Hair loss

Hair loss, also known as alopecia or baldness, refers to a loss of hair from the head or body.[1] Baldness can refer to general hair loss or male pattern hair loss.

hypotrichosis

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).

Terminology

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:

  • Normal Shedding
  • 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:

  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • 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
  • This miniaturization is characteristic of Androgenetic Alopecia in both men and women