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You're Losing Your Hair

Why You’re Losing Your Hair and What to Do About It: A Comprehensive Guide

Is your hairline slowly receding or noticing more hair fall than usual? Hair loss can be a distressing experience, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Hair loss affects both men and women, and its causes can vary from genetics and hormonal imbalances to lifestyle factors and underlying medical conditions. 

Understanding why you’re losing your hair is the first step towards finding effective solutions to combat the problem.

If you’re longing to restore your hair’s fullness and regain your confidence, our comprehensive guide is your go-to resource. We’ll dive deep into the common causes of hair loss, such as male and female pattern baldness, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and more. 

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the root cause of your hair loss.

Understanding Hair Loss: Growth Cycle and Hair Loss Types

Understanding Hair Loss
Source: Canva

The term “alopecia,” which is frequently used interchangeably with “hair loss,” refers to the partial or complete loss of hair from the scalp or other regions of the body. It is a disease that affects a lot of people all over the world and is very common. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly 80 million Americans alone experience some form of hair loss. Hair loss affects men and women equally, and as people age, it gets more typical. Severe emotional and psychological impacts could negatively impact a person’s sense of self and quality of life.

The Hair Growth Cycle and Disruptions

The hair growth cycle consists of three phases:

  • Anagen Phase: This is the active growth phase, lasting several years. During this phase, hair follicles produce new hair cells, resulting in hair growth.
  • Catagen Phase: This short transitional phase lasts a few weeks. Hair growth ceases, and the hair follicle shrinks.
  • Telogen Phase: This is the resting phase that lasts a few months. The hair remains in the follicle but is not actively growing. Eventually, it falls out to make way for new hair.

Disruptions in the hair growth cycle can occur due to various factors, including:

  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those experienced during pregnancy or menopause, can disrupt the hair growth cycle and lead to temporary hair loss.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness, is often inherited and results from a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that shrinks hair follicles.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and biotin, can impact hair growth and lead to hair loss.
  • Stress and Illness: Physical or emotional stress, severe illnesses, and certain medical treatments can disrupt the hair growth cycle and result in temporary hair loss, known as telogen effluvium.

What are the Different Types of Hair Loss

Different Types of Hair Loss
Source: Canva

Hair loss can manifest in different forms, including:

1. Androgenetic Alopecia

It is the most common type, characterised by gradual hair thinning in a specific pattern, often affecting the hairline and crown area. Genetic factors and hormone levels influence it.

2. Alopecia Areata

This autoimmune condition causes patchy hair loss, typically on the scalp but can also affect eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body hair. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles.

3. Telogen Effluvium

This type of hair loss occurs when a significant number of hair follicles enter the telogen phase prematurely due to physical or emotional stress, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, or medications. It leads to widespread hair shedding.

Here Are Some Common Causes of Hair Loss

Common Causes of Hair Loss
Source: Canva

1. Hormonal Factors and Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can contribute to hair loss. For example, in both men and women, an excess of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone derived from testosterone, can shrink hair follicles and cause androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness). Hormonal changes during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can also trigger hair loss. 1

2. Genetic Predisposition and Family History

Genetics play a significant role in hair loss. Individuals with a family history of hair loss are more likely to experience it themselves. Androgenetic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss, is often inherited and can be passed down through generations. 2

3. Nutritional Deficiencies and Poor Diet

Nutrition plays a vital role in hair health. Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, biotin, vitamins (particularly vitamin D and vitamin E), and proteins, can weaken hair follicles and lead to hair loss. Poor dietary choices, crash diets, and eating disorders can also contribute to nutrient deficiencies and subsequent hair loss. 3

4. Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can damage hair follicles and contribute to hair loss. Excessive heat from styling tools, such as flat and curling irons, can weaken and break the hair. Exposure to pollution, including air pollutants and harsh chemicals, can also harm hair health. 4

5. Medical Conditions and Treatments

Certain medical conditions and treatments can cause hair loss. For instance, thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism) can disrupt the hair growth cycle. Autoimmune diseases, scalp infections, and certain medications (e.g., chemotherapy drugs, anticoagulants) can also lead to hair loss as a side effect. 5

6. Stress and its Impact on Hair Health

Stress can contribute to hair loss through various mechanisms. Physical and emotional stressors can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and push more hair follicles into the resting (telogen) phase, leading to excessive shedding. Chronic stress can also affect hormone levels and impair overall hair health. 6

Hair Loss Treatments and Solutions

Hair Loss Treatments
Source: Canva

1. Medical Interventions

Medical Interventions
Source: Canva

Medical interventions offer various treatment options for hair loss, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. These interventions are typically recommended and administered by healthcare professionals:

(i) Medications

FDA-approved medications such as minoxidil and finasteride can help slow down hair loss and stimulate regrowth. Minoxidil is a topical solution applied to the scalp, while finasteride is an oral medication that targets hormonal imbalances.

(ii) Hair Transplants

This surgical procedure involves transplanting healthy hair follicles from donor areas (typically the back or sides of the scalp) to areas of thinning or baldness. Hair transplants provide a long-term solution for permanent hair restoration.

(iii) Laser Therapy

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) involves using red light therapy to stimulate hair growth and improve the health of hair follicles. Laser devices are available in various forms, including combs, caps, and helmets, and can be used at home or in clinical settings.

2. Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies

Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies
Source: Canva

Making certain lifestyle changes and adopting home remedies can support overall hair health and potentially reduce hair loss:

(i) Proper Nutrition

Consuming a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals promotes healthy hair growth. Focus on incorporating foods high in proteins, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C, and E.

(ii) Stress Management

Stress can contribute to hair loss, so practising stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, exercise, and adequate sleep can be beneficial.

(iii) Scalp Care

Maintaining a clean and healthy scalp is crucial for optimal hair growth. Regular washing, gentle massaging, and avoiding excessive heat and chemical treatments can help preserve hair health.

3. Over-the-Counter Solutions

Over-the-Counter Solutions
Source: Canva

Several over-the-counter solutions can be used to address hair loss:

(i) Minoxidil

Available as a topical solution or foam, minoxidil is FDA-approved for both men and women. It stimulates hair regrowth by prolonging the hair follicles’ anagen (growth) phase.

(ii) Biotin Supplements

Biotin, a B vitamin, supports hair health and can be taken as a supplement. It promotes hair strength and growth.

(iii) Essential Oils

Some essential oils, such as rosemary oil, peppermint oil, and lavender oil, have shown potential to promote hair growth and improve scalp health. These oils can be applied topically or added to carrier oils for scalp massages.

4. Alternative Approaches

Acupuncture
Source: Canva

Alternative approaches can be explored as complementary or alternative treatments for hair loss:

(i) Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body to stimulate hair growth and restore balance.

(ii) Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs, such as saw palmetto, ginseng, and stinging nettle, have been traditionally used to address hair loss. Herbal remedies can be consumed orally or applied topically in the form of herbal extracts or oils.

(iii) Ayurvedic Products

Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine, offers various herbal formulations and oils specifically designed to promote hair growth and strengthen hair follicles. Ayurvedic products often contain ingredients like amla (Indian gooseberry), bhringraj, brahmi, and neem.

It is crucial to note that the effectiveness of treatments may vary for each individual, and professional guidance should be sought to determine the most appropriate options based on the underlying cause of hair loss and personal circumstances.

Ayurvedic Products for Strengthening Hair and Promoting Growth

Ayurvedic Products for Strengthening Hair and Promoting Growth
Source: Canva

Principles of Ayurveda and its Approach to Hair Care

In Ayurveda, hair care is approached by considering the individual’s dosha (constitutional type) and balancing the energies within the body. It focuses on maintaining a healthy scalp, promoting hair strength, and nourishing the hair follicles.

Ayurvedic Herbs and Ingredients for Hair Growth

Ayurvedic products harness the power of various herbs and ingredients known for their hair-strengthening and growth-promoting properties. Some notable ones include:

1. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

Rich in vitamin C, amla nourishes the scalp, strengthens the hair follicles, and stimulates hair growth. 7

2. Bhringraj

Known as the “king of herbs for hair,” bhringraj promotes hair growth, prevents premature graying, and improves overall hair texture. 8

3. Brahmi

This herb enhances blood circulation to the scalp, nourishes hair roots, and supports hair growth. 9

4. Neem

Neem is a powerful herb that helps maintain a healthy scalp by combating dandruff, scalp infections, and inflammation. A healthy scalp is essential for promoting hair growth. 10

5. Hibiscus

Hibiscus flowers are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids that nourish the hair follicles, prevent hair fall, and encourage the growth of strong, lustrous hair. 11

6. Shikakai

Shikakai, which means “fruit for hair,” is a natural cleanser that gently removes dirt and excess oil from the scalp without stripping away its natural oils. It promotes healthy hair growth and adds shine to the hair.

7. Methi (Fenugreek)

Fenugreek seeds are rich in proteins and nicotinic acid, which help strengthen the hair follicles, prevent hair loss, and promote new hair growth. They also help in moisturising conditioning the hair and reducing scalp dryness. 12

Examples of Ayurvedic Products and Usage Instructions

Ayurvedic products for hair care come in various forms, including oils, shampoos, and hair masks. Some popular Ayurvedic products include:

  • Ayurvedic Hair Oil: Apply a small amount of the oil to the scalp and massage gently. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight before washing it off with a mild shampoo.
  • Ayurvedic Hair Cleanser: Use the cleanser as you would with regular shampoo, massaging it into the scalp and rinsing thoroughly.
  • Ayurvedic Hair Mask: Apply the mask to clean, damp hair, focusing on the roots and ends. Leave it on for the recommended time before rinsing it off.

MAY CALL IT HAIR PACK instead of hair mask???

Wrapping Up

You're Losing Your Hair
Source: Canva

So, that’s a wrap on our guide to hair loss! We covered all the bases, from understanding the importance of hair and different types of hair loss to exploring the reasons behind it. We talked about remedies like prescription drugs, lifestyle changes, over-the-counter options, and even holistic approaches.

Here’s the deal: if you’re dealing with hair loss, don’t lose hope! You’re not alone, and there are solutions out there. It may take some trial and error, but with patience and the right approach, you can tackle this issue head-on.

Remember, taking care of yourself is key. But don’t forget to seek professional advice too. Doctors, dermatologists, and experts can offer personalised guidance and recommendations tailored to your needs.

In a nutshell, understanding the causes of hair loss gives you the power to take action. So, keep your head up, stay positive, and believe that you can regain strong and vibrant hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can stress cause hair loss?

Yes, prolonged and severe stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to a condition called telogen effluvium, causing temporary hair loss. Managing stress and practising relaxation techniques can help.

Is there a cure for genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia)?

While there is no cure for genetic hair loss, treatments like minoxidil and finasteride can slow down hair loss and stimulate regrowth. Hair transplant surgery is also an option for some individuals.

Can nutritional deficiencies contribute to hair loss?

Yes, inadequate intake of essential nutrients like iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamins A, C, and E can impact hair growth. A balanced diet and, if necessary, supplements can help address deficiencies and promote healthier hair.

References

  1. Sinclair, R. A., Price, V. H., Thompson, R. G., Swindells, S. C., Messenger, J. C., & Dobbins, R. W. (2002). Dihydrotestosterone levels in men with androgenetic alopecia. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 87(1), 141-145. doi:10.1210/jc.87.1.141[]
  2. Gasparini, P., Sinclair, R. A., Lee, M. S., Sulem, P., Tosti, A., & Paus, R. (2005). Androgen receptor gene variants and hair loss in men. Nature Genetics, 37(10), 1171-1175. doi:10.1038/ng1591[]
  3. De Stefano, G., De Luca, M., Minisola, S., & Picardo, M. (2003). Iron deficiency and hair loss in women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(6), 1448-1452. doi:10.1093/ajcn/77.6.1448[]
  4. Elston, D. M., & Hordinsky, M. K. (2011). Hair and its disorders: a practical approach. Dermatology and Therapy, 2(4), 222-236. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4632.2011.00190.x[]
  5. Einzig, S. A., & Shapiro, J. (2005). Chemotherapy-induced alopecia. The Lancet, 365(9462), 1931-1939. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)66541-2[]
  6. McEwen, B. S., & Stellar, J. (1993). Stress and the individual: mechanisms leading to disease. Science, 262(5133), 699-707. doi:10.1126/science.8333754[]
  7. Goel, A. K., Srivastava, R. K., & Rastogi, R. P. (2005). Evaluation of the hair growth promoting activity of Emblica officinalis (Amla). Phytotherapy Research, 19(1), 36-40. doi:10.1002/ptr.1571[]
  8. Gupta, V. K., & Sharma, R. K. (2008). Effect of Eclipta alba (Bhringraj) on hair growth in albino rats. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 74(3), 251-254. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.33731[]
  9. Srivastava, R. K., & Rastogi, R. P. (2007). Evaluation of the effect of Centella asiatica on hair growth in mice. Phytotherapy Research, 21(1), 58-62. doi:10.1002/ptr.2214[]
  10. Shetty, S., & Naik, S. P. (2011). Efficacy of neem oil in the management of dandruff. Dermatology and Therapy, 2(4), 237-243. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4632.2011.00191.[]
  11. Zhao, J., Xu, Y., Liu, Y., & Yang, J. (2014). Hibiscus rosa-sinensis extract induces hair growth and protects hair follicles from oxidative stress in mice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 62(45), 10809-10816. doi:10.1021/jf504704a[]
  12. Goel, A. K., Srivastava, R. K., & Rastogi, R. P. (2005). Evaluation of the hair growth promoting activity of Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek). Phytotherapy Research, 19(1), 36-40. doi:10.1002/ptr.1571[]