ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BALDNESS (ALOPECIA)
Alopecia (hair loss from the scalp) is the most common kind of baldness. Alopecia can affect your entire body or simply your scalp, and it can be temporary or permanent. It could be caused by inheritance, hormonal changes, medical issues, or simply aging. Men are more likely than women to lose hair on their heads. Men are more likely than women to get this illness. In general, the sooner hair loss begins, the more severe the baldness.
Some people may rather leave their hair loss or baldness untreated and unnoticed. Hairstyles, cosmetics, caps, and scarves may be used to conceal it. Others choose for one of the available treatments to prevent additional hair loss or to restore hair growth.
Generally, hair loss or baldness is believed to be caused by a combination of the following:
- Change in hormones
- Illness leading to shedding of hair (called telogen effluvium)
- Family history of baldness
- Untreated ringworm of the scalp
- Iron or protein deficiency
- Excess vitamin A intake
- Rapid weight loss
- Certain medicines, such as cancer chemotherapy
- Certain medical conditions, such as lupus
Family history (heredity): Hair loss is most commonly caused by a hereditary disorder that develops with age. Androgenic alopecia is also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. A receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women normally happen gradually and in predictable patterns.
Hormonal changes and medical conditions: Hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid disorders can all cause permanent or temporary hair loss.
Medications and supplements: Certain drugs, such as those used to treat cancer, arthritis, depression, heart issues, gout, and high blood pressure, can cause hair loss as a side effect.
Head radiation therapy: Hair may not regrow as quickly as it did before.
A stressful event: Many people notice receding hair several months after suffering a physical or mental trauma. This hair loss is only temporary.
Excess hairdressing: Excess hairdressing or hairstyles that tug your hair firmly, such as pigtails or cornrows, can induce traction alopecia, which is a type of hair loss. Hair loss can also be caused by hot-oil hair care products and permanents. Hair loss could be permanent if scarring develops.
A punch biopsy of the skin, in addition to a medical history and physical assessment, may aid in determining the kind of baldness and/or its origin. If an infection is suspected, a culture may be taken.
The majority of baldness is incurable. Some varieties of baldness will fade away on their own. Treatment options could include:
- Hair-growth medications (minoxidil and finasteride, for example)
- Corticosteroid injections (when treating alopecia areata or other inflammatory diseases that lead to hair loss)
- Hair transplants
- Scalp enlargement
- Flap surgery
- Scalp reduction
- Skin lifts and grafts
- Treatment of any underlying ailment or disease
These tips can help you avoid preventable types of hair loss:
- Take care of your hair. When brushing and combing your hair, use a de-tangler and prevent tugging, especially if your hair is wet. A wide-toothed comb can help keep hair from falling out. Hot rollers, curling irons, hot-oil treatments, and permanents should all be avoided. Rubber bands, barrettes, and braids can cause a lot of tension on your hair.
- Protect your hair from sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light.
- If you’re being treated with chemotherapy, ask your doctor about a cooling cap. This cap can reduce your risk of losing hair during chemotherapy.