Common Types of Hair Loss
- Male- and Female-pattern baldness
- Alopecia areata
- Scarring alopecia
- Anagen effluvium
- Telogen effluvium
The most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition called hereditary hair loss. Other names for this type of hair loss are:
- Male-pattern baldness.
- Female-pattern baldness.
- Androgenetic alopecia.
Causes of Hair Loss
The reasons for hair loss are many. When hair loss begins suddenly, the cause may be due to illness, diet, medicine, or childbirth. If hair loss is gradual and becomes more noticeable with each passing year, a person may have hereditary hair loss. Certain hair care practices also can cause noticeable hair loss.
Hereditary thinning or baldness (also called androgenetic alopecia): This is the most common cause of hair loss. It affects men and women.
Alopecia Areata: This is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks its own hair. This causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. People with alopecia areata are often in excellent health. Most people see their hair re-grow.
Cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: The disease destroys a person’s hair follicles permanently. Scar tissue forms where the follicles once were, so the hair cannot re-grow. Treatment tries to stop the inflammation, which destroys the hair follicles.
The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain, or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.
Hair loss can be the first sign of an underlying medical condition.
A major surgery, high fever, severe infection, thyroid disorders, anemia, crash diet, medications, cancer or even the flu can cause hair loss. By treating the disease, hair loss often can be stopped or reversed.
Your dermatologist may call this type of hair loss telogen effluvium.
Trichotillomania : This medical disorder causes people to repeatedly pull out their own hair. They often feel a constant urge to pull out the hair on the scalp. Some sufferers say they feel compelled to pull out their eyelashes, nose hairs, eyebrows, and other hairs on their bodies.
Hormones and stress
Giving birth: After giving birth, majority of women have noticeable hair loss. The hair loss is temporary. In a few months,if women don’t see their hair re-grow, they should consult a dermatologist
Menopause: Hair loss is common during menopause. Hair re-grows with time but not expect her hair to have the fullness that it did when she was younger. This hair loss is treatable.
Stress: Experiencing a traumatic event (e.g., death of a loved one or divorce), depression can cause hair loss.
Dieting and poor nutrition
Weight loss: The hair loss often appears 3 to 6 months after losing the weight.
Some prescription medicines can cause hair loss. These include:
- Blood thinners.
- High-dose vitamin A.
- Medicines that treat arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
- Birth control pills.
- Anabolic steroids (steroids taken to build muscle and improve athletic performance) may cause hair loss.
Your hairstyle and even some of the products you use on your hair can cause hair loss.Frequent bleaching or colouring can cause the hair to break. Regular or improper use of dyes, gels, relaxers, and hair sprays also can cause hair breakage.
Frequent use of a blow dryer tends to damage hair. The high heat from a blow dryer can boil the water in the hair shaft leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. We recommend that you allow your hair to air dry.
When used to hold hair tightly, hairpins, clips, and rubber bands can break hair.
Here are tips for choosing these:
- Hair clips: These should have spongy rubber padding where they touch the hair.
- Hairpins: Use hairpins that have a smooth, ball-tipped surface.
- Rubber bands: Try scrunchies made of fabric instead. Rubber bands often cause the hair to break. Scrunchies should fit loosely.
The following practices often cause the hair to break:
- Hair breaks off more easily when wet than dry hair.
- Too much shampooing, combing, or brushing.
- Rubbing wet hair dry with a towel.
- Brushing or combing wet hair.
Hair shaft disorders – These are a group of disorders in which shaft of hair is defective so breaks off easily. Hair shaft defects may be due to genetic abnormality or external injury.
Hair shaft defects may result in:
- No visible hair abnormality
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Coarse or frizzy hair
- Uncombable hair – when disordered hair bundles grow in all directions and cannot be arranged by combing
- Fragile hair – hair shafts with reduced tensile strength. A gentle pull of several hair shafts will help determine if the hair roots are abnormally fragile.