Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss or baldness. It affects both men and women and can be a temporary or permanent condition. In most cases, hair loss is a treatable condition, but it can also be irreversible, leading to baldness.
Hair loss does not happen for a specific reason, and there is no universal cure for it. Depending on the causes, it can be treated in different ways. Mainly alopecia is divided into two primary types: scarring and non-scarring conditions. Scarring hair loss refers to the loss of hair, which is accompanied by scarring. It’s caused by rare disorders that destroy the hair follicle and replace it with scar tissue. This is usually a permanent form of hair loss associated with severe itching, burning, and pain. About 3% of hair loss sufferers are diagnosed with this condition. Non-scarring hair loss represents the loss of hair without any scarring being present. Hormonal effects, age, diet, autoimmunity, stress, drug effects, genetics, or infections may lead to this condition.
Below are found the most common forms of non-scarring hair loss.
Hereditary Hair Loss
Often called male/female pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia (AGA), it’s the most common form of hair loss that affects up to 40% of men and women. By the age of 50 is believed that half of the men will face this condition. As the name suggests, it’s a natural condition caused by genetics, hormone levels, and aging.
Although androgenic alopecia is more common in aged people, it can also affect younger men and women. In men, it starts with an M-shaped receding hairline from the top and front of the head, while in women, the typical pattern of hair loss is thinning at the crown of the head.
Hereditary hair loss is related to hormones called androgens, individually an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This condition causes the hair follicles to get smaller and produce less and thinner hair over time due to high levels of DHT. Hair follicles can also remain in the resting phase for longer, which affects the hair production rate.
How to treat androgenic alopecia?
If you suffer from genetic hair loss, you should know from the start that there is no cure for it. Minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) are the only over-the-counter treatments recognized for treating androgenic alopecia and other forms of hair loss.
Finasteride is a DHT blocker or anti-androgen agent that works by prohibiting the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Minoxidil does not affect DHT levels, but it increases the scalp blood circulation. It was shown that oral finasteride encourages hair growth in 1 year with more visible results after 2 years . Another research has found that topical finasteride was similar to finasteride oral intake. Topical minoxidil in 5% proved to work better for men, while %2 minoxidil is more tolerable for women.
Other DHT blockers such as capixyl or saw palmetto might help others with androgenic alopecia.
Telogen effluvium is a temporary condition, and in most cases, it will be healed by itself over time. It is suggested to see a doctor and find out the cause, usually stress, surgery, childbirth, weight loss, or medications.
During this condition, the hair remains in the telogen phase where is resting.
Women may experience hair loss shortly after giving birth. This is due to a decrease in estrogen levels. This type of hair loss is a temporary condition and usually resolves within a year.
Research suggests that women are more prone to hair loss during menopause due to a hormonal imbalance. More precisely, the production of estrogen and progesterone, which help hair grow faster, is reduced. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes thinner. A decrease in these hormones also suggests an increase in the production of androgens.
To avoid extreme hair loss during menopause is advised to reduce the stress level, get an active lifestyle, eat well, and keep your body hydrated.
Studies have reported potential associations between nutritional deficiency and telogen effluvium, androgenetic alopecia, female pattern hair loss (FPHL), and alopecia areata (AA) . Deficiencies in iron, zinc, niacin, fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E, biotin, folic acid, antioxidants, and proteins may increase hair loss.
Nutrition deficiency is often treated with supplements. However, there is a lack of research that supports the role of supplements in the absence of deficiency. Despite this, people often seek supplements as a treatment for hair loss. That’s also because advertising promotes the use of supplements for hair loss.
Certain medications can cause hair loss by interfering with the hair growth cycle. Read about medications that can cause hair loss.
Daily washing, too much styling, heating tools, or over-dyeing are common reasons your hair may fall out. Taking good care of your hair may not promote hair growth but may prevent hair loss or breakage