Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from the head or body. Baldness can refer to general hair loss or male pattern hair loss.
Hair loss and hypotrichosis have many causes including androgenetic alopecia, fungal infection, trauma (e.g., due to (trichotillomania), radiotherapy, chemotherapy, nutritional deficiencies (e.g., iron deficiency), and autoimmune diseases (e.g., alopecia areata). Hair loss severity occurs across a spectrum with extreme examples including alopecia totalis (total loss of hair on the head) and alopecia universalis (total loss of all hair on the head and body).
Baldness is the partial or complete lack of hair growth, and part of the wider topic of "hair thinning". The degree and pattern of baldness varies, but its most common cause is androgenic alopecia, alopecia androgenetica, or alopecia seborrheica, with the last term primarily used in Europe.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss can result from many factors. Some of these include thyroid disorders, high fever, diet, childbirth, and certain medications. The most common form of scalp hair loss is termed androgenetic alopecia ( AGA, or male and female pattern hair loss ). Examine a shed hair under a microscope will give a clue the cause of hair loss. There are 4 possible findings:
The hair is broken at the shaft
The hair is intact and comes out by the root
The hair is intact but diminished in size
1. Normal Shedding
Unlike animals, hair growth and shedding in human is not synchronous. Scalp follicles do not produce hair continuously. They cycle through a Growth Stage (2-6 years, then regress to a Resting Stage (3-4 months) before starting to grow a new hair fiber again. At any time 80% to 90% of the hair follicles are actively growing on healthy scalp. The other 10% to 20% are at rest and produce no hair fiber. The old hairs are retained by the resting follicles until the next growing phase. These are called telogen hair or club hair, and come off when the sleeping follicles wake up and start producing new hairs. Shedding 25-100 of these club hairs per day is considered part of a Normal Hair Cycle.
2. Hair Loss by Shaft Breakage
This is called Anagen Effluvium. The hair shaft is weakened at certain point and subsequently breaks off. The broken hair has no white end. Possible causes are:
Heavy metal poisoning
Hereditary hair shaft structural abnormalities, present since birth
Infection, usually fungal
Compulsory hair pulling, called Trichotillomania
Sudden body stress, slow down hair fiber production
Improper hair care, such as tight braiding
Cosmetic misuse or improper technique (This includes too much tension during waving; waving solutions left on too long; waving solutions not properly neutralized; bleach applied to already bleached hair; and waving and dyeing of hair on the same day
3. Hair Loss by Root
Less hairs follicles are actively growing and more in the resting phase. The increase of resting follicles produce more club hair. When shed together they cause diffuse hair loss, an is known as Telogen Effluvium. Hair loss usually recover after 4-6 months. Triggering factors include anything that shock the body:
After giving birth (Postpartum effluvium)
After vaccination, crash diets, physical trauma, surgery
Drugs especially antidepressant
Chronic stress and illnesses
Deficiency of vitamin (B6, B12), mineral (zinc, iron), protein
On starting oral contraceptive pills
4. Hair Miniaturization
This is always confused with other kind of hair loss
Companies use the confusion to make money from you, selling all the vitamins, supplement, and hair care products
There is no actual loss of hair
The shaft diameter just diminishes with each hair cycle
Once it falls below 0.04mm, the hair becomes "invisible" to the eyes and the scalp looks bald