Having a great head of hair can be a very big deal for many people. After all, it serves as one of the many puzzle pieces that together make up one’s image. With that in mind, you can probably imagine the distress you would feel if you suddenly find yourself losing hair at a very fast rate.
As widespread a problem as hair loss is, there unfortunately isn’t exactly a one size fits all cure. This is because hair loss (formally known as alopecia) comes in many different forms and has a variety of causes, which can range anywhere from genetics to underlying diseases, or even something as simple as stress. In this article, then, we will be going through the details of many of the common forms of hair loss, as well as what you can do to deal with them.
Causes of Hair Loss
● Disorders: Many of the most common causes of hair loss start from within; to be more specific, many disorders of the body contribute to hair loss, especially as we age. As we will see later, many forms of hair loss are connected to our body’s endocrine system as well as our genetic makeup, so any unusual imbalances in our hormones or any genetic traits we inherit from our parents can be one of the main contributors to hair loss. One of the most common of such examples is pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia, affecting half of all men and a quarter of all women past the age of 50. Although there is no solid evidence of what causes it in women, pattern baldness in men is caused by a combination of genetic factors and the deregulation of a hormone in the body that controls hair growth. Under-activity or over-activity of the thyroid gland in our body (formally known as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively) can also cause a dramatic shift in one’s hormonal imbalance, resulting in hair loss.
Other forms of hair loss, such as alopecia areata, alopecia universalis, and alopecia totalis are agreed by doctors to be caused by an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in complete loss of hair in areas of the body (areata), the entire head (universalis), or throughout the entire body (totalis).
● Pregnancy: Pregnant women tend to go through large shifts in their body’s hormonal balance throughout the 9 months. This can cause hair to grow faster before childbirth as estrogen levels rise, only for estrogen levels to fall sharply around 3 to 6 months after giving birth to the child, causing thinning of the hair around the hairline.
● Medical Side-Effects: Many drugs and medical treatments can cause an increased rate of hair loss. Medicines that are used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and similar conditions, as well as drugs that affect the hormones of the body, such as those used in acne treatments, menopausal hormonal therapy, and contraceptives, can also result in pronounced hair loss in both men and women. Hair loss can also be caused by medical treatments outside of drugs, the most recognisable of these causes being chemotherapy.
● Physical Damage: Besides chemical causes, hair loss can also be caused by physical damage to the hair and the follicles underneath. Common causes include damage caused by friction, the most common occurrence of which is socks rubbing against the skin and hair of the ankles; damage caused by pulling, such as those with cornrow hairstyles; and damage from excessive styling such as from heat treatments, hair colouring, and drying.
Beating Hair Loss
Just as there are many forms and causes of hair loss, you, too, have a variety of tools to help you deal with the effects of hair loss. These include:
● Medication: In a similar way that certain drugs can cause hair loss as a side effect, other medications can also help regrow the hair, although the success rate of these medications can vary widely from person to person and intake of these medicines may need to be done indefinitely in order to see persistent results. Because of their ill-defined chance of success, we will not make any mention of specific medications and recommend that you talk to your doctor first if you wish to go down this route to help restore and regrow your hair.
● Hair Transplantation: If you favour a more direct approach with more direct results, hair transplantation is also another way to help you grow new hair. This surgical process involves moving healthy hair from other parts of the head to problem areas to encourage regrowth of hair in those areas. The resulting hair that regrows in those areas will remain for a much longer period. However, being a surgical procedure, hair transplantation can have side effects caused by the surgery, such as scarring and a risk of infection during the procedure – not to mention its very high cost.
● Accepting Hair Loss: If either of the aforementioned options is a bit too intensive for you, one risk free way to deal with hair loss is to simply accept that it is there. Of course, embracing your hair loss is much easier said than done, and it can be quite difficult for women.
● Scalp Micro pigmentation: Scalp micro pigmentation, commonly shortened to just SMP, is a relatively newer hair loss solution that has been gaining in popularity in recent times. It is a unique hair loss treatment in that it does not help your hair to regrow; instead, scalp micropigmentation helps one to mask visible hair loss and give the impression of visible hair. In truth, SMP treatment is really not much more than a tattoo for your scalp – through the use of a special tattoo machine, dozens or even hundreds of dots are tattooed into problem areas and left to set in. SMP results in the appearance of short, stubble like hair on the scalp even though there is no actual hair on the area at all. Since it is a relatively new method, make sure to check experienced clinics where possible such as Luxe Micro. Unlike some of the more drastic methods, scalp micropigmentation is non-invasive and does not have any accompanying side effects, and can be applied to any scalp with little risk and immediate results.