From about 100,000 hair claimed to be present on human scalp, a routine loss of 100 hair per day should not cause palpable amount of hair loss. But excessive hair loss – more than 100 hair – can be due to a lot of causes like heredity, aging, diseases, medical side effects, stress, etc. Sometimes hair loss is temporary and sometimes it is permanent.
There are a variety of causes for hair loss.
- Cicatricial alopecia – due to infection caused by bacteria/fungal growth, lichen planus, cutaneous discoid lupus, and scleroderma and traumatic injuries like mechanical, themal, chemical, electrical burns, traction, trichotillomania injuries etc.
- As people age, hair loss is common with thinning hair.
Hereditary hair loss
- Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) (male pattern hair loss) – Some people are susceptible to hair loss due to inherited tendency from paternal, maternal genes. This makes them more sensitive to hormones called androgens which cause shrinking and weakening of hair follicles that result in hair loss.
- Female pattern hair loss – somewhat similar to AGA; but occurs after menopause but sometimes even earlier; due to hormonal changes.
- Alopecia areata; Alopecia totalis – due to immune system malfunction resulting in hair growth cycle disruption.
Physical trauma or mental stress related
- Telogen effluvium; Chronic Telogen effluvium – hair loss as reaction to incidences of physical stress and mental trauma like
- Sudden blood loss.
- Major illness/injury.
- High fever.
- Severe infection.
- Major surgery.
- Severe emotional or mental stress.
- Crash diet, anorexia and bulimia.
- From side effects of medications like
- Beta blockers/calcium channel blockers.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Some antidepressants.
- Birth control pills.
Medical condition related
Hair loss can happen due to diseases like
- Thyroid disease.
- Untreated ringworm of scalp.
Hair loss can happen due to wrong type of hair-care like
- Bleaching/dyeing frequently and improperly.
- Frequent use of hair-care devices like flat irons, blow-driers etc.
- Banding hair tightly with clips, bands, pulling back tightly.
- Anagen effluvium – due to chemotherapy.
- Diet deficient in iron, protein and vitamin C & K ,zinc, etc can cause hair loss.
- Due to hair shaft defect-hair fracture,hair nodes,hair narrowing, hair bands,unruly hair.
With hair being crowning glory and definitely a part of our personality, losing hair is a tough proposition, almost like losing part of your persona. With the right diagnosis and correct treatment protocol, hair loss can be managed successfully.
- American Hair Loss Association – Hair Loss Summary view
- WebMD – Hair Loss Causes view
- Mayo Clinic – Causes of Hair Loss view
- NHS UK – Hair Loss Causes view
- National Institute of Health Pubmed – Hair Loss view
- University of Maryland Medical Center – Hair Loss Overview view
- American Association of Dermatology – hair Loss view