Friday, February 15, 2008

How Hair Loss Can Affect Us All

It is a little known fact that every single one of use loses around 100 strands of hair per day. Hearing this may sound alarming but do not despair - it is perfectly normal! A normal head of hair contains around 100,000 follicles each of which can grow around 20 individual hairs in a lifetime. The lost strands of hair are therefore replaced naturally by hairs that grow out of the follicles. Permanent hair loss occurs when the follicle is damaged or lost. Baldness occurs when the follicles die and are unable to produce replacement strands of hair.

The most common form of baldness is called androgenic alopecia or pattern baldness. This is considered a progressive hair thinning condition which varies in severity between suffers. The nature in which the hair is lost also varies greatly from case to case.

Some of the common types of hair loss are; male and female pattern alopecia, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. Pattern alopecia is the most common of all the types of baldness and is said to affect men more than women. Alopecia totalis refers to loss of hair from the whole of the head. Alopecia universalis refers to the loss of all the hair from all parts of the sufferer's body. There are a wide variety of causes of baldness these causes include:

Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that typically occurs with people with long hair. These people often have ponytails, cornrows or dreadlocks. The loss of hair occurs when they pull on their hair too vigorously. The excessive force will cause the loss of hair. Typically this type of hair loss is not permanent as the lost hair is replenished with natural growth.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs rapidly often as a result of a trauma. The hair follicles enter a stage of rest at the same time. This can result in some really dramatic experiences of hair loss. Examples of the types of stress that bring telogen effluvium are severe stress, puberty, childbirth and chemotherapy. The condition can affect people of all ages. In most cases this type of hair loss corrects itself and the hair grows back normally. However there is a chronic version of this type of baldness that repeatedly causes hair to fall out.

Iron deficiency

A lack of Iron in the diet causes loss of hair. It is a common reason for mild hair loss. Usually this only results in hair thinning as opposed to complete baldness. Unlike other types of baldness it does occur in any specific areas of the head or in any pattern. It results in a regular hair loss but can be reduced by increasing the intake of iron in a person's diet.

Child birth

During pregnancy the increased levels of circulating oestrogens result in a thicker set of hair. After birth the levels of oestrogen drop and the additional hair growth reverts to normal levels. This can mean that women experience hair loss that can be worrisome and traunmatic. Fortunately it does not result in complete baldness but rather a mild thinning. The fertility stimulating drug clomiphene can also cause thinning of the hair in women.

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