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What Causes Hair Loss?

July 14, 2011 on 7:24 pm | In causes of hair loss | No Comments

Losing from about 50 to 100 hair strands a day is normal. But when too much is lost, say about 200 hair strands a day, then the question what causes hair loss becomes a topical one. Therefore, you should consider the following possible causes for you to be informed.

What causes hair loss

Heredity
Most often, hair loss is hereditary. It may be by the genetics of both mother and father or either one of them that you inherited their baldness. You may also have relatives that are bald and that’s why you have excessive hair loss. This hereditary hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia.

Iron deficiency
People who don’t have enough iron or people who are anemic are likely to have excessive hair loss. This can be prevented by taking iron pills and foods that are good sources of iron such as pumpkin seeds, soybeans, white beans, spinach, oysters, clams and other organ meats.

Hormones
Hormones somehow contribute as the biggest factor on hair loss causes. Hormones stimulate both hair shedding as well as hair growth. They may cause thinning through the head caused by a certain androgen called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). When a person has a lot of androgen receptors in his/her hair follicles, DHT can attach to it causing more hair falling out.

Childbirth
A lot of women after giving birth to a child often wonder what causes hair loss in them. In two or three months after delivering a child, most women experience loss of hair after combing and stroking their hair. This can actually last up to six long months but will eventually return to its normal state. After a woman recovers from childbirth, positive hormonal changes usually occur in nearly all cases preventing hair from falling out further.

Thyroid disease
An overactive and underactive thyroid is one of the wide-spread causes of hair loss.

Drugs
Taking some medications may have side effects of hair shedding too. Some of these drugs include medicines for arthritis, gout, Parkinson’s disease, blood pressure, heart problems, depression, blood thinner and many others.

Cancer treatments
Undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapeutic medications will effect to hair loss too since it cause hair cells to stop from dividing. A few weeks after being treated, 90% of hair strands slowly become thin and easily break.

Major surgery or illness
Shedding of hair may occur after a body system’s shock due to major surgery or illness.

Fungus infection on the scalp
Infection such as ringworm which is a contagious fungal infection causes balding in most young children. Small patches with scaling like dandruffs are signs of a ringworm infection.

Stress
Stress, may it be mental or physical, is another factor that causes hair loss from about 3 months after the stressful event. Fortunately, this is only temporary. In most cases normal hair growth happens after recovering from stress.

Excess vitamin A
Too much vitamin A in the body can result in rapid hair shedding too.

Low protein intake
When a human body doesn’t get enough proteins that it needs, it allows hair to be in resting phase and prevents it from growing.

Some other causes include:

  • Weight loss
  • Severe flu and fever
  • Vigorous grooming
  • Eating disorders
  • Hair cosmetics such as frequent bleaching, abusive use of gels, dyes, sprays and other cosmetic hair products.
  • Menopause
  • Aging
  • Hair styling such as blow drying, brushing and shampooing.

When you notice excessive loss of hair and you don’t know what to do, you might as well consult a hair specialist to attend to your needs, to figure out what causes hair loss and choose the appropriate treatment.

Images taken from: www.sxc.hu/photo/747399, www.sxc.hu/photo/710059

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Hair Loss in Autumn: Is It Normal?

October 10, 2010 on 5:48 pm | In causes of hair loss | 2 Comments

The fall is in full bloom. The beauty of October pleases the eye: the trees are golden, the sky is particularly saturated, and the sunsets are most magnificent. Nature is getting ready for hibernation to revive in spring. But it’s not just nature that is transferring into a new period. Hair growth is also periodical. As a matter of fact, each hair goes through a cycle of three stages. They are:
Hair loss in autumn

  1. Anagen. It is the stage of growth that is characterized by hair cells dividing and growing rapidly. Normally hair grows about 1 cm every month during anagen. It usually lasts from 2 to 4 years or even longer.
  2. Catagen. It is the transitional stage of involution. It follows anagen and marks the end of the active hair growth. It usually takes from 2 to 3 weeks for hair to pass through catagen.
  3. Telogen. It is the stage of rest that, just as catagen, lasts 2-3 weeks. It’s characterized by fully keratinized club hair that no longer grows and is in fact dead. All hair follicles may not be in the same stage at the same time but proportionally about 15 percent of hair follicles are usually in telogen.

After telogen the cycle returns to the anagen stage producing new hair and resulting in 50-100 old hairs coming out on a daily basis what’s considered to be perfectly normal.

In autumn many people notice loss of extra hair. Obviously, a question arises whether it can be considered perfectly normal. The answer lies in seasonal hair loss cycles that are typical not only of human beings but of all mammals in general. We belong to the mammalian world and, as all mammals do, we tend to replace our “summer coats” for winter what results in autumnal shedding.

Autumn hair lossIt’s not very clear yet why and how it happens, but among the potential regulators of extra hair loss in autumn is melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain which is responsible for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythms. Melatonin is secreted in darkness and its production is inhibited by light. As far as there is a gradual reduction in daylight hours in autumn, it consequently increases melatonin levels in human body what in turn promotes seasonal hair shedding and the onset of the winter anagen stage.

Although there is loss of extra hair in autumn, the number of hairs lost daily doesn’t usually exceed the limit of 100 hairs. Moreover, seasonal shedding comes and goes pretty quickly (2-3 weeks of telogen). Of course, it is more obvious to those with long and thick hair, as well as to natural “heavy shedders”, but some people may even not notice anything to worry about. In any case autumnal hair loss is perfectly normal. Think of it as of leaves falling down from the trees. And new ones will come out and put forth soon.

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10 Myths about Hair Loss in Men

September 21, 2010 on 5:40 am | In causes of hair loss | 5 Comments

Thinning hair and hair loss is something that a great number of men face sooner or later. No wonder, popular problems give birth to popular myths. The following list does not only consider causes of male hair loss but also represents the average man’s opinion and attitude to the problem. Some statements are humorous and could not be taken seriously – just as the myths themselves.

Myth 1: Hair loss often results from wearing tight caps and hats.

There is a widespread opinion that those men who wear headgear all the time are subjected to hair loss. It is explained by the fact that hair follicles don’t get enough oxygen in this case. Well, in reality the scalp receives most of oxygen from the blood flow. How many professional sportsmen that have to wear helmets, caps, hats, etc. can you remember going bald? Still overdoing with headgear certainly deteriorates hair condition, but it’s not connected with hair loss directly.

Myth 2: Steroids have nothing to do with baldness.

Many men who are into bodybuilding and other related sports tend to believe in that. In reality, the situation is contrary to that. Anabolic steroids that include sex hormone testosterone aggravate male pattern baldness in those men who are subjected to it. The thing is that testosterone converts into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which gradually shrinks and closes hair follicles. More testosterone = more DHT = less hair.

Myth 3: Baldness comes from the mother’s family line.

There is an assumption that kids inherit hair loss genes from their moms. Does it mean that men tend to blame their mothers for this misfortune? Well, there’s pretty much scientific ground proving that baldness can be passed on to you from your dad as well. Still this mother-blaming myth continues to live on.

Myth 4: Cutting your hair may increase hair growth.

Some people think that hair is thicker closer to the root than it is at the ends. Thus, when you cut your hair short it appears thicker. Of course, most men prefer a short haircut, but it does not affect hair growth at all.

Myth 5: Shampoos give you more hair.

Certainly, there are some hair products including shampoos that can make your hair look fuller and thicker. But obviously, they don’t give you more real hair. They give you the feeling and immediate effect is what we need, right?

Myth 6: Scalp massage can prevent hair loss.

Well, it’s true but only partly. Scalp massage stimulate blood circulation helping your hair follicles get necessary nutrients and oxygen from the blood flow. Thus, it will prevent hair loss only when it’s caused by the lack of the latter. Unfortunately, scalp massage will be of no use when hair loss is hereditary, hormonal, disease- and toxin-related, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make scalp massage less pleasant (especially when performed by a close and dear person).

Myth 7: Blow drying and excessive washing lead to hair loss.

Not exactly. While overdoing with these procedures, as well as with bleaching and color treatment, you can damage your existing hair so that it will look fragile and lifeless. But hair roots and follicles will remain safe, thus, hair loss is out of the question here. By the way, too few men have been spotted while washing their hair excessively, to say nothing of blow drying and bleaching.

Myth 8: Hair loss can be caused by sun exposure.

One must remember that hair loss occurs at the follicle level. Since it’s rather difficult for the sun rays to get to your hair follicles (and it is especially difficult if you are fond of caps, hats and helmets), technically, the sun can not be the main cause of hair loss.

Myth 9: Combing your hair is less harmful than brushing it.

Show me the man who cares much about it. Just as it goes with scalp massage, both combing and brushing should be done carefully to avoid hair damage, splitting ends, hair broken, twisted or pulled out. Malekind is a strong and hard part of the world, but there’s no need to be too hard in this particular case.

Myth 10: Diet is not related to hair loss.

But it is. Many men are just careless about what they eat and, consequently, can’t make any logical connection between what they don’t care about with what they start caring about (meaning receding hair line, thinning hair, loss of popularity among women… more to follow). But our hair always needs proper nutrition and the saying that your hair is what you eat is not an exaggeration.

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Hair Loss in Spring and Detox – Part 2

May 24, 2010 on 9:20 pm | In causes of hair loss | 1 Comment

Toxins accumulated throughout winter can seriously aggravate hair loss in spring. The threat comes both from inside and outside, as there are two main ways toxic substances enter the body: orally and transdermally (i.e. through the skin). As far as the question of toxin buildup through our nutrition was covered in detail in the first part of the article, this time we will focus solely on environmental toxins.

Many people wonder if there is something in the city air in winter that makes their hair weak, lifeless and brittle and slows down its growth. In fact, their worries and fears have strong grounds – the air in winter is particularly polluted with harmful toxins and carcinogenic substances.

Keratin is a fibrous protein that is the basic component of hair structure. It has been discovered that keratin molecules can be easily damaged if exposed to toxic substances contained in the air. That is why our hair gains such an unhealthy look and poor condition throughout winter.

Moreover, environmental toxins can get right into scalp follicles destroying follicle tissues and hair cells. As a result, it can slow down hair growth significantly and even provoke rapid hair loss. By the way, the examination has shown that a great number of balding people have toxins and chemicals contained in the scalp.

So, how can we free our scalp and hair from environmental toxic substances accumulated throughout winter? First of all it is useful to do a simple examination to make sure whether there are harmful toxins in your scalp follicles and around your hair roots. All you need to do is to grab your head skin with your thumb and index finger in different parts of your head: on the crown, nape, temples, etc. If the skin is easily pinched, this is a good sign – it means that it doesn’t not contain a large amount of toxins and that blood circulation in the scalp is normal. But if you experience difficulty trying to pinch different parts of your scalp with your thumbs and index fingers, this is bad news. Your hair follicles have probably accumulated toxins and chemicals from the polluted air and, thus, they poison your scalp, hinder blood circulation and make your head skin stiff. In this case it’s high time to start thinking seriously of detox.

To eliminate toxic substances from your scalp do the following simple exercise on a daily basis. Put one hand on top of the other. Pull the phalanges towards the palms pinching your scalp tight for about half a minute. Apply this exercise to different parts of your head until you cover the whole of it. To dilatate the blood vessels and make your scalp less stiff it is quite useful to wrap your head with a warm wet towel and keep it for several minutes prior to pinching.

And don’t forget that apart from this type of scalp massage it is important to stick to the detox diet – it’s far more effective to fight the problem both from inside and outside.

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Hair Loss in Spring and Detox – Part 1

April 22, 2010 on 8:37 pm | In causes of hair loss | 2 Comments

Many people note that their hair starts falling out more than usual in spring. The process of intense shedding usually goes on for several months. For those who are very particular about the way they look and especially about their hair condition such experience is very frustrating. They desperately seek for help in doctors and all kinds of available hair loss treatments hoping to change the situation to the better. But when it gets obvious that nothing really helps, it’s time for more stress, sadness and frustration… In spring when everything comes to life…

What must be said is that there’s no need to dramatize. According to the theory of seasonal hair loss this process is quite normal. If your hair sheds more than usual in spring, it is happens because your physiological clock works this way and that’s it. Take a look on animals – they cast their coat every fall and spring and no one gets frustrated. Seasonal hair loss in human beings goes according to laws of nature as well. And there is not much you can do about it.

Yet there is something that can seriously aggravate hair shedding in the beginning of the season. We are speaking about toxins and other harmful substances. They alone can pose a serious threat to the hair and cause hair loss.  Therefor, being accumulated over winter they can significantly increase natural hair loss in spring. Still, in comparison with our physiological clock which we can’t do anything about, to detox your body is fully in your hands.

As a matter of fact, the greatest amount of toxins get in our bodies with the things we put into our mouths, i.e. orally. In winter our nutrition is often far from being healthy. We may suffer from lack of minerals and vitamins that are contained in fresh fruit and vegetables. We have to stick to manufactured foods and that makes toxins contained in them get slowly accumulated in us. And even those natural products that we may buy in the store at this time of the year are usually grown in artificial conditions and often with the use of chemical fertilizers, so they are never 100% free from nitrates and other harmful substances.

We often get sick in winter and, therefore, have to take different drugs and medications to prevent typical winter diseases and to cure them. But using all these medications we rarely ponder over the fact that apart from the healing effect they also gradually intoxicate us. All chemical and synthetic treatments that we take in winter have side effects and when combined, certain drugs and medications may lead to a very adverse result when our body is overfilled with acids and toxins. All this can make a real big contribution to the seasonal hair loss that starts in spring.

What can be possibly done about this sad situation? Well, there is a simple rule here: always keep watching what you eat. To eliminate toxic substances from your body eat more fresh fruits, salads and vegetables. There was no such opportunity in winter, so take the advantage of it in spring. It’s preferable to eat them raw for better effect. These products not only supply your organism with vital nutrients, but also serve as effective natural cleaners, they detox your body and and boost your immune system.

To neutralize and eliminate acids from your organism give preference to alkalizing natural products (vs. acidifying). Consume more cheese, milk, yoghurt, eggs, nuts, vegetable oil. These products will not only neutralize harmful acids but also nourish your hair with protein that is very essential for its fast growth. Green tea is an amazing natural deacidifier, to say nothing of its DHT inhibiting properties. There are also special deacidifying and detoxifying nutritional supplements available over the counter today, but it’s better to discuss whether to use them or not with your doctor. It can be very helpful to see a nutritionist to measure your vitamins, minerals, acids and alkali levels and  develop a thorough detox diet accordingly.

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