Hair Loss – Causes and Treatment [Simplified Guide]

Scalp hair loss is also called ALOPECIA which may be temporary or permanent.

Hair loss is a common problem. There are numerous causes of alopecia. But before discussing the causes of hair loss, it would be a good idea to understand some basics.

What is the difference between Hair Loss and Hair Fall?

Hair Fall is Temporary hair loss: Hair falls off, but the roots remain intact. Like in the case of a severe illness, malnutrition, anaemia, drugs like anti-cancer therapy etc. These are reversible causes, and the hair grows back once they are treated.

Hereditary hair loss is Permanent hair-loss: It occurs when the hair roots also disappear. Permanent hair loss is something to worry about because the treatment has to be started early; otherwise, the hair will be lost forever.

The most common cause of permanent hair loss is Hereditary Androgenic Alopecia, commonly called as MALE PATTERN BALDNESS (MPB) among men. In MPB hair is lost at the front, sides and crown region (i.e. the top of the head).

Women are usually affected with Female Pattern Baldness, where there is diffuse hair loss throughout the frontal scalp region.

 

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All hair goes through a cycle of growth and fall.

Anagen Phase: During the first phase, they grow for 3 to 7 years. It is called the Growth phase or Anagen phase.

Catagen Phase: During the second phase, the hair gradually thin out and fall this is the Catagen phase and lasts for around three weeks.

Telogen Phase: This phase is also known as the resting or sleeping phase. It lasts for three months, and then the cycle is repeated. At a time, around 10% to 20% of hair is in the sleeping period. A few hairs are shed Daily and go into the sleeping phase while a few hair-roots wake up and begin making hair again.

It is normal to see 20 to 50 hair fall in a day and should not be of much concern. 

Factors causing Temporary Hair Loss or Hair Fall

Hair fall is rather elementary to understand. Our hair is a part of our body. The health of the hair and health of the body are typically related.

So, in a nutshell, all those factors that deplete the nutritional reserves of our body or divert the nutritional support away from the hair will eventually result in hair fall. 

Nutrition

Poor nutrition causes protein and vitamin deficiencies. Hair is made up of proteins and vitamins and minerals help the enzymes to make these proteins so it is only logical that proper nutrition is most important for hair growth. 

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Disease

Severe illness of the heart, kidneys and liver, anaemia, drugs like anti-cancer therapy etc. cause temporary hair loss. These are reversible causes and the hair grow back once they are treated. 

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Genetic Makeup

Some people have sparse hair or thin hair that is determined by the genetic makeup.

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Smoking

Smoking accelerates the natural ageing process by restricting the blood flow to the skin. This, in turn, decreases collagen and elastin fibres resulting in loose, wrinkled skin and also hair loss. 

Anxiety and stress

Strong emotional states are associated with increased catecholamine levels in the body which cause systemic changes resulting in hair loss. 

Factors causing Permanent Hair Loss

Hereditary [Androgenic Alopecia]

Recent scientific research suggests that in both males and females, hair loss has a strong genetic basis along with the role of hormones. The male hormone Testosterone gets converted to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It interacts with the susceptible hair follicle in people who are affected by the gene and causes programmed cell death (apoptosis) resulting in permanent hair loss.  

Invasive infections of the scalp

It is only logical to assume that all disease processes that damage the skin permanently will also result in permanent hair loss. The hair is a part of the skin. Some serious infections encompass the entire scalp such as invasive Fungal infections or cellulitis. 

Dr. Vishal Purohit

Dr. Vishal Purohit

Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon

Ranu Yadav

Ranu Yadav

Cosmetologist

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Hair Loss Treatment – Prevent hair fall and regrow hair.

There are many reasons for hair fall. Some result in temporary hair loss while others cause a permanent hair loss. There are two simple steps which one can follow to control hair fall everything else is just a waste of time.

Visit a specialist Doctor: It is good to know the basics of Hair Fall and Hair Growth, but our first advice would be to consult with a specialist immediately. Let the doctors do their job; they are far more qualified to deal with medical problems.

Take Care of your Nutrition: Hair needs all the proper nutrition that your body also needs to be healthy. Most of the times, a healthy body will have healthy hair. A typical example we have seen in our practice is a person coming to us with sudden hair fall problem. As soon as we elaborate on the history, we find out that the person has been on unmonitored fasting to reduce weight. A nutritional deficiency will cause hair to fall.

Medical Treatment of Hair Loss (Permanent Hair Loss)

Even after extensive research, there are only two group of medicines which are FDA approved and work in hair-loss, Minoxidil, which is available for local application, and Finasteride which is available as a pill. 

Both have a different and complicated mechanism of action but a simplification would be that they stop or prevent DHT from acting upon the hair follicle/ roots. 

So as they start working they make the hair thick again, in newly balded areas where the hair root may still be present inside they make the hair grow back again and they keep the present hair intact.
These medicines don’t work equally in all the people. They may work very well in some and not at all in others. 

There is no way of knowing whether they will work or not in a person in advance. They don’t work equally in all the areas of the scalp. 

Finasteride interferes with hormonal metabolism inside the body so it is usually not used for women. 

Since the body continuously produces hormones and the genetic makeup cannot be changed, if the medicines are working, one has to use them indefinitely. If the medication is stopped the effect will go away and hair-loss will begin again. So far this is the only solution to hold back the hair that is about to fall.

Faq’s

CAN HOME REMEDIES CURE BALDNESS?

A healthy diet can efficiently manage hair loss due to nutritional deficiencies. Hair is a part of our body and as such, require the same nutrition. So, if  home remedies include a healthy diet then yes they will help to cure hair loss

However, if your hair loss is genetic, then home remedies may not be sufficient. Just remember that time is of the essence. We try to preserve as much hair as possible via medical treatment. Any time lost experimenting with home remedies would mean that the hair roots would disappear and the hair lost forever. 

HOW TO MAKE THIN HAIR THICKER?

There are many causes of hair thinning, and so the first step would be to visit your hair doctor. Best practices would include:

  • Reduce daily stress. Primarily when it results in poor nutrition.
  • Ensure that you are not suffering from any illness such as thyroid disorder or iron deficiency anaemia. Consult with your physician as early as possible.
  • Start medical treatment, as suggested by your hair specialist doctor. 

HOW DO I STOP HAIR LOSS NATURALLY?

Eat well, sleep well and exercise well. This simple mantra will keep your body and hair healthy. As long as you don’t have genetic hair loss, a healthy diet will take care of all the hair problems.

DOES DANDRUFF CAUSE HAIR LOSS?

False, Dandruff is the white coloured flakes that are sometimes found sticking to the hair. They fall on your dress over your shoulder and don’t look pretty.

The superficial layers of our skin are shed daily all over the body. The hair on the scalp prevents them from falling off completely. Subsequently, a fungus finds its home over the dead cells. So, in short, dandruff is a mix of dead cells and a few fungi and bacteria. The fungi only grow on dead cells and do not infect the skin.

Dandruff does not cause hair fall but can cause itching. 

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