Millions of people face the hair loss problem every year; some people regain back their hair without any treatment while others continue to lose their hair even as they use various treatments. When faced with alopecia, the first thing you must do is see a dermatologist in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
Hair diseases are the main cause of alopecia. Hair disorders can affect the scalp hair and or the entire body hair. Some common factors that play a role in hair loss are hormonal changes, medication, skin diseases, and genetic reasons.
What are the causes of hair loss?
There are many reasons why people lose hair Sudden hair loss is caused by strict diet, diseases, medication or birth. Slow progressive hair loss is caused by more hereditary reasons. However, bad hair care techniques can also play a role in losing hair.
Hair loss caused by hair diseases
- Genetic baldness in men and women (androgenetic alopecia, AGA, FAGE): While genetic baldness in men is highly recognizable by its shape, with female pattern the hairline protects itself but shedding is common and can be easily confused with other causes of alopecia.
- Alopecia Areata: This is an autoimmune disease which is commonly confused with ringworm. In fact, it is a condition where the body attacks the hair follicles itself. Round, coin-shaped patches of hair shedding can be seen on the whole body.
- Cicatricial Alopecia (Scarring Alopecia): This is a a rare cause of permanent loss of hair. This disease damages the hair follicles directly. The treatment involves suppressing the inflammation, reducing the damage of the hair follicle hence avoiding development of larger scar.
Hair loss due to illness
- Diseases – Alopecia may be the first symptom of certain diseases; thyroid dysfunction, anemia, vitamin deficiencies are among the most common causes.
- Cancer treatment – radiation and chemotherapy.
- Scalp fungus – If not well treated, it can cause permanent loss of hair.
- Psychiatric disorders – hair-pulling disorder.
Hormones and stress related causes
- After birth hair thinning.
- During menopause.
- Stress – specific factors that develop stress can cause shedding of hair.
Diet and feeding habits related causes
- Weight loss.
- Increase of some vitamin levels can accelerate alopecia.
- Deficiency in protein intake.
- Psychological eating disorders.
Loss of hair due to medication
- Blood thinners.
- Some Vitamins.
- Blood pressure, gout, depression and heart medication.
- Birth control pills.
- Anabolic steroids.
Hair loss due to hair care and hair products
- Improper dyes, bleaches, straighteners can cause hair breakage. They must be assessed by dermatoscopic examination.
- Hair attachments, buckles and clips.
- Trauma from hair styles can cause shedding of hair.
- Improper hair washing, combing and drying can result in loss of hair.