Hair Loss Overview
Some Loss is Normal: All hair sheds at the end of their growth cycle, so some degree of hair loss is normal. If you have excessive hair loss, it makes sense
to first understand the possible causes. To better understand hair loss, we recommend that you also review the Hair Loss section. There is a range of types of hair
loss described in this section. Understanding the causes of hair loss can help you to make the best choice for your hair loss treatment.
There are many possible causes of hair loss, however most hair loss is normal, and part of each person's genetic program. All of the following hair loss
causes are explained in greater detail in this section:
Cause of 95% of all Hair Loss: Androgen tic alopecia is the scientific name for the genetic predisposition in both men and women for pattern baldness or
pattern hair loss. Androgen tic alopecia is the cause of over 95% of all pattern hair loss, including baldness in men and thinning hair in women. Pattern hair loss
occurs in somewhat predictable stages, and is relentlessly progressive. That means that those with pattern hair loss will, if they live long enough, eventually
progress from the early stages of loss to the advanced stages. We all suffer hair loss; some people just arrive at the advance stages of hair loss sooner than others.
Studies have shown that pattern hair loss is increasingly evident and advanced as people age.
Patchy Hair Loss: Alopecia aerate is an immune system disorder which causes hair follicles to stop producing hairs. Sudden losses of hair from small patches
on the head are a common symptom. Advanced forms of the disorder include alopecia totalis, where all hair on the head is lost, and alopecia universals, which
results in the absence of all body hair.
Hair Pulling: Traction alopecia is the loss of hair from constant pulling, often the result of tightly braided hair styles.
Delayed Loss From Stress: Telogen effluvium is a slowing of new hair growth resulting from sudden severe stress, followed by delayed shedding of hair.
The stress induces a high proportion of follicles to enter the resting stage, and a few months after the stressful event all of the resting follicles begin to shed
hairs at about the same time.
Sudden Hair Loss: Anagen effluvium is the sudden loss of growing hairs as a result of
Chemicals or radiation. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy halt the growth phase of hair follicles, and result in sudden shedding of hair.
Some medications can also cause hair loss as a side effect.
Broken Hairs: Hair shaft breakage is when part of a hair breaks off, but the growing end remains in the follicle and continues to grow. Hair shaft breakage results
in thinner hair, and can be caused by excessive styling, chemicals, sun, and chlorine in swimming pools.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutritional deficiencies are rarely a cause of hair loss. In rare cases certain nutritional deficiencies can cause weak hair shafts that tend to break off.
Other Hair Loss Causes: Certain chronic Illnesses can result in hair loss. Hormone-related irregularities can include hair loss among other symptoms.
Skin infections can result in hair loss.
Trauma such as burns and injury to hair follicles can cause permanent hair loss.
Hormones: Hormones are specialized proteins excreted by various glands in the body to regulate bodily function. Irregularities in hormone production can affect
body functions, including the function of hair follicles, and result in hair loss. Usually hormone-related irregularities have multiple symptoms, and are reversible with
proper treatment. If you suspect you have a hormone-related irregularity that is causing hair loss, schedule a consultation with a medical doctor.
Over-active Thyroid: Thyroid gland irregularities include excessive thyroid hormone production, which results in a condition called hyperthyroidism usually have
coarse lifeless hairs, that are also easily extracted, along with many other symptoms.
Under-active Thyroid: An under-active thyroid gland results in a thyroid hormone deficiency, called hypothyroidism. Those with hypothyroidism usually have
coarse lifeless hairs that are also easily extracted, along with many other symptoms.
Menopause: Some women who are genetically pre-disposed to have pattern hair loss are protected from the effects of androgen hormones by the counter-balancing
effect of their estrogen hormones. After menopause their estrogen hormone levels decline and they may begin to lose hair. Hormone replacement therapy for menopausal
women is designed to compensate for reduced estrogen levels, and help restore the emotional and physical condition of the patient to the pre-menopause states.
It may also slow or stop hair loss triggered by menopause.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: Hormone replacement therapy is a controversial treatment for menopause, with possible links to both increasing the risk of some cancers,
possibly reducing the risk of certain heart diseases, in addition to having a highly disputed effectiveness at treating various postmenopausal conditions.
Telogen Effluvium: loss from sudden severe stress
Confusion: Hair loss from telegenic effluvium is often confusing, because the stressful event that triggered the loss occurred 3-4 months before the loss of hair.
Frequently the person losing hair has recovered from the event, and then they start shedding their hair in clumps! The condition is usually temporary, and new hairs soon
grow back. Within a few more months the normal random cycle of hair follicle growth and rest resumes.
Delayed Shedding: Telogen effluvium is when a sudden severe stress causes noticeable shedding of hair after the stressful event. The hair loss is always delayed,
usually 3-4 months and sometimes 5 or 6 months after the stressful event. The event can be a physical stress such as a heart attack, a sever illness with a high fever,
a sudden weight change, or a major surgical procedure. Sudden severe emotional with a high fever, a sudden weight change, or a major surgical procedure.
Sudden severe emotional stress can also trigger telegenic effluvium, including the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a job termination.
All Together Now:(Transition to Resting Phase) In telegenic effluvium, the sudden stressful event causes a high proportion of hair follicles to halt their growth
phase prematurely, and to begin a transition to the resting phase at the same time. 3-4 months after the stressful event, a high proportion of follicles shed their hairs all
at about the same time, as they prepare for a new cycle of growth.
Randomly Distributed Hair Loss: Usually telegenic effluvium results in random hair loss from all over the scalp. Often the effect is not noticeable to others, although
seeing the increased quantities of shed hairs is disturbing to their owner. Treatment for telegenic effluvium includes waiting for the new hairs to grown in, styling to
give a fuller look, and counseling to address the stressful event, if appropriate.
Hair Loss after Childbirth: Childbirth, termination of pregnancy, a discontinuation of birth control pills, can also be severe stressful events and can trigger telegenic effluvium
primarily because of hormone level changes. During pregnancy, a higher proportion of hair follicles continues growing hairs, and do not enter the resting stage.
Some pregnant women notice that during their pregnancy their hair seems fuller than before, and this pleasant effect is because more of their hair follicles are growing hairs.
Shortly before childbirth however, the hair follicles that had delayed entering the resting stage over several months during pregnancy begin to make the transition to the resting
stage all at the same time. As a result, within a few months of childbirth, however, some women will experience increased shedding of hair, sometimes in alarming amounts.
Hair Loss from Other Pregnancy Terminations: In addition to childbirth, other forms of pregnancy termination, including miscarriages and abortions, can also result in telegenic effluvium,
if a high proportion of the women's hair follicles had begun to postpone entering the resting stage during pregnancy. Most birth control pills work in part by adding hormones to fool a
women's reproductive system into thinking it is already pregnant. The hormones added can affect hair growth. In some cases, discontinuation of birth control pills can trigger telegenic effluvium,
similar to that suffered after childbirth. Micro graft Hair Shedding. Telogen effluvium also usually affects newly transplanted hair follicles in micro graft procedures. Surgery is a sudden shock
to the individual hair follicles. The newly transplanted hair follicles make a transition to the resting stage shortly after they are transplanted, and 3-4 months later begin to grow new hairs.
Sudden Hair Loss: Anagen Effluvium is the sudden loss of hair as a result of powerful chemicals or radiation suddenly halting the hair growth cycle. There is no 3-4 month transition
to a resting stage, as with telegenic effluvium. Anagen effluvium is most commonly experienced after chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment for cancer. Within just 1-3 weeks after
treatment, some or all of a patient’s hair falls out, often in uneven patches. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are intended to kill the rapidly dividing cells that characterize cancer.
A common side effect of chemotherapy is the destruction or injury of other reproducing cells, including those in the hair follicle that grow hair. The result is the shutdown of the hair follicle
and shedding of the hair. Some hair follicles may produce thinner and weaker hair shafts, rather than shut down. As the hair grows out, these weakened shafts may break off,
further contributing to anlagen effluvium hair loss.
Delicate New Hairs: Anagen effluvium is usually a temporary condition, although regrowth following chemo or radiation therapy may take 6-12 months. The new hair that first grows in may
be colorless or lighter than the normal hair, and it also may be thinner and more easily broken. These delicate new hairs are very susceptible to damage from styling treatments and chemicals.
Harsh permanent hair dyes, bleach, permanent wave curling solutions, and excessive heat from curling irons and blow dryers should all be avoided. The new hairs should be shampooed infrequently,
and only with a mild shampoo, followed by a conditioner. If the hair is to be colored, mild semi-permanent dyes should be used. Eventually the hair follicles recover, and new hair grows in
with normal thickness, strength, and color.
Hairpiece Prescription: It helps to plan for the hair loss effects of radiation or chemotherapy in advance. Cancer treatment patients are advised to assume they will lose all their scalp hair.
Some patients will choose to have a custom hairpiece made in advance, which may take 6-12 weeks. Some health insurance plans will cover the full cost of a hairpiece, especially if a
medical doctor writes a prescription for one.
Shaved Head Look: Some cancer treatment patients choose to shave their heads immediately after treatment to control their appearance and to avoid the embarrassment of shedding clumps
of hair. Many men find that having a totally bald head looks healthier than having a look of patchy hair loss. A shaved head also allows the use of hairpieces which may be secured with a
secured with a vacuum-fit base or the use of very mild temporary adhesives.
Hair Shaft Breakage:
Rough Treatment: Broken Hair shafts are a type of hair loss caused by damage to the hair itself, (the "hair shaft"). Improper or excessive hair styling, aggressive grooming techniques,
and exposure to too much swimming pool chlorine and sunlight are common causes of hair shaft breakage. Rough treatment of the hair can result in hair loss.
Safe When Used As Directed... Hair styling chemicals can damage hair shafts if used incorrectly. Hair dyes, colorings, bleaches, relaxer (straightener), permanent wave solutions (curling chemicals)
are all generally safe for hair when used as directed. Incorrect use application of these products too frequently, and leaving solutions on the hair or scalp too long.
Excessive Heat: Hair styling often involves the use of heat on the hair shaft. Excessive heat from curling irons and blow dryers can cause hair shafts to become weak and brittle and prone to breakage.
Combing Long Wet Hair: Aggressive grooming and personal hygiene such as vigorous shampooing, scalp massage, and rough towel-drying of the hair can break hair shafts.
Combing long wet hair with fine-toothed combs can cause shaft breakage. Excessive shampooing can result in dry, brittle hair that is prone to breakage.
Chlorine and Sunlight: Repeated exposure to both swimming pool chlorine and sunlight will weaken hair shafts. Covering your hair with a swimming cap is a good way to avoid chlorine in pools,
and shampoo and conditioner products are designed specifically to neutralize the effects of swimming pool chlorine. Covering your hair with a hat or towel when in the sun helps to avoid
exposure to excessive sunlight.
Additional Causes of Excessive Hair Loss:
Excessive Combing or Brushing:
This will ultimately break off hair and cause premature thinning of the Extension hair.
Unattended Matting and Tangling:
Left uncorrected, excessive matting and tangling that is then removed forcefully will tighten the matted hair and tear out the hair.
Friction: From pillows or overly aggressive shampooing will break off the hair and thin and tear out the hair.