Hair loss is a prevalent condition that happens to men and women alike. A third of women experience hair loss in their lives, triggered by hormonal imbalances brought on by pregnancy or menopause. But hair loss is particularly widespread in men. Otherwise healthy males can experience hair loss as soon as their early 30s. By age 50, over half of men report hair loss.
So if you’ve come searching for explanations for a thinning crown of hair, you’re not alone. Hair loss treatment is a US$3.6 billion dollar industry, with millions going into research each year. Today’s treatments, while still not perfect, are a long way from us rubbing pigeon droppings on our heads.
Here’s what you need to know about hair loss, how to avoid it, and how to prepare for it.
- Risk Factors For Hair Loss
- Signs of Hair Loss
- Non-Surgical Remedies For Hair Loss
- Living With Hair Loss
Risk Factors For Hair Loss
Yes, that’s right. Some people draw the short straw, and are more prone to hair loss. Called androgenetic alopecia, this form of hair loss due to genetics occurs because of a little hormone called dihydrotesterone (DHT). DHT is a derivative of the more well-known testosterone. And while critical to the development of typical male parts like the penis and prostate, DHT wrecks havoc on hair follicles by shrinking them, effectively cancelling their ability to produce healthy hair. How susceptible you are to DHT is dictated by how much testosterone your body converts into DHT.
But hair loss can be a physiological problem in more ways than getting bad genes from your parents. Hair loss can also be a symptom of an inactive or overactive thyroid. It can also be symptomatic of an autoimmune disease called lupus, which destroys hair follicles, or a fungal infection of the scalp that causes a hair loss condition called “tinea capitis”.
Hair loss is also an unfortunate side-effect of a handful of medications, such as antidepressants, Vitamin A, and gout medicine. People bulking up muscle and consuming protein shakes may also inadvertently be exposing themselves to hair loss. Protein shakes contain growth promoting nutrients, which also raises the testosterone levels in your body. And as we’ve mentioned above, the higher levels of testosterone, the more sources for DHT.
Another common, but lesser known cause of hair loss is styling. Certain hairstyles that pull on the roots and hair follicles, like dreadlocks, weaves, and ponytails, especially when applied to hair that has already been chemically treated, can lead to hair loss. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia, and when left unmediated, can lead to permanent hair loss.
Signs of Hair Loss
Hair loss, to an extent, is normal. Everyone sheds. Just like nails and our skin, our hair has a limited lifespan. A strand of hair typically stays on our head for two to five years before shedding. There are over 100,000 hair follicles on a healthy person’s head — losing anywhere from 50 to 100 strands a day is considered normal.
Increased hair loss over the winter months is also normal. Called seasonal hair loss, shedding may get worse during months when the sun is scarce. Our bodies form thicker hair as a defense against harsh UV rays. When winter rolls in, we no longer have use for the extra hair, and our bodies shed it as a response.
What’s not normal, however, is pulling away clumps of hair, thinning at the top of your head, or forming patchy bald spots. When these begin to happen, it may be time to see your doctor to rule out androgenetic alopecia, or get the appropriate medication to mediate hair loss before it does any lasting damage.
Non-Surgical, Organic Remedies For Hair Loss
Over the years, the fight against hair loss has broadened to include certain types of food. Recent studies have shown that the following food types can slow hair loss, and promote healthy hair follicles:
- Sunflower oil: Sunflower oil stimulates hair growth by giving your scalp much needed moisturization. It also contains Oleic acid, a component that helps prevent hair breakage.
- Eggs: Eggs are rich in biotin and Vitamin B, nutrients that can prevent hair loss by strengthening your roots. You can either take them for breakfast, or rub a hair mask made of egg whites directly onto the scalp to help hair follicles absorb nutrients directly.
- Spinach and Raisins: Our hair follicles use iron to create healthy strands of hair. Studies show that brittle hair can be the result of iron deficiency. Fortunately, iron is abundant in many food types. Spinach and raisins in particular are packed with iron. A 180 gram bag of spinach already contains 35 percent of your iron needs; a small bag of raisins, around 0.8 mg. Women need around 18 mg a day of iron, while men need 8.
Living With Hair Loss
There are many options for treating hair loss. Non-invasive treatments include taking minoxidil and finasteride to promote the hair regrowth, or laser therapy for subtle regrowth. You can also opt for surgical hair implants. Losing your hair doesn’t need to be the end of the world.
You can get creative with your hair. Hairstylists often know how to play with texture and depth to give your hair more volume and thickness. If you’ve ever wanted that buzz cut or fade, but was too worried about losing hair, then now is the perfect time to experiment.
Knowing that you’re starting to lose your hair is never fun. But it doesn’t have to be a reason for despair. From changing your diet and hairstyle, to many non-surgical and surgical options for treatment, you’re never left helpless against hair loss.
You can call us at 1300 656 236 if you have questions our guide hasn’t answered yet or book an appointment for free with our consultants.
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