Hair Loss (Alopecia)

When the immune system targets hair follicles, it develops a disorder called alopecia areata, which results in hair loss. The components of skin called hair follicles produce hair. Even though any portion of the body can experience hair loss, the head and face are most frequently impacted by alopecia areata. However, in certain situations, hair loss is more severe. Normally, hair falls out in tiny, circular patches about the size of a quarter. Most sufferers of the condition are in good health and don't exhibit any other symptoms.

Alopecia areata develops differently in every individual. While some people only have one episode of hair loss, others experience it on and off throughout their lives with a higher frequency in men than in women1

Symptoms of Hair Loss (Alopecia):

The manifestation of hair loss can take on a variety of forms depending on what is causing it. It might start off abruptly or gradually, and it can simply affect your scalp or the whole body. Following are some possible indications and symptoms of hair loss:

  • Gradually thinning: This type of hair loss occurs more frequently as people age. Hair typically starts to recede in males at the hairline on the forehead. The hair portions of women are often wider than those of males. Age-related hair loss in older women is more common and is characterized by a receding hairline (facial fibrosing alopecia).

  • Some people experience baldness as patches or circles on their heads, beards, or brows. Before the hair starts to come out, your skin may feel unpleasant or scratchy.

  • Hair suddenly becomes looser: Hair can become loose as a result of trauma, whether it be physical or emotional. If you brush your hair, wash it, or even simply gently pull at it, you could lose a few handfuls of hair. This form of hair loss, however transient, typically results in a general thinning of the hair.

  • Hair loss all over the body is a side effect of several diseases and medical procedures, such as chemotherapy for cancer. Hair typically grows back.

  • A ringworm symptom2 is scaling that occurs as broad spots all over the scalp. Redness, swelling, broken hair, and rarely leakage may also be present.

Causes of Hair Loss (Alopecia)

A person typically loses 50–100 hairs per day. Due to the concurrent growth of new hair, it is typical for this to be unnoticed. If the lost hair is not replaced by any new hair, hair loss will result. Usually, one or more of the following factors contribute to hair loss:

  • Heredity3: An inherited disorder that becomes worse with age is the most frequent cause of hair loss. This disorder is also known as androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness, and female-pattern baldness. Women frequently experience hair thinning at the top of the head, while men frequently have bald spots and a receding hairline. It frequently occurs over time and in regular ways.

  • Medical disorders and changes in hormone levels: The hormonal changes4 brought on by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid issues are just a few of the situations that can result in permanent or temporary hair loss. Alopecia areata, an immune system-related illness that results in patchy hair loss, ringworm on the scalp, and trichotillomania, a condition that makes people pull their hair out excessively, are just a few examples of medical problems. 

  • Medications5: A side effect of some medications, including those for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart issues, gout, and high blood pressure, is hair loss.

  • Radiation therapy6 for the head: The likelihood that the hair will grow back differently is present.

  • Trauma or stress: Many people detect a general thinning of their hair several months after experiencing physical or emotional stress. Hair loss of this kind is temporary.

  • Hairstyles and treatments: A kind of hair loss known as traction alopecia is brought on by over-styling or tight-pulling hairstyles like pigtails or cornrows. Hair thinning can also be exacerbated by hot oil treatments and permanent hair coloring. If scarring occurs, hair loss could end up being permanent.

Hair Loss (Alopecia) Treatment: 

Effective treatments are available for certain types of hair loss. You might be able to completely stop hair loss or at least significantly slow it down. In some circumstances, like the patchy hair loss condition alopecia areata, hair may regrow if left untreated after a year. There are two ways to cure hair loss: medication and surgery.

  • Medication

    A pharmaceutical regimen can be used to treat pattern (hereditary) baldness. The most preferred option is minoxidil7. The forms of minoxidil include liquid, foam, and shampoo. For maximum results, apply the cream twice daily for men and once daily for women on the scalp skin. Foam that is applied to damp hair is popular. You can benefit from Regaine® products for hair loss and hair regrowth. Regaine® products include active ingredients that have been clinically tested and proven to promote hair growth and limit hair loss. Numerous people use minoxidil-containing treatments to either regrow hair, slow down the rate of hair loss, or do both. Therapy must last for at least six months in order to stop further hair loss and start hair regrowth. It may require a few more months before you can tell whether the treatment is working for you. Even if the drug is working, you still need to take it regularly to keep getting the advantages.

  • Hair Transplant Surgery 

    The most common kind of permanent hair loss only affects the top of the head. Hair restoration or transplant surgery can help you make the most of the hair you still have. In a hair transplant procedure, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon removes hair from a hair-bearing part of the head and transplants it to a bald spot. One to several hairs is present in each micrograft or mini graft hair patch8.

  • Lifestyle Adjustments 

    Try out different hair care methods until you find one that makes you feel better about the way you appear. For example, use volumizing styling products, color your hair, or choose a hairstyle that covers a widening part. Use wigs or extensions, or shave your head. For ideas, talk to a hairstylist. These techniques can be used to address hair loss that is both temporary and permanent.

In conclusion, hair loss can be psychologically distressing9. However, in most cases, certain treatment plans and lifestyle changes can help you restore the lost hair. Remember to invest in quality hair care products and be kind to your hair.