Hair is the first and most notable part of anyone’s beauty. It enhances one’s personality and sets the tone for the entire look. A bad hair day is just the worst day. Hair loss is often distressing and can significantly affect the quality of life, ranging from mild hair thinning to total baldness for both men and women.
In a society that places significant value on hair and associates it with attractiveness, a lack thereof can have damaging psychological consequences. Hair loss generally starts after young adulthood and is more common in males than females affecting 80% of males and 50% of females.
Affectees of hair fall often feel they look older than they are and fear social rejection when looking for a romantic partner. Hair loss can significantly impact people’s psychological well-being once they understand that their hair loss puts them at a disadvantage from a social perspective.
What are the Symptoms of Different Types of Hair Fall?
Hair loss may be because of a person’s genetics, which can occur in any part of the body but commonly affects the scalp. On average, the scalp has 1,00,000 hairs that cycle through periods of resting, falling out, regenerating, and growing. A hair growth cycle typically consists of three phases.
1. Anagen Phase
- During this phase, hair grows actively for years.
2. Catagen Phase
- Hair stops growing, separates from its follicle, and lasts ten days.
3. Telogen Phase
- The follicle remains for two to three months, and then the hair disappears.
The next anagen phase begins as the new hair grows in the same follicle. Most people lose 50-100 hairs daily as part of a natural cycle.
But if this cycle is disordered, or if a hair follicle is ruined, hair may begin to fall out more briskly than it is regenerated, which leads to symptoms like:
- Receding Hairline
- Hair falling out in Patches
- Overall Thinning
Dermatologists who specialize in hair and scalp disorders can identify the following type of hair loss and their symptoms:
1. Androgenetic Alopecia (Gradual thinning on top of the head)
- The most generic type of hair loss is hereditary but can be handled with medication or surgery. It is also known as Hereditary pattern baldness. Typical male pattern hair loss is receding front hairline and thinning hair at the top of the head. It can begin at any year in a man’s life, even during his teen years.
- The interaction of three factors causes it:
- Tendency toward baldness
- Male hormones
- Increasing age
- It may be further classified as:
a. Male Pattern Hair Loss-Symptoms
- Hair loss can begin at any time after puberty and progress for years. It begins above the temples and continues around the perimeter and the top of the head.
- It marks a ring of hair along the lowermost part of the scalp.
- Most men with male pattern hair loss eventually become bald.
b. Female Pattern Hair Loss-Symptoms
- Hair slowly becomes thin all over the scalp.
- Most women encounter the natural part of aging.
- Hair thinned dramatically, but it rarely leads to baldness.
2. Tinea Capitis (Circular or Patchy bald Spots)
It is also called scalp ringworm, a fungal infection that can influence the scalp and hair shaft, and it is a common cause of hair loss in teenagers and children.
- Hair falls out in patches, occasionally circular, leading to bald spots that may get bigger if not treated in time. Over time these patches increase and fill with pus.
- Hair gets brittle that breaks easily.
- Scalp tenderness starts
- Scaly patches of skin that look gray or red
- Itchy scalp
- A child with the state may have swollen glands at the back of the neck or a low fever due to the immune system fighting the infection.
3. Telogen effluvium (Sudden loosening of hair)
- This is a type of sudden hair loss that starts because of the following reasons:
- Emotional or physical shock
- Traumatic event
- Major body stress
- Serious and prolonged illness
- Serious infection
- Major Surgery
- It does not lead to complete baldness, though you may fall short of 300 to 500 hairs per day; also, hair may become thin, especially at the temples and crown.
- Considered amounts of hair decrease from all parts of the scalp and may be found on a pillow or in the shower tub.
- Hair loss normally causes overall hair thinning, but it is temporary.
- Hair fall may last for a few years in some people.
4. Alopecia Areata (Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp)
This is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system intervenes healthy tissues, including the hair follicles. As a result, hair falls out without warning, resulting in bald patches and preventing new hair from snowballing. Sometimes it may lead to complete hair loss.
It looks like the sudden onset of smooth, round, hairless patches on the scalp or hair loss starts suddenly, usually with one or more circular overlapping bald patches.
Other than losing hair on the scalp, some people lose hair from their eyebrows, eyelashes, or other body parts.
5. Anagen effluvium (Full-body hair loss)
It involves rapid hair loss, usually because of radiation treatment/ chemotherapy. Usually, hair will regrow once the treatment stops.
These treatments kill cancer cells but may also stop hair follicle production in the scalp and other body parts.
- Once chemotherapy ends, hair usually grows back on its own.
Why is my Hair Falling Out?
There are so many triggers, which means it can be challenging to pinpoint why your strands are falling out and, subsequently, how to remedy the situation. You can lose your hair due to factors like:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions
- The standard part of aging
- Underlying chronic health conditions like lupus
Causes of Hair Loss
1. Family History (Heredity)
This is the most common cause of hair fall that happens with aging and is also called Androgenic Alopecia.
2. Hormonal Changes and Medical Conditions
- Hormones play a significant role in regulating the hair growth cycle. Studies (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology) have revealed that patients face hair loss because of changes in the hormonal balance that may disturb due to the following reasons:
- Menopause and thyroid problems
- Birth Control Pills
- Medical conditions include Alopecia Areata, which is related to the immune system. It causes patchy hair loss, a hair-pulling disorder, and scalp infections such as ringworm.
3. Medications and Supplements
Hair fall can be a side effect of some drugs, such as those used for gout, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis, depression, and heart problems. Many medication classes may promote hair loss. Such as:
- Certain blood thinners
- Blood-pressure drugs (beta-blockers)
- Methotrexate (used to treat rheumatic conditions and some skin conditions)
- Lithium (used for bipolar disorder)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
4. Radiation Therapy to the Head
- Hair loss from radiation treatment or chemotherapy will usually regrow after the treatment stops.
- Chemotherapy is like a nuclear bomb. It rapidly destroys cancer cells but also rapidly divides cells like hair.
- Often hair comes back with a different texture, like curly, when before it was straight or otherwise.
5. A Very Stressful Event
One cannot deny that excess stress can make your hair fall out. Scalp problems that can harm hair can be triggered due to stress. Stress can result in the following:
- Disrupted eating habits
- Unhealthy gut or digestive system
Stress may be Physical and Psychological, which can cause hair loss.
- Physical Stress
- As physical stress is often temporary, the hair loss subsides as the body heals, and this may be due to the following:
- High fevers
- For example, in the case of COVID-19, rather than the disease itself, stress can cause hair loss (according to the AAD).
- Blood loss
- Hair loss is seen more commonly once a baby has been delivered rather than during pregnancy. If you experience hair loss after pregnancy, it is a normal trend, and rest assured that your hair will grow back in a couple of months.
- Psychological Stress
- Hair loss is often overlooked due to the medical nature of offending conditions. The psychosocial impact is more severe in females when compared to males. Treating the psychological aspects can improve patient care and patient outcomes.
- Many people complain about losing hair at times of:
- Extreme Mental stress
- Emotional trauma
- Excess emotional trauma can disrupt the normal cycle of hair growth. Generally, average hair growth is usually restored once the stress is under control.
- When you’re dealing with life-changing events, like a divorce or a breakup with your partner, financial problems like bankruptcy, the loss of a home, or the death of a loved one, you may also have to face hair loss.
Note: Hair loss because of a stressful event commonly occurs within three to six months, and your hair fall is restored once the event passes.
In a society that highly values physical appearance, many patients need psychological support to overcome the effects of their condition.
6. Hairstyles and Treatments
- Intense styling and hair therapy can cause your hair to fall out. This affects the hair root, and your hair might not grow back. Also, If scarring occurs, then hair loss could be permanent. Vigorous styling includes
- Tight braids
- Hair weaves
- Chemical relaxers
- Straighten your hair
- Hot-oil treatments
- Any kind of bleak chemical or high heat.
- Other than avoiding above mentioned styles and treatments, try to use conditioner after taking a bath and let your hair air dry. Moreover, restrict the time to use curly iron, and also use heat-driven products no more than once a week.
Excessive hairstyling pulls your hair tight like cornrows and can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. If scarring occurs, then rest assured, hair loss could be permanent. Hot-oil hair treatments also can cause hair to fall out.
Why is my Hair Falling Out (Female)?
Hair fall reasons in females are the same as in males, except that hair loss tends to occur in a different pattern. It mainly occurs due to hormones, aging, and genetics.
- Hair thins out mainly on the crown and top.
- Starts as a widening of the center of the hair part. It is also known as the Christmas tree hair fall pattern.
- The front hairline is not affected.
- Rarely progresses to complete baldness.
- If it is androgenic, the hair on the head is thinner compared to the face.
Why is my Hair Falling out in Clumps?
Physical or emotional stress, medication, and underlying medication conditions are possible reasons for Telogen effluvium. It is usually customary to lose 100 hair strands every day.
How to Reduce Hair Fall?
The following tips may help you to reduce your hair fall:
- Gently brush and comb your hair, especially when it is wet. A wide-toothed comb might help to prevent pulling out hair.
- Avoid harsh treatments like hot rollers, curling irons, and hot-oil treatments.
- Protect your hair from direct sunlight and other ultraviolet light.
- Stop smoking.
- Cooling can reduce your risk of losing hair during chemotherapy.
- Try to use a conditioner after shampooing and let your hair air dry.
- They minimize stress.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Hair loss because of fungal infections can be prevented by keeping it clean, and never sharing hats, combs, or brushes with other people.
- Hair loss from hereditary-pattern baldness can even be sometimes prevented by medication.
Medications and Treatment
So, now here are some medications and treatments by using which you can deal with your hair loss issue.
- Take more protein
Hair is made of protein so use an adequate daily intake of essential protein-rich foods.
- Essential Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates provide our hair with the energy it needs to grow. The energy available to hair cells drops after four hours, so eat fresh fruit and whole wheat crackers if there is a gap of more than four hours between meals.
- Head Massage
Head massage stimulates blood flow to the area. Hair oils make the hair stronger from the roots. Applying the right oil helps to gain the strength of your hair.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)
This procedure involves drawing your blood, spinning it down, and then inserting your platelets back into the scalp to stimulate hair growth.
- Use of Iron supplement
There isn’t any authentic study that says taking iron will regrow your hair. But supplements, such as biotin and folic acid, promote thickening hair.
- Hair Transplant
It could be a permanent solution, in which a doctor removes a strip of hair from one part of the scalp and then implants it in an area where hair is missing. The graft regrows like your natural hair.
- To Treat Female Pattern Baldness
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the only pill to regrow hair, as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration to treat female pattern baldness. A significant amount of hair can grow back by using this, giving it a thicker appearance. Apply minoxidil to your scalp every day (for 6-12 months for better results).
The following side effects may occur: Itching, Hair growth in areas such as on the cheeks, Redness, and Dryness.
- To Treat Male Pattern Baldness
Finasteride and dutasteride are FDA-approved medicines to treat male pattern hair loss. Side effects may include: Hot flashes, Decreased sex drive, and Headaches.
How to Regrow Hair?
There is no magic bullet for growing hair, but studies have shown that herbs and steroids may help promote new growth.
Home Remedies for Hair Growth
Some people have found some natural treatments to be effective while trying to regrow hair at home. Some of the natural hair growth treatments are:
- Aloe vera
- Coconut oil
- Fish oil
- Onion juice
- Rosemary oil
- Geranium oil
Things to Avoid When You Have Alopecia Areata
Do not use grains, legumes, nightshades (such as potatoes and peppers), dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, sugar, oil, and food additives.
FAQs About Hair Fall Answered by Your Doctors’ Online Team
There are a lot of misapprehensions and myths about it. No scientific evidence supports masturbation as the cause of hair loss.
Foods good to combat hair loss are usually rich in vitamins and proteins. The vitamins for hair loss include biotin, keratin, Iron, B complex, and folic acid. These include eggs, berries, spinach, and fish. You can also discuss hair loss medications like Minoxidil and Finasteride with your doctor.
It is not always possible to reverse hair loss, but you can slow down the process. This can be achieved through a healthy, nutritious diet, proper hair care, and medications that help with the cause of hair loss.
Identifying the reason for hair loss and treating it can help slow down or even regrow hair. If the reason is fungal, antifungal treatment will help. If there are other causes of hair loss, dietary modifications, reducing stress, medications, and surgical procedures like transplant, PRP, or laser can help. Always discuss any treatment with your doctor first.
Hair Loss in women can occur with various medications, especially birth control pills, thyroid medications, NSAIDs, antidepressants, and blood thinners. However, it is a rare side effect. Always discuss the side effects of drugs with your doctor.
Alopecia is not permanently curable. You can slow down the process or discuss medications and surgical treatments with your doctor that may help hair regrowth.
Little data support the evidence that it helps with hair growth, but it is a natural product and has shown improvement in hair falling out in men and hair falling out in women due to causes like age, stress, or genetics.
The reasons could be multiple, including :
1. Hair Loss due to stress
2. Hair loss due t hair treatments
3. Fungal infections
4. Lack of nutrients
6. Alopecia areata
8. PCOS in females