Hair Loss (Alopecia)
Normal population shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually will not cause noticeable thinning of scalp hair because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when shedding of hair is more than 100 a day or is more than hair grow. This happens when there is certain factors causing disruption of the hair growth and shedding cycle.
There are many causes of hair loss, the common ones are as follow:
• Family history
• Hormonal changes
• Certain medical conditions
• Drug induced
• Radiation therapy to scalp
• A trigger event such as physical or emotional stress
• Poor nutrition
The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss may involve both hair thinning and miniaturization (hair becomes soft, fine and short).It occurs gradually and in predictable patterns with a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair in women.
Hormonal imbalances due to pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can cause temporary hair loss. Other hormonal changes in thyroid disease can precipitate excessive hair loss.
Common medical conditions which can cause hair loss include:
a) Alopecia areata is a non-scarring hair loss condition which occurs when the body's immune system attacks our hair follicles, causing sudden hair loss that leaves smooth bald patches on the scalp.
b) Scalp infections such as fungal infection, kerion, ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to scaly patches and hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back.
c) Other skin disorders such as lichen planus, autoimmune skin disease, sarcoidosis can cause scarring alopecia which may result in permanent loss at the scarred areas.
d) Hair-pulling disorder or trichotillomania is a condition where the patient has an irresistible urge to pull out their hair from the scalp, the eyebrows or other areas of the body.
Medications which may induce hair loss include those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and birth control.
Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional stress. This type of hair loss is temporary. Examples of trigger events include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, surgery, or a death in the family.
Treatment option for hair loss
Those hair loss caused by trigger factor or drug induced, it can resolve on its own after the resolving of the trigger factor and stopping the medication
We will further illustrate on the common cause of hair loss, male pattern and female pattern hair loss
a) Oral medicine for male pattern hair loss
This medicine works by preventing the hormone testosterone being converted to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, so blocking its production allows the hair follicles to regain their normal size. It usually takes 3-6 months of continuous treatment before any effect is seen. It is advisable to continue the treatment for 1-2 years for optimal effect.
b) Minoxidil hair spray
Minoxidil is effective for male and female pattern hair loss. It is available as a lotion you rub on your scalp every day. It is not clear how minoxidil works, but evidence suggests it can cause hair regrowth after continuous use for several months. Side effects are uncommon.
L Minoxidil usually needs to be used for several months before any effect is seen. The balding process will usually resume if treatment with minoxidil is stopped. Any new hair that regrows will fall out two months after treatment is stopped.
c) I-GROW LLLT
d) Hair Filler
g) Hair Implant
Wigs can be a useful treatment for people with extensive hair loss.
Acrylic synthetic wigs last for 6-9 months. They are easier to look after than wigs made of real hair because they do not need styling. However, acrylic wigs can be itchy and hot, and need to be replaced more often than wigs made from real hair.
Real hair wigs last for 3-4 years, but are harder to maintain than synthetic wigs because they may need to be set and styled by a hairdresser and professionally cleaned.