Hair loss is one of those things that we Filipinos have already accepted as a normal occurrence when we reach a certain age. This is especially true for men.
So today, we’re going to dive deep into this natural phenomenon in a human being’s life and discover if there are ways to at least slow down the process. We’ll talk about the real causes of hair loss in different degrees – from thinning to balding.
Truth is, hair loss affects not only men but also women. There are various causes of hair loss, not just natural but hereditary, hormonal, medical causes and a result of taking some medications. Hair loss happens not only in the scalp but can affect different body parts.
There are natural causes of hair fall in the human body that do not necessarily result in balding or thinning hair. It’s what we call hair shedding which happens to every single one of us every day at a rate of 100 hairs each day. This is part of the normal hair growth cycle and a hair fall or hair loss at a rate that is above this daily can be caused by something that is not merely a part of the hair growth cycle.
If you think only Filipinos and Asians are having issues with hair loss, think again. Maybe Filipinos easily accept hair loss as a fact of life that does not need to be addressed but it’s a different story in America. In fact, according to the American Hair Loss Association, people in the US spend over $3.5 billion annually to treat hair loss.
Let’s start to uncover some more facts about hair loss by starting to differentiate between hereditary hair loss and baldness.
Baldness vs Hereditary Hair Loss
When we talk about baldness, we picture a man with thin hair on the sides to no hair at all. In science, baldness refers to excessive hair loss from a person’s scalp. Although you may have mistaken one for the other, baldness is different from hereditary hair loss. The latter is just a cause of baldness, and it usually comes with age. Hereditary hair loss may or may not lead to baldness.
Hereditary hair loss is just one of the many causes of baldness, but there are some other causes like ‘alopecia’ which is the medical term for hair loss but refers to a condition where bald spots the size of a coin can appear in one’s scalp. With alopecia, bald spots can also occur in different parts of the body.
Aside from hereditary hair loss and alopecia, some medications and other illnesses can also trigger balding on the scalp and in the different parts of the body.
Shedding vs Hair Loss
Shedding is a natural phenomenon in every human being. A person sheds hair so new ones can grow in place of them. 10% of hair in a person’s scalp lies dormant while 19% continually grows. The hair that we shed is that 10% dormant hair which falls out to be replaced by newly grown hair.
As can be concluded, shedding is totally okay but can happen in above-the-normal rate when a person goes through severe stress. The difference between shedding and hair loss is that in hair loss, the follicles in which the hair fell from does not grow new hair. The spot remains vacant and in time can cause bald spots or total baldness.
Common vs Uncommon causes of hair loss
Now that we know which types of hair loss are natural and which ones are not, we’ll look deeper into its different causes which we categorized either as common or uncommon. In our previous post, we talked about hair loss causes that you can control. Some of the causes we’re sharing today may or may not be controlled.
Every day, a person needs to consume a certain amount of nutrients from the food he eats. For one reason or another, not everyone meets his or her nutritional requirement for the day. Some people who do heavy dieting or those with eating disorders usually do not get the needed amount of nutrients to sustain their normal bodily development.
In the case of our hair, growth should be sustained by the right amount of Vitamin A, B, C, D and E. One of the popular vitamins among all is the B-vitamin, biotin. The Medical News Today also says that a person needs at least 8 milligrams (mg) of zinc a day for women and 11 mg a day for men. Iron and protein are also important nutrients for hair growth.
Hair-stressing styles and treatments
Are you fond of coloring your hair or spraying products to style it the way you want? Sadly, certain hair styles, products and treatments Hairstyles that consistently use rubber bands, rollers or barrettes, or pull hair into tight styles such as cornrows, can inflame and scar hair follicles. So can incorrectly used chemical products such as dyes, bleaches, straighteners or permanent wave solutions. Depending on the degree of damage, resulting hair loss can be permanent.
We’ve talked about the number one natural cause of hair loss in men, which is ageing. The American Hair Loss Association says that male pattern baldness or the so-called androgenic alopecia causes hair follicles to naturally have a shorter life span when men advance in age. The scientific explanation behind it is that the follicles become overly sensitive to DHT or dihydrotestosterone, causing them to produce hair with a shorter life span.
Undergoing a surgery to have some hair implant placed on the scalp is one of the permanent hair loss solutions that men do all over the world. Through it, they can address the natural effect of growing old, which is hair loss.
In women, alopecia is not often brought by ageing but by highly stressful situations and major life changes like pregnancy or divorce. Birth control pills, in some cases, also increases the risk of hair loss.
The male hormone androgen contributes a lot to men and women’s hair growth. When a woman experiences hormonal imbalance, there’s a tendency to induce more hair follicles to enter a dormant state. This usually happens when a woman gets pregnant, has just given birth to a child or when she reaches the menopausal stage.
Going through an illness causes enormous stress on a person. This results to a bodily reaction where it temporarily suspends tasks that are not essential such as growing your hair. Other illnesses that trigger hair loss are lupus, hypothyroidism, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, muscular dystrophy, pituitary gland diseases, late stage of syphilis, sarcoidosis and HIV infection.