Your hair is one of the first things people notice when they see you. Our hair makes a big difference to how we see ourselves as well as how others see us. This means that losing hair can be a serious issue to many, though this is a very common and perfectly natural phenomenon that affects everyone, men and women alike.
The Different Types
Also known by the term alopecia, losing hair may be temporary or permanent. The most common kinds of permanent alopecia are androgenetic and cicatricial alopecia; the former is commonly called male pattern baldness (though there is also such a thing as female pattern baldness). Cicatricial alopecia, however, is a comparatively rare phenomenon that is caused by inflammation of hair follicles.
The most common type of temporarily losing your hair is alopecia areata, which is characterized by small, rounded bald patches on the scalp, though it can also occur elsewhere on the body, most commonly the eyebrows, eyelashes, and on the face.
Other types of temporary hair loss include telogen effluvium, which involves a thinning of the hair rather than bald patches. This Hair loss tends to occur suddenly. There is also traction alopecia, a type of temporary hair loss which is generally caused by styling the hair in ways that cause pulling, including cornrows, braids, and rollers.
The Growth Cycle Of Hair
Human hair has a growth cycle that consists of alternating periods of growth and rest. When hair is undergoing a growth phase, it will usually grow at a rate of around half an inch per month. Growth phases tend to last for one to three years and are followed by a resting phase of three to four months. The transition from the resting phase to the growth phase is often a time when some hair falls out before new growth begins.
Causes of Hair loss
We shed somewhere between 50-100 hairs in a typical day, and since the average number of strands is close to 100,000 this is generally not noticeable. However, this gradual loss becomes obvious as we age. The rate of hair loss is largely influenced by heredity; if you have a history of male pattern baldness in your family, your own odds of noticeable Hair loss as you age are higher.
Other health conditions which affect the skin such as lichen plan us or lupus can cause the loss of hair (cicatricial alopecia, to be precise) by damaging hair follicles. Stress can also be a factor in Hair loss; high levels of stress can lead to telogen effluvium.
Losing hair may also be caused by a nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalance, scalp treatments, as the result of some diseases, and as a side effect of certain medications.
Preventing Hair loss
Sometimes Hair loss is not preventable, but you can avoid it to some degree by eating a healthy diet and taking good care of your hair by avoiding hairstyles that tend to cause hair loss, and eschewing hair products that contain chemicals that irritate the scalp.
If you notice sudden thinning or bald patches developing, speak with your physician. There is no cure for some types of hair loss, but a doctor can provide treatments that can either slow the process or treat the problem by resolving underlying health problems which are causing hair loss information.
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