Hair Loss Facts
What Causes Hair Loss?
It is a very common occurrence for men to lose their hair with age, and sometimes the process can begin as early as the teenage years. While some men accept it, others seek treatment.
Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenic alopecia) is the most common type of hair loss. It is caused by increased sensitivity to male sex hormones (androgens) in certain parts of the scalp, and is passed on from generation to generation.
While Androgenetic alopecia is a common cause of hair loss, quite a bit of other factors that need to be considered play their part as well.
1. Normal variation. A hair's natural cycle is for it to grow for several years, then fall out and be replaced. This means that at any given time, some hairs are always in the process of falling out while others are starting to grow in. Thus, it is completely normal to notice hair coming out with combing, brushing, shampooing, toweling or otherwise rubbing the scalp, as long as it is not in an alarming rate or quantity. Sometimes this natural hair loss may temporarily exceed new growth, which may cause undue alarm about possible baldness. One of the first questions we ask our clients to ask themselves about hair loss is whether their hair is truly getting thinner, or are they just noticing more normal shedding than usual. The latter situation may not require any treatment at all.
2. Hormonal abnormalities. A variety of hormonal problems are known to contribute to hair loss. Too much or too little thyroid hormone is a common cause of generalized thinning or loss of scalp hair. This is usually easily diagnosed with a simple blood test. Elevated testosterone tends to cause loss of scalp hair and promote growth of facial and body hair. High levels of insulin, often found in people with diabetes, can also cause hair loss. In women with polycystic ovary syndrome, there are elevations of both testosterone and insulin.
3. Scalp inflammation. Several inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, seborrhea, and psoriasis, cause patches of hair loss with red and scaly skin underneath. Fungal scalp infections (also called ringworm) and bacterial infections of the hair roots (folliculitis) can also cause similar problems. Patches of hair loss without underlying redness may be due to an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata.
4. Local trauma. Tight hair bands or cornrows can cause thinning simply by breaking off the hairs at their base. Some chemical hair treatments damage the follicles or the hair itself. Insects that attack the hair (like lice or scabies) can cause hair loss either by directly breaking the hair or by causing the person to scratch, which in turn damages the hair. Trichotillomania is a psychological condition in which people compulsively pull out or twirl their hair around a finger, sometimes without even realizing they are doing it, resulting in areas of broken-off hairs.
5. Medications. Several medications can contribute to hair loss. Steroids and chemotherapy are among the most common culprits. Some diuretics (like sprinolactone) decrease levels of testosterone, and can reduce body hair, but usually don't have much effect on scalp hair.
6. Psychological factors. Stress, anxiety, and depression are surprisingly common causes of thinning scalp hair, and can be especially difficult to recognize and treat. Many people don't realize how much stress or anxiety they are actually experiencing, and so will tend to minimize their level of stress when considering possible causes of hair loss. The anxiety is then compounded by the hair loss itself, so the problem becomes even worse. Some people develop an escalating cycle of anxiety, worsening thinning of the hair, and increasing worry about hair loss.
7. Genetics aka "Runs in the family" You can inherit the genes that cause hair loss. There is not much you can do about it. However, it’s not said that you actually will inherit these bad genes. You may end up being lucky and see your brother or sister lose hair while it doesn’t happen to you. It may even skip a generation and show up again with your children. If your father and grandfather and grandfather's father experienced hair loss, chances are you will too. In most cases, hair loss is hereditary, passed down the genes from either side parentage.
8. Aging Hair loss is common as we age. Men especially begin to experience baldness in certain areas of their heads. Male Pattern Baldness usually starts from the front of the back of the head and later spreads out. Herbal-H is safe to use for all ages, so no matter what age you are, you still have a chance to see new hair grow!
9. Health Problems Illness can cause hair loss. The following are examples of illnesses which caused hair loss; thyroid disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, some autoimmune disorders, psoriasis of the scalp, lupus, kidney or liver disease, cancer and Crushing's disease. Generally hair regrows by itself if the illness goes away, but if the illness does not go away, chances are you'll need to regrow your hair using a safe product like Herbal-H.
10. Imbalanced Nutrition People who have severe abnormal eating habits or are on low protein diet may develop protein malnutrition. At this stage your body moves growing hair into a resting phase in order to help the body from losing protein. When this happens large amount of hair loss can occur.
Different Types Of Hair Loss
Alopecia Areata is thought to be an auto-immune disease of the hair, initially appearing as a rounded bare patch about an inch across. Alopecia Areata affects both men and women equally and is often experienced first in childhood. According to a survey taken in America one person in every hundred is likely to experience Alopecia Areata at sometime in their life. Many people affected with Alopecia Areata will only have one experience of hair loss with regrowth occurring afterwards, however it is estimated that in approximately 20% of cases in the UK hair loss recurs or becomes permanent.
There are three types of Alopecia Areata which are named according to their severity.
- - Alopecia Areata is mild patchy hair loss on the scalp
- - Alopecia Totalis is the loss of all scalp hair
- - Alopecia Universalis is the loss of scalp and all body hair
Researchers believe that Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune disease, this means that the body’s immune system acts as if the hair follicles are foreign and attacks them. White blood cells called T-lymphocytes attack the hair follicle which causes the hair to stop growing and enter into the telogen (resting) phase, then about 3 months later, when the resting phase is over the hair will then fall out. Only when T-lymphocytes stop attacking the hair follicle will new hair grow.
Often appeared in young and middle-aged men, Seborrheic Alopecia is a common skin disease and is one of the most common hair loss issues in men. It has demonstrated oily scalp secretion and causes hair to be shiny. Seborrheic alopecia is excessive sebum that occurs in the basis of the hair. The scalp of patients with symptoms of excessive overflow of fat, are often accompanied by an increase in antidandruff, oily scalp and itchy sensations.
Androgenetic Alopecia - Male Pattern Baldness / Female Pattern Baldness
Androgenetic Alopecia accounts for 95% of all hair loss. It can affect both men and women although men experience a much greater degree of loss. In women Androgenetic Alopecia appears as diffuse hair loss occurring over most of the scalp. In men however the pattern of loss usually starts with a receding hairline which then advances to thin the top of the head.
Causes of Androgenetic Alopecia In 400 BC Hippocrates observed that eunuchs did not become bald. Later Aristotle noticed this also. In the 1940s Dr James Hamilton concluded that genetic predisposition in the present of the male hormone androgen were the factors that caused the development of Androgenetic Alopecia. However it is now known that it is more specifically the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is converted from the enzyme testosterone by the enzymes 5 alpha reductase which contributes to Androgenetic Alopecia in those who are genetically predisposed. It is interesting to note that individuals with a deficiency in 5 alpha reductase do not develop Androgenetic Alopecia. This is because the body is unable to convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.
When Androgenetic Alopecia occurs large active hair follicles in specific areas begin to change to smaller less active ones that shrink slightly with each new growth cycle. The enzyme 5 alpha reductase is thought to be the major cause of this. Under the action of the enzyme the male hormone testosterone become dihydrotestosterone. This causes the hair shafts to narrow producing progressively finer hairs with each new growth cycle until eventually the hairs become transparent and stop emerging. If an individual has androgenetic alopecia the overall levels of testosterone may be normal however the activity of 5 alpha reductase is greater than normal which results in increased amounts of dihydrotestosterone in the hair follicle.
Anagen Effluvium - Cancer Treatment Hair Loss
Anagen Effluvium is the sudden hair loss which occurs as a result of chemicals or radiation, such as the hair loss that results during certain types of Chemotherapy or Radiation Treatment. In Anagen Effluvium the hair does not enter a resting stage as is does with Telogen Effluvium. The hair loss is usually sudden occurring 1 to 3 weeks after expose to the chemicals or radiation has occurred. Cancer treatments such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Treatments are the most common causes of Anagen Effluvium. However exposure to toxic chemicals such as Thallium and Arsenic may also produce a sudden loss of hair.
Chemotherapy is used in the treatment of cancer to destroy the cancer cells which divide rapidly within the body. One side effect of this cancer treatment however is that it can also stop the growth of the hair and may cause the shedding of hair. In some cases up to 90% of the hair may be affected and often the remaining 10% was already in the resting phase before the treatment was started. Some hair follicles do not shed the hair but produce a narrower weaker hair which breaks off easily. Anagen Effluvium caused by Chemotherapy is only a temporary condition and in most cases hair growth will return to normal once treatment is finished. Many people even claim that their hair grows back healthier and thicker than before. Sometimes when the hair grows back the texture can be different. Some people who have had curly hair have claimed that their hair has grown back straight and sometimes even the color can become different. The important thing to remember is that this hair loss is not permanent and once treatment is stopped the hair follicles will recover and the hair will grow back.
Self Induced Hair loss Some damage to the hair is self inflicted sometimes consciously or unconsciously the two main types of self induced hair loss are Trichotillomania and Traction Alopecia.
Trichotillomania Trichotillomania is self induced hair loss which results from the continuous pulling or plucking of the hair. It occurs most commonly among young children, adolescents and women and effects twice as many females as males. The hair is often pulled out in distinct patches on the scalp however some individuals also pull out eyebrows and eyelashes. The treatment for Trichotillomania often involves counseling or psychiatric help, however in some cases an antidepressant may be prescribed.
Traction Alopecia Traction Alopecia is usually caused by continuous and excessive pulling on the hair due to various types of hairstyling. Ponytails, buns, braiding and cornrows often result in a continuous pulling on the hair. This traction gradually results in hair loss. If this type of traction and hair loss continues for an excessively long period of time then the hair loss may become permanent. Generally however a change in hairstyle that reduces the traction on the hair and hair follicle is all that is required in the treatment of Traction Alopecia.
Sudden stress relate hairs loss which appears as thinning throughout the whole scalp. Telogen Effluvium occurs when sudden or severe stress causes an increase in the shedding of the hair. In Telogen effluvium a sudden or stressful event can cause the hair follicles to prematurely stop growing and enter into a resting phase. The hair will then stay in the resting phase for about 3 months after which time a large amount of hair will be shed. Often the person involved will have recovered from the event before the hair loss occurs. In most cases the hair loss is temporary and the hair soon recovers. However in some cases the hair loss continues until the underlying cause is fixed.
Prescribed Drugs that can cause hair loss
Some drugs have been reported as causing hair loss in some individuals. While not everyone will experience hair loss some drugs are more likely to cause hair loss than others.
The following is list of some drugs that have been reported to have a side effect of hair loss:
- Alloppurinol ( for the treatment of Gout)
- Heparin ( blood thinner)
- Coumarin (blood thinner)
- Clofibrate (Cholesterol lowering drug)
- Gemfibrozil (Cholesterol lowering drug)
The above drugs are only a few of the drugs that have been reported as contributing towards hair loss. If you suspect that prescription drugs that you are taking are causing hair loss you should discuss this with your doctor.
Hair loss caused by severe emotional stress
Some people experience Telogen Effluvium or sudden diffuse hair loss after a traumatic event such as the death of a family member or someone close, an accident, abuse or any other severely traumatic event.
The above types to sudden hair loss are usually temporary an in most cases hair will grow back normally soon after it has fallen out. However in some cases where diffuse and sudden hair loss occurs the hair loss may continue until the underlying cause is treated. Types of sudden diffuse hair loss that continues until the cause is treated are as follows:
- Thyroid Gland Malfunction
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosis
Hair loss that is cause by the above underlying causes will usually continue until the underlying cause is treated.
Thyroid Gland Malfunction Generally the first test a doctor or specialist is likely to carry out on a patient who is experiencing hair loss is a thyroid function test, as a thyroid problem may result in hair loss, Two types of thyroid problems can occur and either of these problems can result in hair loss. These conditions are Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism --- Underproduction of Thyroxin Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone (thyroxin) to meet the bodies needs.
Hyperthyroidism --- Overproduction of Thyroxin Hyperthyroidism – Overproduction of Thyroxin Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much Thyroxin hormone to meet the bodies needs. People with other auto-immune disease are especially vulnerable to hyperthyroidism. Hair loss may occur from either hypothyroidism or hyper thyroidism. In some cases hair loss is minimal, however some individuals experience severe hair loss. Fortunately hair loss is usually reversible with proper treatment. If you suspect that you have a problem with your thyroid function then you should visit your doctor.
Diabetes Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to metabolize carbohydrates correctly. Untreated diabetes can result in hair loss.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus This condition is an auto-immune disease which causes inflammation of multiple organ systems. The main signs of the disease are fever skin eruptions on the face and neck area, hands and arms. About half of the people with lupus will have hair loss. Systemic Lupus Eerythematosus mainly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50. It is thought that genetic makeup plays a major role in the development of the disease.
When inflammation of the hair follicles occurs due to infection it can lead to Scarring Alopecia. It is easy to identify a case of severe Scarring Alopecia because there will be rough patches on the surface of the scalp made up of small blood vessels and connective tissue. Scarring Alopecia can have many causes some of these causes and different types of Scarring Alopecia are discussed below.
Scarring Alopecia caused by Discoid Lupus Erythematosus Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is a diffuse connective tissue disease which can result in hair loss on the scalp. In Discoid Lupus Erythematosis lesions occur a round scaling papules 5 to 10 mm across with follicular plugging. There may or may not be scaling. Eventually the skin becomes smooth atrophic and scarred. Lupus is a photosensitive disease therefore exposure to sunlight should be minimized. Topical corticosteroid ointments such as Triamcinolone Acetonide may be helpful in the treatment of small lesions. Also anti malarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine are useful in the management of Discoid Lupus Erythematosis.
Lichen Planus Lichen Planus is a rather uncommon skin disease that affects about 1% of the population. Lichen Planus is a inflammatory disease that strikes primarily the skin and mucous membranes. It usually starts as an itchy patch on the front of the wrists and forearms. the sides of the legs and ankles and lower back. In rare cases, when Lichen Planus can affect the scalp and other hairy areas this is called Lichen Planopilaris. It appears on the scalp as raised reddish-purple areas that look like lichen on a rock, or as an area of Alopecia with follicle plugging which usually clears up. Steroid lotions are used to relieve itchiness, antimalarial drugs may reduce inflammation.
Pseudopelade of Brocq Pseudopelade of Brocq is a rare Scarring Alopecia which has no potential for regrowth. It usually affects middle aged people.
Aplasia Cutis Congenita Aplasia Cutis Congenita is a rare disorder that often results as a small blistered atrophied area usually in the midline of the scalp and present from birth. In most cases the problem heals itself however in larger areas it may be associated with underlying developmental disorders.
Congenital Atrichia Congenital Atrichia occurs when a baby is born without hair follicles in certain areas. This can be quite common and usually only occurs in a few spots which are easy to cover.
Other types of Hair loss
This section discusses a few different other types of hair loss that have not been discussed in other sections.
Syphilitic Alopecia Syphilitic Alopecia is usually a manifestation or secondary syphilis. The hair loss that occurs is patchy and often described as moth eaten. Diagnosis is made by either blood test or microscopic examination and penicillin is often used to treat the condition.
Scleroderma Sclerodema is a disease that causes fibrosis (hardening and tightening) of the skin. The hardening is caused by excessive collagen production, which causes hardening of the skin and when it appears on the scalp interferes with the normal functioning of the hair follicles and growth of the hair. The manifestation of Scleroderma can range from mild localized Scleroderma where just a few patches may appear on the skin or it can be severe and affect the internal organs as well. This type of Scleroderma is known as Systematic Scleroderma. Sclerodema is much more common in women with the onset usually occurring between the ages of 40-60.
Tinea Capitis Tinea Capitis is another name for ringworm, which appears on the scalp. Tinea Capitis is highly contagious and may spread throughout an entire family, school or kindergarten. It can also be passed from animals to humans as well as between people. The main symptoms or signs of Tinea Capitis is scaling and redness in a round or uneven area of hair loss. This is where the Tinea is digesting the keratin of the hair. These patches of hair loss slowly expand as the Tinea spreads. The most commonly used treatment for ringworm is an anti fungal agent which is taken once a day for a period of between four and twelve weeks. Nizoral Shampoo (Ketaconazole 2%) may occasionally be prescribed in addition to oral treatment to reduce the surface.
11. Strong Shampoos & Hair Styling Products Strong shampoos, gel, hair spray, dying and bleaching your hair can cause hair loss. The following drugs used in some shampoo products are a big cause of hair loss: Clofibrate (Atromis-S) and Gemfibrozil (Lopid), cholestero - fighting drugs, all have been known to be a cause of hair loss. Non-natural hair growing products using chemicals may cause reactions to the scalp and actually cause hair loss. Use Herbal-H the safest most effective hair growth treatment.
12. Stress A sudden shock or physical stress from surgery or chemotherapy may also cause hair loss. You could include, in this category, a lengthy or severe illness. In the case of a lengthy illness, the general condition of the hair may indicate your overall poor state of health. However, when your health is restored, the hair normally grows back on its own - without any special treatment.
Tips to Regrow Hair
At Herbal-H, helping customers achieve results has been our number one priority for years. Providing safe and non-toxic solutions are vital to growing and maintaining new hair. The list below will help you maintain healthy hair and is also important to consider all of the following when using Herbal-H advanced hair growth spray.
Following the guidelines below will help in keeping your hair healthy:
• Eating right keeps your hair healthy! Keep your diet balanced, and eat protein and calcium rich foods. Stay away from junk foods and foods that are high in sugar or fat!
• Foods and supplements to nourish your hair:
- Vitamin B
• Before washing your hair, comb it well to make sure all knots have been loosened from your hair
• Before applying shampoo, use warm water (35 to 38 degrees Celsius) to run through your hair to rinse and wet it thoroughly.
• Use shampoo that leaves your hair manageable, easy to comb, and glossy. Most shampoos make your hair dry afterwards.
• Shampoo as often as you need to. Many hairstylists say that the more you shampoo the more hair you'll lose. In fact, shampooing regularly helps unclogs oily pores and dead skin cells.
• Avoid using strong shampoos, gel, hair spray, dying and bleaching your hair. The following drugs used in some shampoo products are a big cause of hair loss: Clofibrate (Atromis-S) and Gemfibrozil (Lopid), cholestero - fighting drugs, all have been known to be a cause of hair loss.
• When applying shampoo or conditioner, don't use your fingernails to scrape through your hair. Instead, use your palm and fingertips to massage your scalp and hair gently, in circular motions. This will help the circulation and also help to keep your hair shiny and smooth.
• Always rinse the shampoo completely out of your hair. Run water over your hair for at least 2 minutes. This will ensure no residue can accumulate and damage the scalp.
• Apply Herbal-H treatment after you have washed and dried your hair. This will be the best time for your scalp to absorb the treatment.
• Conditioners are good for you hair. Conditioners lubricate your hair and it is important to use conditioners in order to protect hair after shampoo. Many “extra-body” shampoos contain fat and oils that can be washed off with conditioners.
• Have a weekly scalp massage to provide stimulation to the hair follicles.
• Do a series of ongoing hot oil treatments to protect the hair's shaft.
• Eliminate or cut back on smoking, caffeine and carbonated sodas which weaken the body and block maximum hair growing potential.
• Straightening or waving or dying your hair often causes hair follicles to be damaged, and when done consistently over time, hair loss could occur.
• Blow dryers, curling irons and drying hair are not recommended if you experience hair loss. Especially if you are undergoing a hair loss treatment.
• Perming and coloring seriously damages your hair. Avoid it as much as possible. Also, when using hair gel or putty, use as little as possible, because they hurt your scalp and hair. Wash them out thoroughly with shampoo.
• Avoid excessive exposure to the sun, swimming pool chemicals and wind as these may harm your hair.
• Have regular trims to eliminate split ends and allow the hair to look and feel healthier.
• Get plenty of rest and sleep to allow your body to grow hair.
Science of Hair
Facts About Hair
Humans, in average are covered with hair all over their bodies, with the exception of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the lips. Hair is noticeably more obvious on the scalp and face while including the nose and ears in certain cases, the armpits, the groin and the chest and legs.
Facts About Hair Follicle
The hair follicle is the physical point from which the hair starts to grow and is a tiny cup-shaped pit buried deep in the fat of the scalp. The hair follicle is well equipped with blood vessels, and the circulation of blood through them causes the nourishment of the growing region the surrounding temperature of the hair follicle is approximately the same as normal body temperature and it remains unaffected by hot or cold water.
Hair growth of animals for instance grows at varying rates depending on the amount of exposure to natural light, which accordingly changes depending on the time of the year; it grows faster in the winter when the days are short. It is assumed that the behavior of human hair in very similar, growing a little faster in the winter. The hair follicles consists of two divided regions; the hair bulb and the hair shaft.
How much hair do humans have?
• On average, each person's head carries about 100,000 hair follicles. Some people have as many as 150,000 or even more. • On a baby's head, there are about 1,100 follicles per cm square. • By the age of 25, this number has fallen to about 600, but the number depends on the physical type of the individual. • Between the ages of 30 and 50, the number drops further, to 250-300. After this point there is only a slight further fall with age. • Each follicle grows about 20 new hairs in a lifetime. Each new hair grows for several years, and can reach over 1 meter in length. • Each hair falls out eventually, and is replaced by a new one.
The Hair Bulb
The hair bulb lies inside the hair follicle. It is a structure of actively growing cells, which eventually produce the long fine cylinder of a hair. New cells are produced at a continuous rate in the lower part of the bulb. As they grow and develop they steadily push the previously formed cells upwards. When the cells reach the upper part of the bulb they begin to change, and they form themselves similar to six cylindrical layers, each one inside the other. Consequentially, the inner three layers of cells become the actual hair. The outer three layers become the lining of the hair follicle - the inner root sheath. The pigment that colors the hair are produced by special cells in the hair. The pigment is called melanin and the cells are known as melanocytes. As the developing hair moves upwards in the follicle, the melanin is carried upwards in the inner part of the hair.
The Mid-Follicle Region
The mid-follicle region is where the actively growing cells die and harden into what we call a hair. As the cells below continue to divide and push upwards, the hair grows upwards, eventually out of the skin. It now consists of a mixture of different forms of the special hair protein, keratin. Some of these keratins contain a high level of sulphur, some much less. The sulphur plays an important role in the way the hair behaves, especially when it is given cosmetic treatments.
What is the hair shaft?
This is the part of the hair that can be seen above the scalp. It consists primarily of dead cells that have turned into keratins and binding material, together with small amounts of water.
Terminal hairs on the head are lubricated by a natural oil (sebum) produced by the sebaceous glands of the follicles. The amount of natural oil your glands produce is mostly determined by your genetic inheritance. However, for men and women, glands tend to produce more oil when levels of their hormones (androgens) are high. In many teenagers, a massive surge in hormone levels leads to raised grease production. This results in a tendency to greasy hair, which many young people would be well familiarized with. The good news is that most of them outgrow it.
Structure of the hair shaft
Smooth, glossy hair possess a much more complicated structure than one might imagine. Each one is comparable to a tree: all its moisture lies in its center, behind a tough outer layer of protective bark. If the 'bark' of the hair is well maintained, the whole hair remains in good condition but if the 'bark' is stripped off to expose the centre the hair may break. The center part of the hair, called the cortex, makes up most of the hair shaft. It is the cortex that gives hair its special qualities such as elasticity and curl. It (cortex) is packed with strands of keratin, lying along the length of the hair. These keratin fibers are made of the low sulphur keratins, and are compressed into bundles of larger fibers. These are held together by a mass of sulphur rich keratins, the matrix. The fiber matrix combination is extremely strong and resists stretching and other strains such as twisting, much as does the glass fiber resin mixture from which many boats are built.