Alopecia, a medical term for hair fall or hair loss that can happen not just on the scalp of the head but anywhere on the body. The hair fall can be temporary or permanent depending on the cause (heredity, medications, age etc). Hair fall can happen in people of any gender but it is more common in men. Though hair fall is common, losing more hair than that re-grows can result in balding head or baldness.
We asked Dr. Mohan, a professor and senior plastic surgeon consulting at Flood Gates Plastic Surgery in Chennai, if hair fall is a serious issue. He replied saying “Some people are very conscious about their hair, how it looks and take care of them very well while some really don’t care. Same is with hair fall or hair loss, some are worried when they lose more hair and look for treatment options or home remedies to arrest hair fall and they even go up to hair transplant surgery. On the other side, some don’t care and they just let the hair fall and are happy even with balding head or complete baldness”.
Symptoms of alopecia
- Receding hairline or gradual thinning of hair. In men, the thinning of hair can start from the center of the head while in women; it can start with receding hairline.
- Patchy bald spots. Patchy bald spots can occur on head, eye brows or on beard. The issue may start with itching and pain and gradually one can notice complete hair loss in the area.
- Loss of hair throughout the body. Certain medications or treatments such as chemotherapy can cause hair fall/loss throughout the body. In these cases, once the medications are stopped or the treatment is complete, the hair starts growing back.
- Scaling of skin that spreads onto the scalp. This is caused due to ringworms. The scalp becomes red, swollen and sometimes may ooze pus along with loss of hair.
Irrespective of the reason, if you see that you are losing more hair than before for no good reason, you may follow hair fall remedies or see a good hair doctor near you to figure out the reason and get treated accordingly.
Causes of hair fall
Note that it is normal to lose up to 100 strands of hair every day. You may not notice this because equal amount of hair grows back. Causes of hair fall include:
- Hereditary factors – As you age, all men in your family may start losing hair. This is a hereditary condition called androgenic alopecia, male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness.
- Change of hormone levels in the body. Thyroid is a typical example for hair loss that occurs due to change of hormone levels in the body. People suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism tend to lose hair. In women, hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause can cause thinning of hair and hair fall.
- Medical conditions such as alopecia areata, an immune system related disease can cause patchy hair loss. Scalp infections and hair pulling disorder can also cause hair fall.
- Medicines and supplements. Medications administered to treat certain medical conditions can cause hair fall as a side effect. Your doctor should have informed you about the side effect.
- Radiation therapy or Chemo therapy. Radiation therapy to the head or chemotherapy to treat cancer can lead to hair loss.
- Stress can show up as any symptom in your body that you may think of. Hair may start falling after stressful events in personal or professional life.
- Funky hair styles with application of too many chemicals and hair treatments can shed the hair. The more chemicals that are applied to scalp, the easier it is to lose hair. Hair treatment involving application of heat or hot oil can lead to hair loss.
How can you prevent hair loss?
If the hair fall problem is genetic, there is hardly anything anyone can do to stop hair fall. The only solution may be visiting a hair transplant expert and getting the hair implanted in the bald regions of the head. Otherwise, you can follow the simple tips given below to keep your hair healthy.
- Always comb your hair to remove any knots and untangle it before taking a head bath.
- Apply mild shampoo with warm water when washing your hair. Strong chemicals can affect the hair follicles causing hair loss.
- Avoid hot rollers, curlers to shape your hair. You may look more beautiful at that moment but in the long run, you may not have the hair to style.
- Dry you hair naturally and untangle it with a good comb, preferably a wooden comb than a plastic comb. Using neem combs help in good hair growth.
- Application of hair oils can nourish scalp and hair follicles and can help in keeping the hair healthy.
- If any medication is causing hair fall, speak to your doctor immediately and get the prescription changed, if possible.
- Stop smoking.