One of the most worrying aspects of hair loss treatment is the tendency of so many people to seek solutions without first determining what has caused their loss in the first place.
At best, sufferers may waste money on inappropriate 'wonder cures' or even legitimate treatments that unfortunately are not suitable for their particular needs. At worst, some people may be risking their health by self-prescribing powerful pharmaceutical drugs. I don't have a problem with hair loss sufferers saving money by purchasing cheap generic drugs on the internet, but I feel strongly that they should at least seek confirmation from their physician that a given drug matches their individual needs.
- 1 Common Causes of Hair Loss in Humans
- 1.1 Common Causes of Hair Loss in Teenage Girls
Common Causes of Hair Loss in Humans
Before examining the most common causes of premature hair loss we need to understand that some shedding of hair is perfectly normal. Hairs grow from follicles that are tiny organs in the skin designed to grow a single hair that follows this repetitive cycle:
1. Lengthy growth period (Anagen Stage) - this phase usually lasts between two and seven years with an average growth rate of six inches (15cm) each year.
2. Short transition period (Catagen Stage) - this period of transition lasts for roughly two to four weeks. During this phase the hair shaft becomes detached and moves upwards within the follicle.
3. Resting period (Telogen Stage) - this phase lasts about three months allowing the hair to detach itself prior to falling out.
At this point a new hair begins to grow thus repeating the normal cycle of hair growth. Unfortunately a number of factors can interfere with the natural hair growth process leading to forms of hair thinning or premature baldness.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss, probably accounting for as much as 95% of pattern hair loss for both men and women. It is usually associated with aging and develops in predictable stages over varying periods of time. Each follicle follows a genetically programmed growth cycle with some follicles coded to remain active for a shorter time than others. This results in the development of the hereditary baldness patterns that are so familiar to us all.
For this type of baldness to occur, the following factors must be present:
1. A genetic predisposition for hair loss to occur (as explained above).
2. The presence of male hormones.
3. Aging - in other words, enough time for the first two factors to exert an influence.
All men and women produce male hormones such as testosterone and DHT. These have a useful role to play in both sexes but obviously occur in widely differing concentrations. It is the higher levels of androgens found in males that explains why this form of hair loss affects men more than women.
In brief, these hormones affect the hair growth cycle as follows:
1. High levels of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme occur in some cells of the hair follicle and sebaceous glands.
2. 5-alpha-reductase converts testosterone into DHT.
3. DHT causes the terminal hairs to miniaturize.
4. This leaves short, soft, fluffy vellus hairs that provide inadequate scalp coverage.
5. The growth phases gradually become shorter until these hairs are lost for good.
Alopecia areata is thought to be an immune system disorder that causes follicles to stop producing hairs in patches on the head. In severe cases it can advance to the stage where all hair on the head is lost (alopecia totalis) or even a complete absence of body hair results (alopecia universalis).
In most cases the hair will reappear on its own but until then, the condition can be very distressing to sufferers particularly as its cause can be difficult to determine. If you feel you may be suffering from this form of hair loss, seek the advice of your physician who will carry out a physical examination and conduct blood tests to help determine the cause.
Telogen effluvium is characterized by a general thinning or shedding of hair over a period of months and is most commonly found in people who have recently experienced trauma. Common causes include childbirth, major surgery, severe illness, psychological stress and chemotherapy. The good news is that the abnormal growth behavior associated with telogen effluvium is temporary and reversible.
Common Causes of Hair Loss in Teenage Girls
Hair loss among teenage girls is becoming more prevalent, and it is happening at an alarming rate. Girls as young as thirteen are becoming confused and afraid as they find more strands of hair in their brush, on their pillow, in the shower and lying all over the floor. At the same time they are also noticing that there is less on their head.
Looking good and fitting in is especially important for teenage girls. Excessive shedding with a noticeable decrease in volume can be a devastating and scary experience, especially since it isn't something they ever expected. After all, who ever heard of teenage girls losing their hair for no apparent reason? Until recently it was almost unheard of.
There are several reasons for this sudden increase in teenage hair disorders. Some of the most common causes are as follows:
Hormonal changes are a common cause of hair loss in teens and adults. From the onset of puberty throughout the teenage years, girls experience dramatic hormonal fluctuations. During this time the body needs extra support. Good nutrition, vitamin supplementation, exercise, adequate sleep and ample relaxation will help ease a girl through these hormonal changes.
Teens are known to have bad eating and sleeping habits. They often prefer to spend their time socializing on the computer, leaving little if any time for fresh air and exercise. These bad habits wreak havoc on the hormonal system resulting in hormonal imbalances that can affect the entire system. These imbalances can disrupt the hair growth cycle, causing unhealthy hair growth, thinning and excessive shedding.
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
Birth control pills are often started during teenage years, creating even more hormonal changes that can affect the hair. This side effect does not happen to every girl who uses the pill. A person will not know how they will be affected until the medication has been in the system for several months.
Many teens are self-conscious about their body and will go to extreme measures to fit into size zero jeans. Extreme dieting including anorexia and bulimia are common causes of unhealthy hair growth and excessive shedding among girls.
In order to control embarrassing acne, teens are often prescribed oral retinol-based acne medication. This is a very potent prescription medication. Oral acne medications can affect hair growth in several ways. By reducing the size of the sebaceous glands, less sebum is produced. Without adequate sebum, hair becomes dry, fragile, weak and more likely to fall out or break off. This medication can also cause several nutritional imbalances that can lead to shedding, thinning or breakage.
Because of the potential side effects, teen girls using this type of medication are required to be on birth control before, during and after the course of treatment-making the possibility of hair loss even greater.
Any medication can cause hair loss, breakage and undesirable texture changes even if it is not listed as a symptom. If the teen is on medication it could be the cause of any changes in her hair.
Hair loss has been reported as a possible result of immunizations. Most reported cases involve female patients.
Pulling hair back in tight styles which is often required for cheerleaders, dance team members, etc. causes sustained pressure on the scalp and follicles. This traction can loosen the hairs from its follicular roots and cause the hair to fall out. Prolonged traction can eventually cause permanent hair loss. Girls who are required to wear these tight hair styles for competition should wear hair loosely the rest of the time and massage affected areas to restore blood circulation.
These are only a few of the many possible causes of hair loss in teenage girls. The hair growth cycle is very sensitive to changes or disturbances, so there could be many possible contributing factors.
Most of these conditions involving teenage girls can usually be improved or reversed once the problem is identified and addressed. Using natural methods such as scalp massage and aromatherapy treatments can stimulate hair growth and minimize hair loss in teenage girls.
There are numerous other less common hair loss causes that need to be discounted before a course of treatment is chosen. Traction alopecia is the loss of hair from constant pulling, usually as the result of hair styling. Broken hairs can result in thinning, often caused by excessive styling or exposure to chemicals and sun. Finally, severe illnesses or nutritional deficiencies can cause side effects that may include degrees of hair loss.
Are you slowly getting bald or losing hair very fast and worried about it?
Why men and women facing baldness or hair loss panic about losing hair but do nothing. Yes, there are plenty of options available to take care of your hair.
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