It is well said that emotional pain is worse than physical pain. Hair loss is one such condition where you find yourself helpless and hopeless. We understand the way you feel deep inside after seeing too much hair fall every day. You are not alone with the hair loss problem. Studies and statistics reveal that in India approximately 85% of adult males and more than 50% of women experience hair loss and hair thinning. Put a big smile on your face, allocating the root cause of the problem will certainly help you to find the right solution. Even various research studies have demonstrated that identifying the type of hair loss can help in reversing the hair loss or pattern baldness effectively.
What is hair loss?
In medical terms, hair loss is defined as alopecia. Normally, a person loses 50- 100 hair per day. It is considered a normal part of the hair growth cycle in which old hair fall out while new hair keep growing. Hair loss refers to the condition when you experience excessive hair shedding without new hair growth.
The hair growth cycle is divided into three phases
Anagen ( Growing phase)
It is the active growth phase of the hair cycle. Approximately 90% of your hair stay in this phase for 2 to 6 years. In this phase, cells in the root of hair keep dividing rapidly to form new hair.
Catagen (Transition phase)
It begins after the end of the anagen phase. It lasts for about two to three weeks and only 1-3% of hair remain in this stage at any time. In this stage, hair growth stops and the hair follicle shrinks itself from the dermal papilla. Dermal papilla are specialized cells that are present at the bottom of hair follicles. These cells play a crucial role in hair growth and development.
Telogen (Resting phase )
In this phase, your hair follicles are completely inactive. It lasts about 3- 4 month and around 10-15% of hair stay in this phase. New hair growth begins here.
Various types of hair loss
- Androgenic alopecia
- Involutional alopecia
- Telogen effluvium
- Anagen effluvium
- Alopecia areata
- Scalp folliculitis
- Cicatricial alopecia
- Traction alopecia
- Trichorrhexis nodosa
1. Androgenic alopecia
Androgenic alopecia is known as one of the most common hair loss which has a larger impact on males than females. It is commonly also called as male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss. A study presented in the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes that it is a hereditary hair loss in which the hormones are sensitive to DHT (an androgen hormone responsible for causing hair loss). The sensitivity prevents the follicles from producing new hair. Over time, your hairline starts receding to form an “M” shape. Further, your hair also starts thinning at the crown (top of the head), often resulting in partial or complete baldness.
2. Involutional alopecia
Involutional alopecia is yet another common and natural hair loss condition. With the progression in age, your hair follicles begin to get into a resting state. Various hair specialists explain that this causes gradual hair thinning, eventually making your hair prone to breakage.
3. Telogen effluvium
Telogen Effluvium is a temporary hair loss condition due to excessive hair shedding. This sudden hair loss is generally caused by physical trauma, intense stress, and hormonal changes. It occurs when hair follicles get into the resting phase prematurely.
4. Anagen effluvium
A research conducted by the Sampson Regional Medical Center explains that when the hair starts falling suddenly in the growing stage, it is termed as anagen effluvium. It is generally due to certain medical conditions that can be regained in 1-3 months.
5. Alopecia areata
It is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your hair follicles, eventually unpredictable hair loss. A study conducted by the Indian Journal of Dermatology unraveled that alopecia areata can be visible in the form of bald patches on your scalp and other parts of your body.
Hypotrichosis is a popular term that is generally used by dermatologists to describe a condition of no hair growth. It is a genetic problem in which there was no visible occurrence of hair growth since birth and therefore, it cannot be treated.
7. Scalp folliculitis
Scalp folliculitis is an inflammatory skin condition that directly affects your hair follicles. Various studies show that it is generally caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. At first, it may appear as small red and white pimples around your hair follicles. However, if not treated properly then this infection can spread and turn into non-healing sores, eventually resulting in permanent hair loss. It can affect any part of your body, including the scalp.
8. Cicatricial alopecia
Cicatricial alopecia is also known as scarring alopecia. According to a study conducted by the Canada Medical Associated, cicatricial alopecia represents a group of disorders in which fibrous tissue replaces your hair follicle unit. It destroys your hair follicles while causing a scar. It is known to generally begin as a patch that spreads with time.
9. Traction Alopecia
Traction Alopecia is a type of hair loss which is caused due to excessive or constant tension by repeatedly pulling or tying your hair in tight ponytails. It is generally visible near the hairline or the temples in the beginning. Numerous studies indicate that traction alopecia can be reversed if you stop putting repetitive tension on your hair follicles.
10. Trichorrhexis Nodosa
This common congenital defect in the hair shaft is characterized by weak or thick points (nodes). It is generally caused due to thyroid problems, iron deficiency, lack of ammonia, harsh hair styling etc. It makes your hair follicles turn weak, thus, causing hair loss. Overuse of chemicals is another common reason that causes Trichorrhexis Nodosa.
Trichotillomania is a mental condition that gives people a strong urge to repeatedly pull their own hair out. This condition can affect people of any age or gender. Studies explain that a person affected with this condition often pulls out their hair from places like scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows etc., often resulting in bald patches.
Ways to reverse hair loss
- Topical hair growth solutions
- Scalp massage
- Protein-rich diet
- Yoga asanas
- Hair care routine
1. Topical hair growth solutions
The use of over-the-counter (OTC) products is acknowledged quite effective to reduce hair fall and promote hair growth. Several latest research findings have claimed that topical application of Aminexil helps to increase hair growth. Hair fall control serums with Biotin & Aminexil help to rebalance the hair growth cycle to improve hair density and hair thickness.
2. Scalp massage
According to a 2016 research study, scalp massage has a significant benefit for improving hair thickness. When you gently massage your scalp, it improves the blood circulation in your hair follicles. This ultimately helps to make your hair thick, healthy, and strong.
3. Protein-rich diet
Hair care experts explain that the dearth of protein in your meals adversely affects your hair growth. A diet enriched with protein is also another effective way to grow your hair faster and thicker. Eggs, nuts, seeds, fish (salmon, flounder, and haddock) are excellent sources of protein.
4. Yoga asanas
Yes, you heard it right. Good hair health is another valid reason to make yoga an integral part of your daily routine. Along with improving your health, yoga asanas also help to make your hair luscious and long. Utthanasana (Standing Forward Pose), Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) are one of the best yoga asanas to increase hair growth. These asanas help to improve oxygen and blood supply to the scalp and hair roots to prevent thinning of hair. In addition, yoga also helps to alleviate your stress which is also considered a cause of hair loss among both men and women.
5. Hair care routine
A good hair routine can also lower the risk of hair loss. Hair shampoo is the most basic step of any hair care regimen. You should always look for a mild shampoo with hair control properties to boost your hair health. The benefits of mild shampoo for hair are, apart from maintaining scalp hygiene, it helps to nourish your hair and scalp. After hair wash, it is really important to use a hair conditioner to seal the hair cuticles which are opened during shampooing. Ceramide and pea protein are ingredients that give you the benefits of a hair spa at home by deeply hydrating your hair tresses.
If you are experiencing noticeable hair loss, then early treatment can save you from permanent hair loss. Lack of essential vitamins in diet, stress, certain medical conditions, and wrong hair care routine have been identified as one of the biggest common causes of hair loss. A slight modification in your day-to-day activities can help to manage the mild to moderate hair loss issues. However, consider making an appointment with an experienced dermatologist if you are dealing with extreme hair loss.
Trichologists and hair care experts explain that certain things like overuse of heat styling tools, hair coloring, and combing wet hair can also make your hair weak and breakage-prone. However, these factors usually do not lead to baldness but can give rise to other concerns like hair thinning and poor hair texture. To minimize hair damage, it is good to avoid such procedures very frequently.