heat sealing. In this method, a solid solution used to bond the extension to the hair at the root is liquefied using a heated clamp. When the solution cools, the hair and extension are fused together. Heat sealing requires the use of a shield that protects the scalp from burning; this method is safe in the hands of a trained professional, but there's always the potential of burning the scalp whenever a hot instrument is used near it.
The solution used in heat sealing and the glue used in other ways to bond extensions to real hair can cause an allergic reaction on the scalps of some people. This reaction is called contact dermatitis; the symptoms include an uncomfortable, red, itchy rash, akin to one caused by poison ivy source: Mayo Clinic. The chemicals used to remove the bonding agents in order to remove the extensions pose the same risk. It's difficult, if not impossible, to tell how your scalp will react until these chemicals are applied.
For these reasons, it's a good idea to use only reputable salons staffed by trained professionals when opting for hair extensions. When it comes to sparing your hair and scalp from pain and damage, it's worth the money.
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CANCER TREATMENT : Hair loss is an infamous side effect of two cancer treatments: chemo and radiation therapy. In their quest to kill cancer cells, both treatments can harm hair follicles, triggering dramatic hair loss. But the damage is almost always short-lived. Once the therapy is finished, hair usually grows back.
MAJOR STRESS :
xtreme physical or emotional stress can cause a sudden shedding of one-half to three-quarters of the hair on your head. Examples include:
Serious illness or major surgery
Trauma involving blood loss
Severe emotional trauma
The shedding may last six to eight months.
TREATMENT OF HAIR LOSS FOR WOMEN
MEDICINE : Minoxidil (Rogaine) is approved by the FDA for female pattern hair loss. It can slow or stop hair loss in most women and may help hair grow back in up to a quarter of those who use it. The benefits are lost when you stop using it. For women with alopecia areata, corticosteroids can help regrow hair. And if you have an underlying medical problem or a nutritional deficiency, hair usually grows back on its own once that condition is under control.
LASER TREATMENT : Devices that emit low-energy laser light may stimulate hair growth to help fight thinning hair. They're available in some clinics and as hand-held devices to use at home. At least one device has gained FDA approval for both men and women, based on a small study that showed effectiveness in at least some of those who tested it. It took 2-4 months to see the results. The FDA does not require the same rigorous testing for devices as for medicines. The long-term safety and effectiveness are
HAIR TRANSPLANT : This procedure involves moving hair to thinning scalp areas from donor sites. The trouble is, female pattern baldness causes thin hair all over, so good donor sites may be limited. The exceptions are women with male pattern baldness or hair loss caused by scarring.
GO NATURAL : This will greatly reduce stress on your hair, it will allow your hair to fallow .
HAIR LOSS IN MEN
Some men begin to loose hair even from the age of 21, quite tragic. Androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB) is responsible for the vast majority of hair loss. Several factors including serious diseases, reaction to certain medications, and, in rare cases, extremely stressful events can all cause hair loss in men , However , most hair loss in men can be blamed on heredity.
What male pattern baldness sufferers inherit are hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Hair follicles sensitive to DHT begin to miniaturize, shortening the lifespan of each hair follicle affected. Eventually, these affected follicles stop producing cosmetically acceptable hair.
Male pattern baldness is generally characterized with the onset of a receding hairline and thinning crown. Hair in these areas including the temples and mid-anterior scalp appear to be the most sensitive to DHT. This pattern eventually progresses into more apparent baldness throughout the entire top of the scalp, leaving only a rim or "horseshoe" pattern of hair remaining in the more advanced stages of MPB. For some men, even this remaining rim of hair can be affected by DHT.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative or by-product of testosterone. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. While the entire genetic process of MPB is not completely understood, scientists do know that DHT shrinks hair follicles, and that when DHT is suppressed, hair follicles continue to thrive.
Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT must be exposed to the hormone for a prolonged period of time for the affected follicle to complete the miniaturization process. Today, with proper intervention, this process can be slowed or even stopped if caught early enough.
What male pattern baldness sufferers inherit are hair follicles with a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a derivative or by-product of testosterone.
Several studies show a significant relationship between smoking and how fast male-pattern baldness gets worse. So if you need one more reason to quit smoking, add early hair loss to your list.
DIAGNOSING MALE PATTERN HAIRLOSS
Typical male pattern baldness is usually diagnosed based on the appearance and pattern of the hair loss, along with a detailed medical history, including questions about the prevalence of hair loss in your family.
An experienced dermatologist should examine the scalp under magnification (preferably with a device called a densitometer) to assess the degree of miniaturization of the hair follicles. This assessment is very important for recommending the proper course of treatment.
NORWOOD SCALE FOR MEASURING THE EXTENT OF HAIR LOSS IN MEN
This chart of hair loss pictures is a useful tool for diagnosis (and to avoid misdiagnosis) and for describing the extent of hair loss for treatment purposes. There may be times you will have to relay this information via telephone or the Internet to physicians or practitioners from whom you are seeking information. Note that there are many variants in pattern hair loss; the images on the Norwood Scale have been cited as the most typical
Hair Loss Medication for men : Minoxidil.
Although there's no way to cure male-pattern baldness, you can slow it down with some medications. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved over-the-counter medication you apply to your scalp. It slows the rate of hair loss in men, and some men even grow new hair. But once you stop using it, hair loss returns.
Hair Loss Medication: Finasteride
Taken as a prescription pill, finasteride slows hair loss by slowing down the body's production of DHT. Some men have been able to grow new hair while using it. In general, it's considered to work better than minoxidil. Pregnant women should not handle the drug since it can cause birth defects in male fetuses. Like minoxidil, it works only as long as it's used.
HAIR TRANSPLANT FOR MEN
A doctor will move healthy hair from the back and side of your head to the top to restore a natural look. Hair transplants can be costly and you may have to have several procedures. After two months, most of the transplanted hair is shed, but new hair grows back. Within six months the hair starts to look normal.
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HOW TO PREVENT HAIR LOSS IN MEN AND WOMEN
Take care of your hair. There are no guarantees that you can prevent hair loss that is genetically programmed or hair loss caused by factors not within your control. However, you can do the best by your hair at all stages to give it the greatest chance of staying in top condition and not leaving your head sooner than it needs to. There are a number of things you can do to take good care of your hair:
Don't subject your hair to frequent, constant heating and drying procedures. Heat weakens hair proteins, no matter the gimmicks promising softness and shine, and constant heating and drying can lead to brittleness and fragility that causes hair loss that would not have occurred otherwise. Minimize the usage of hair dryers, hot curlers, hot brushes, hair straighteners, hair fasteners, and chemical treatments and your hair will last longer.And watch where you put those heated tools; burned scalps can permanently damage hair follicles! Ultimately, natural drying is best for you hair, so aim to dry it naturally more often than drying it with heat
Slow down on the dyeing. Never color your hair more often than 6 to 8 weeks and try for semi-coverage rather than full dyeing. When it comes to going gray, it's a lot kinder to your hair to let it turn gray than to dye it. While there are a lot of well-meaning comments about not needing to look older than you are, this ageist "beauty before health" slant overlooks the value of having your hair at all!.
Be careful how you style your hair. Some styles that require tight pulling and elastics, clips, etc. can be a cause of hair loss if done on a daily basis. For example, tight ponytails, braiding tightly, corn-rows, and plaits, can lead to significant hair loss when done daily. Winding hair tightly onto rollers, especially heated rollers, is also liable to cause more hair loss. The medical name for loss of hair due to hairstyles that are too tight is known as "traction alopecia" and it is completely preventable as a cause in and of itself!
Avoid layering cuts that lose a lot of your hair. If you're already experiencing hair loss, don't speed it up by having the hairdresser remove more hair!
Hair washing can form a part of preventing hair loss as it can keep your hair and scalp clean (preventing the chances of infections, etc. that might cause hair loss), and provided you use a mild shampoo, clean hair will give the impression of more volume than dirty hair, which tends to sit flatter and more parted than clean hair.
Avoid brushing wet hair. This snaps off a lot of hair that could still be growing! If you must comb wet hair, use a very wide-toothed comb. Also avoid brushing hair too frequently as doing so can injure hair and increase loss.Use your fingers to undo tangles, not a comb or brush.
Avoid rubbing hair vigorously with a towel after washing it. This can also lead to hair breakage. Pat it dry gently instead.
Protein-enhanced shampoos and conditioners are an eye-trick, not a hair solution. They make hair smoother and thicker temporarily because they fill in gaps on the hair shaft. However, they do not repair damaged hair, so hair that is going to fall out from poor care or other reasons, will still fall out. Shampoo does not increase hair amount either.
When your hair is dried, use a soft-bristled brush to brush it.
Get your stress under control. Stress damages all of your body, and your hair is no exception. Loss of hair can be one of your body's primary signals that you're overdoing things and that it's time to pull back.
Be sure to get adequate sleep, the restorer of good health.
Exercise regularly. Good as a stress reduction strategy, physical activity also encourages better circulation, including for your scalp.
Eat your way to top form hair. Nutritional responses to preventing hair loss are simple common sense approaches to keeping you, your hair, and your scalp healthy and are beneficial for your health all round – a healthy body is more likely to have healthy hair than an unhealthy one. It is possible that hair loss can be slowed by a healthy diet filled with vegetables and fruits.The following nutritional requirements that can be sourced adequately from a healthy diet in most cases can be of help with preventing or minimizing hair loss:
Iron: This is an essential mineral, known as heme iron in animal food sources and non-heme iron in plant sources. Good sources of iron in your diet include: liver, beef, pork, fish, leafy greens, fortified cereal, beans, and pumpkin seeds. Vegetarian women may experience a lack of enough iron more than other people.
Protein: Protein is essential for strong hair, but it's protein from the diet, not from a shampoo, that matters! A deficiency in protein can lead to hair loss and adequate protein can help to provide the amino acids that strengthen hair. Good sources of protein include: Seafood, white-meat poultry, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, beans, pork tenderloin, soy, lean beef, and protein bars.Vegans, dairy-free consumers, and others can get good non-animal protein from tempeh, tofu, wholewheat bread, peanut butter, brown rice, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seitan, beans, broccoli, potatoes, etc.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C foods help in the good absorption of iron. Try to combine the iron source with a vitamin C source at the same time. Good sources of vitamin C include: Citrus fruit, green leafy vegetables, salad, baked potatoes, tomatoes, etc.
Omega-3 fatty acids: These fats keep hair healthy and have a role in preventing hair from becoming dry and brittle. Good sources include: tuna, salmon, mackerel, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Biotin: This is a B vitamin of importance for healthy hair. Good sources of biotin include: brewer's yeast, bulgur wheat, lentils, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and walnuts.
Zinc: Zinc is important for hair nourishment too. Good sources include: oysters, lean beef, peanut butter, turkey, and pumpkin seeds.
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