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Why am I losing my hair?

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Realisation that you are losing your hair can be a discomforting but the fact is that there are many causes of hair loss and discovering the specific cause of your hair loss may be difficult without a professional examination. There are several common reasons why you may be losing your hair, however, and becoming educated on hair loss may help you rule out some possibilities.

First of all, make sure that what you’re experiencing is actually hair loss. Most people lose about 50-100 hairs a day, but everyone’s hair is different. Sometimes if your hair is very dry and brittle, it can break off in the middle so that you shed more hair than you normally do, but the hair follicles in this case are still intact. If you think that’s the problem, try a moisturising shampoo and conditioner, stop using your hot-air blow dryer, and don’t comb your hair when it’s wet to reduce damage.

If damaged hair isn’t the problem, then your hairstyle may be. Putting too much tension on your hair can cause it to break or be pulled out.  Constantly putting your hair up in tight braids, clips, cornrows, or any other tight, restrictive style pulls at your follicles leading to traction alopecia, or hair loss from traction-trauma. Putting a halt to these damaging hairstyles at the first sign of hair loss may stop the hair loss problem, but if the follicles are too damaged it could be permanent. Even if those hairs are permanently damaged, ceasing those tight hairstyles will still stave off further destruction to your hair.

Stress can cause problems with hair growth as well. When your hair grows, it grows in two stages: resting and growing. When your system suffers a shock like child-birth or you are severely stressed or otherwise emotionally distraught, your hair follicles can go into a type of hibernation. In other words, more hairs than usual will go into the telogen or restive state. About three months later this stage will be over and, if your cause of stress or trauma is also finished, then your hairs will move into their growing or anagen phase. At this point, all of the dead hairs in the telogen state will be pushed out by the newly growing hairs, making it seem like you have a lot of hair loss all at once when in fact you have a lot of hair rebirth. This condition is called telogen effluvium and most people have experienced it at some point in their life.

Genetics may also be part of your problem. If you’re a man and you’re experiencing a receding hairline or hair loss which leaves the sides and back intact in a sort of horseshoe pattern, or you’re a woman and the top of your hair is thinning in a Christmas tree pattern, then chances are you have male- or female-pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition in which androgens, a hormone, trigger the increased production of dihydrotestosterone. DHT then shrinks hair follicles so that the hairs stop growing because they are no longer receiving the nutrients they need.

If your hair loss is not gradual, started falling out suddenly, and falls out in patches, then it could be a case of an autoimmune disease called alopecia areata. This is a more serious condition in which all the hair on your entire body may fall out as your own white blood cells attack your hair follicles. Sometimes it reverses on its own and sometimes it results in permanent hair loss. This is a very rare disease, effecting only about 2% of the population, but if you are experiencing patchy and fast-paced hair loss then see your doctor or a dermatologist.

Each person’s hair is unique as are the individual’s circumstances and genetics. If you are concerned about your hair loss, consult your doctor or dermatologist to find out the precise nature of your hair loss and to explore options to prevent further damage.

Read more in the Hair Transplant Surgery Information Guide

Further Information about Hair Loss




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