What is considered a normal hair loss and growth cycle?
The normal growth cycle for hair is about two to three years in duration. During this cycle the average hair grows approximately one centimeter per month. Typically 90% of the hair on your head is growing at any given moment. The remaining 10% is in a resting phase. The resting hair typically falls out within three to four months and a brand new strand of hair begins to take its place.
It’s quite acceptable for a portion of the hair to fall out on a daily basis as a result of this cycle, however some individuals may encounter unusual amounts of hair loss. This kind of hair loss can affect both males and females and even children.
What are the main causes of excessive hair loss?
Several things can contribute to excessive loss of hair. For example, after having major surgery people may often see a sudden increase in hair loss some three to four months after the operation. A increased level of stress could be the underlying cause of this kind of hair loss and is generally temporary in nature.
Certain hormonal issues can also be tied to hair loss. If your thyroid gland is not regulating itself properly you could suffer hair loss. Treatment of the thyroid imbalance can usually result in a return to normal hair growth. In addition, the imbalance of male and female hormones, called androgens and estrogens can lead to loss of hair. Attempts at correcting a thyroid gland imbalance may also stop the loss of hair.
A number of females encounter loss of hair around three months after having a child. This is another example of hormonal hair loss. Excessive amounts of certain hormones in a woman’s body during pregnancy can cause the body to retain the hair that under normal cycles of shedding and growth would ordinarily fall out. At the time these hormones return to the level before pregnancy hair loss can occur until the regular pattern of growth and loss begins again.
Certain prescription medications can also cause loss of hair. At the time a person ceases taking the drug this type of hair loss frequently subsides. Drugs that can cause loss of hair include blood thinning medicines, (anticoagulants), medication used to treat blood pressure or heart conditions, birth control drugs, antidepressants, medication for gout and vitamin A supplements.
Loss of hair can also be caused by infections from within the body. For example, many children are susceptible to hair loss from scalp infections stemming from a fungus. This condition can be easily treated by anti-fungal medications. Finally, the loss of hair may also indicate a more serious medical condition such as diabetes or lupus. Finding the exact cause of hair loss is critical so that these diseases can be treated as soon they are discovered should they be the underlying reason for your hair loss.
Can loss of hair be caused by certain hairstyles or hair products?
Certainly. A particular kind of hair loss known as traction alopecia can be caused by hairstyles such as pigtails, corn rows, or by using tight hair rollers. This is due to the constant pulling of the hair along the scalp. If the pulling action is stopped before a scarring condition develops, this kind of hair loss can be reversed. Once scarring occurs, permanent loss of hair can result.
Loss of hair can also occur when the hair follicle becoming inflamed due to residues left behind by hot oil treatments or the effects of chemical treatments such as perms or relaxers.
I’ve heard the term “common baldness”. What does that mean?
The term common baldness is generally used to describe conditions of permanent-pattern baldness or male-pattern baldness. It may also be referred to as androgenetic alopecia. For males, this is the most frequent cause of hair loss. Men who suffer from this condition frequently inherit a genetic predisposition for the onset of common baldness as they age. When males start losing their hair early in life they are prone to developing a receding hairline and baldness surrounding the crown of the head. Some women can also develop a condition known as female-pattern baldness. This condition is different in that the thinning of the hair is disbursed over the entire head.
Can I prevent or stop loss of hair by visiting a doctor?
It may be possible. A physician will take an initial assessment. Depending on your general health, diet, medications or supplements you are taking, medical problems you have recently experienced and your hair care regimen, they can choose a course of action.
If you are female they may also inquire about the regularity of your menstruation, difficulties with pregnancies or menopausal conditions. A physician may recommend a blood test or will perform a scalp biopsy and comprehensive physical examination to determine what may be causing your loss of hair.
What kinds of hair loss treatments are effective?
Depending on the type of hair loss certain treatments are feasible. If loss of hair is being caused by the taking of certain medication your physician might try altering the dosage or switching to another medication. If the hair loss is is caused by an infection, targeted treatment of the infection can help to stop the loss of hair.
Adjusting the balance of hormone levels in the body can also reduce additional loss of hair. Certain medications can prevent or slow down the advance of common baldness. A commonly used topical medication, Rogaine, is available without a doctor’s prescription as an over the counter treatment. This compound, applied directly to the scalp, can be used by both men and women. Another medication, available without prescription is Finasteride which comes in a pill form. This can only be taken by men. For both of these options a treatment period of six months may be required before any results show whether or not the process is working.
Should your hair fail to respond to any of the above treatments, you can explore an alternative approach, for example changing your hairstyle, purchasing a wig or hairpiece or opting for a treatment such as the ground-breaking ITHL™ Method that we have developed as a response to hair loss and thinning hair here at RAZ INTERNATIONAL INC.