Hair loss or alopecia, can affect the scalp or the entire body and can last for a temporary or permanent period of time. Alopecia may be brought on by hereditary factors, hormonal changes, illnesses, or just the normal aging process. Although hair loss can affect everyone, males are more likely to experience it.
Baldness typically indicates severe scalp hair loss. Hereditary hair loss that develops with age is the most frequent cause of baldness. People who are experiencing baldness may choose to manage it in a variety of ways. Some may decide to accept it naturally, while others may want to cover it up with certain hairstyles, cosmetics, hats, or scarves. Some people may also choose to use one of the various treatments to stop additional hair loss or to encourage hair growth.
Individuals should explore the underlying cause of their hair loss and the available treatment options with their healthcare provider before seeking treatment for hair loss.
Depending on the underlying cause, hair loss can appear in many different ways. It might affect the scalp or the entire body and can happen quickly or gradually. Hair loss signs and symptoms might include the following:
- Slow thinning on top of head: The most common type of hair loss is gradual thinning on the top of the head, which tends to occur as people age. Men often experience a receding hairline at the forehead, while women may notice a broadening of the part in their hair. Additionally, an increasing hair loss pattern observed in older women is a receding hairline known as frontal fibrosing alopecia.
- Loosening of hair: A physical or mental trauma can cause hair to loosen, causing people to notice clumps of hair falling out while brushing, washing, or even after light tugging. Although temporary, this form of hair loss often results in overall hair thinning.
- Hair loss in whole body: Certain medical conditions and treatments, like chemotherapy for cancer, may cause hair loss all over the body. However, in most cases, the hair tends to grow back after the treatment is completed.
- Scaly patches that spread throughout the scalp: The presence of broken hair, redness, swelling, and sometimes, oozing, along with hair loss, can be indicative of ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin.
- Circular or patchy bald spots: Certain individuals may experience circular or patchy bald spots on the scalp, beard, or eyebrows, where hair loss occurs. Prior to hair loss, the affected skin might become itchy or painful.
If you or your child are experiencing distress due to ongoing hair loss and wish to explore potential treatments, it is essential to seek advice from your doctor. For women facing a receding hairline, also known as frontal fibrosing alopecia, it is crucial to discuss early treatment options with your doctor to prevent irreversible and extensive baldness. Taking prompt action can make a significant difference in managing these conditions effectively.
If someone notices sudden or spots of hair loss, or if their hair loss increases when brushing or washing their hair, they should speak with a healthcare provider. Such events might be a sign of a serious illness that needs to be treated by a medical professional.
Due to the constant growth of new hair at the same time, the average person loses 50 to 100 hairs per day, which is usually undetectable. When new hair cannot replenish the hair that has fallen out, hair loss becomes noticeable. The following factors are frequently associated with hair loss:
- Family history: A hereditary disorder that develops as people get older has been suggested as the main cause of hair loss. The condition referred to as androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness. If you or someone you know is experiencing this type of hair loss, it is essential to seek appropriate medical advice and treatment options. As with a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair around the top of the scalp in women, it often develops gradually and in predictable patterns.
- Hormonal changes and medical conditions: Numerous conditions can contribute to permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid issues. Medical conditions like alopecia areata, which involves immune system-related patchy hair loss, scalp infections like ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania) can also lead to hair loss.
- Medications and supplements: Certain medications, such as those prescribed for high blood pressure, cancer, heart problems, gout, arthritis, and depression may cause hair loss as a side effect.
- Radiation therapy: Hair regrowth following treatment may not result in the same appearance as it was before the hair loss occurred. When hair grows back, it may change in texture, color, or density.
- Stressful event: This form of hair loss is transient. Some people may discover a general thinning of hair several months after enduring a physical or mental shock.
- Hairstyles and treatments: Excessive hairstyling and doing hairstyles like cornrows and pigtails that cause your hair to be pulled tightly can cause traction alopecia. Hair loss may also result from procedures like hair permanents and hot oil hair treatments. Hair loss may be permanent in circumstances where scarring is present.
Several factors can elevate the risk of experiencing hair loss, including:
- A history of baldness in your family, either on your mother’s or father’s side.
- Notable weight loss
- Medical conditions: Individuaal that have certain medical conditions such as diabetes and lupus increase the risk in developing hair loss.
- Other factors: Stress and poor nutrition contributes to the likelihood in developing hair loss.