Hair Growth and Hair Loss
In the cycle of normal hair growth, 90% of total hair follicles grow at one go, which lasts for 2 to 8 years, while the rest of them are already in the resting phase. This resting phase lasts for more than 2 to 4 months. When the resting phase ends, these follicles shed by giving way to the new hair follicles that replace them. This shedding of hair is referred as hair loss, which is a natural process. Shedding more than 50 strands a day is considered to be normal. The hair growth cycle of hair shedding and new hair follicles replacing the older ones, continues. A person is said to be affected by excessive hair loss if more than 100 strands of hair are shed in a day, thereby requiring immediate attention of a dermatologist. While pollution, heat, improper diet and hormonal imbalance, aging, etc., are the common reasons associated with hair fall, there are several other reasons that are discussed below.
Reasons for Hair Fall
Factors such as usage of very tight hair accessories, chronic fever, excessive usage of hair care products, excessive dieting and malnutrition, several skin disorders, etc., may lead to sudden hair fall. The serious reasons behind excessive hair fall include:
Medication and Chemicals
Excessive fear of hair loss leads a person to take ‘excessive’ care of the existing hair. This increases the usage of hair care products containing harmful chemicals. These chemicals work negatively on the hair. As a result, the hair follicles becomes weak and fall out easily.
Hereditary baldness, which is also known as androgenetic alopecia, is the prime reason behind hair loss in men and sometimes, in women as well. This disorder is inherited either from the paternal family, or the maternal family of the person. While the affected men lose almost all of their hair, women normally do not go completely bald.
Alopecia areata can be called bald spots, and is characterized by loss of hair in some places only. This disorder may affect a person of any age from children to adults and can result in total hair loss of the affected area, without leaving any rough spot. In such cases, hair regrowth is possible only after proper dermatological treatment.
Certain scalp diseases, skin disorders, and infections actually cause a lot of hair fall. The best example could be scalp ringworm, which is caused by a fungal infection. Scalp ringworm causes the scaling of the scalp skin, broken hair, swelling, itchy scalp, hair loss, redness, and oozing from the surface of the scalp. This disease is highly contagious and mostly observed amongst children.
Hair Pulling and Hair Scarring
Many people, including adults, have a tendency to pull their hair until they come out. With reasons unknown, hair pulling is said to be a coping response towards excessive stress and several other psychological problems. Hair scarring alopecia is one such hair disorder leading to patchy hair loss along with pain, inflammation, and swelling of the surface of the scalp.
Telogen effluvium is a condition that occurs when a large number of hair is in the resting phase, which leads to greater amount of hair fall. Some of the reasons for telogen effluvium include cancer treatment, low serum iron, protein deficiency, major surgery, etc. Thyroid disease, menopause, birth control pills, premenstrual syndrome, stress, etc., are the prime reasons for hair fall as far as women are concerned.
Hair falling out in a bunch and that too at any time of the day, is sure cause of concern. This needs immediate medical intervention by the dermatologist. The sooner the treatment begins, the sooner would be the recovery from the same. The hair loss could also stop naturally once some of the aforementioned situational causes are taken care of. In other cases, special treatments and therapies would be necessary.
As a part of the diagnosis, the dermatologist may suggest several medications including vitamin supplements, multivitamins, hormonal therapy like cortisone injection. Hair restoration surgery, scalp reduction treatment, hair transplant, scalp tissue expander, etc., are other solutions that the dermatologist might suggest.
A healthy, active, and stress-free lifestyle, a balanced-diet, and plenty of exercise is all that one needs to keep one’s hair healthy. It is also very important to follow a proper hair care regimen, and avoid the use of products and treatments that involve the use of harmful chemicals.