Help Alayne! My hair is falling out! Part 1
We hear it all the time as hair stylists! Therefore, I’ve spent years researching hair loss not only for my clients but also for myself. Here’s what I’ve found.
Reasons for female hair loss can range from the simple and temporary to the more complex. Losing hair can be stressful. Most people lose about 50 to 100 head hairs a day. These hairs are replaced as they grow back in the same follicle on your head. This amount of hair loss is totally normal and no cause for worry. If you’re losing more than that, though, something might be wrong.
If you have hair loss and don’t know what’s causing it, talk to your doctor. A doctor can determine why the hair is falling out and suggest a treatment that will correct the underlying problem, if necessary. Here are some basic causes of hair fallout.
DHT. The most important cause of hair loss is a hormone called ‘DHT’. DHT binds with hair follicles and is thought to prevent nutrients from reaching and feeding the hair. Some researchers also theorise that DHT may cause the body to treat hair as a “foreign body.”
In order to treat hair loss caused by DHT, sufferers can use medication such as Propecia, which reduces DHT production in the body. There are also topical treatments, which may block DHT in the scalp, but the effectiveness of these treatments is unknown.
Poor blood circulation in the scalp. You can’t regrow your hair if your hair is not receiving the nutrients it needs to grow. Your hair receives nutrients from your blood. Tiny blood vessels connect to your hair in your scalp. As we age though some peoples’ scalps change and the blood supply to the hair follicles becomes restricted. It can get so restricted that the follicles receive no nutrients at all and they die completely.
Stress. Stress is a massive cause of not only hair loss but also premature aging and many other signs of reduced health. Stress not only causes poorer blood circulation (due to tension in muscles such as shoulders and neck, among other things,) but stress also causes a depletion of key vitamins needed for hair growth, including B vitamins. Any kind of physical trauma surgery, a car accident, or a severe illness psychological stress (like a death in the family), even the flu can cause temporary hair loss. Severe stress typically sends the body into a state of shock, flooding it with various hormones and metabolites. Stress also leads right into the next reason…
A trigger event. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary. Examples of trigger events include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, surgery, or a death in the family, delivering a baby, going through a traumatic event, or having a serious illness. Because the hair we see on our heads has actually taken months to grow, a person might not notice any disruption of the hair growth cycle until months after the event that caused it.
Menopause. Hormonal changes common during the menopause can cause increased hair loss, although this does not happen to all women.
Pregnancy. Hair loss is common after pregnancy, due to hormonal changes. Often the lost hair will regrow but not always. Techniques can be used to encourage regrowth including following a highly nutritional diet that feeds the hair and improves hormonal balance.
Smoking. Smoking causes a major restriction in blood vessels at the surface of the skin — this is exactly what you don’t want if you’re concerned about your hair. Since it’s important that blood flows to the scalps surface in order to feed the hair, restricting that blood flow may impact on hair growth.
Iron Deficiency Anemia. If you think iron deficiency may be a cause of your hair loss get a blood test to check. Women who have heavy periods or don’t eat enough iron-rich foods may be prone to iron deficiency, in which the blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells. Be sure to get your iron and ferritin levels checked.
Braiding, dreadlocks and other hair styles that pull the hair. Some hair styles pull on the hair. E.g. pulling the hair back very tightly in a pony tail. This may “train the hair” to grow closer and closer to the scalps surface with time (known as traction alopecia). This is common with ethnic hair styles that pull hair tightly with pony tails and corn rows.
Overuse of “Cones.” In recent years, studies have been released that excessive use of “cones” such as dimethicone or silicone used regularly on the scalp may over time clog the hair follicle and cause the hair to fall out, sometimes permanently. No one really knows if the hair eventually grows back after stopping use of these products. If you have been using “cones,” (they are usually used to make hair smoother or less frizzy.) Stop using them on the scalp and only use mid shaft to ends. MMF is working to only carry products that do not have “cones” in them that are used on the scalp.
Medicines. Chemotherapy drugs can lead to hair loss, but there are, in fact, dozens of other drugs that might cause hair to fall out. These include anti-thyroid medications, hormonal therapies (like birth control), anti-convulsants (for epilepsy), anti-coagulants, beta-blockers, and many others.
Illnesses or medical conditions. Endocrine (hormonal) conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes or thyroid disease, can interfere with hair production and cause hair loss. People with lupus can also lose hair. The hormone imbalance that happens in polycystic ovary syndrome can cause hair loss in teen girls and adult women.
Alopecia areata. This skin disease causes hair loss on the scalp and sometimes elsewhere on the body. About 1 in 50 people get this type of alopecia at some point in life. Scientists think alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder and that the hair follicles are damaged by the person’s own immune system.
Alopecia areata usually starts as one or more small, round bald patches on the scalp. These can get bigger The hair usually grows back within a year, but not always. Sometimes people with alopecia areata lose their hair again.
Hair treatments and styling. Too much heat on your hair (like using a hot iron or hot blow drying) or excessive lightening with bleach and peroxide can cause hair to become fragile and break. Give hair a break from this treatment and give it a chance to get healthy again and regrow. Ask your MMF stylist for alternate coloring and styling techniques. We have lots of them! Like air drying Ouidad techniques and Essensity oil based color and lighteners formulated without ammonia, silicones, mineral oil, parabens and artificial fragrances. Or, Absolutes hair color with more collagen for mature hair.
Poor nutrition. Not eating enough healthy food can contribute to hair loss. This is why some people with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia lose their hair: The body isn’t getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to support hair growth. Some people who are vegetarians also lose their hair if they don’t get enough protein from non-meat sources. And some athletes are at higher risk for hair loss because they may be more likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia.
Infection. Although a number of infections can lead to hair loss, the most common infection that affects the scalp and hair is ringworm. Don’t let the name fool you: Ringworm is actually caused by a fungus. Tinea capitis, as it’s more scientifically known, is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes that thrive in warm, moist conditions and typically arise due to poor hygiene. While it affects mostly children, it can be caught at any age.
Next week, I’ll introduce you to more natural remedies and more styling and treatment products to help you limit hair loss. Let me know your thoughts! Research for this blog and more information on hair loss can be found at www.health.com › Beauty