What causes hair loss?
Hair loss, or alopecia, is a common disorder and can be due to many
causes. Human hair undergoes phases of growth and rest during their
life span. The growth phase is called anagen; 80% of the scalp hair
is in this phase at any point of time. 20% of the hair is in the
sleeping phase called telogen. It has been estimated that the scalp
normally contains about 100,000hairs. Therefore, the average number
of hairs that can be lost in a day is about 100. Hair loss can be of
several different types, including alopecia areata (temporary hair
loss in a coin-shaped patch), telogenef fluvium (temporary hair loss
secondary to a stressor on the system), and androgenetic alopecia
(male-pattern hair loss). The most common, male pattern hair loss is
seen during the 20s or early 30s by gradual loss of hair, chiefly on
the top of the head and in the angles at the frontal hairline. It is
thought to be due to the male hormone combined with genetic factors.
Is stress a factor in hair loss?
Stress does not cause hair loss, but it aggravates the condition. A
type of hair loss called as Telogen effluvium occurs after an insult
to the system. The most common cause is pregnancy. This can result
in extensive and worrisome hair loss in women in the first few
months after the birth of a baby. It is, however, temporary and
What is DHT and how is it involved in hair loss?
DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is an active form of the male hormone
testosterone. Studies suggest that DHT levels can harm hair
follicles in a genetically predisposed person, eventually causing
baldness. The chemical conversion of testosterone to DHT, if blocked
can prevent hair loss. There are hair restoration products that
target this reaction. Few examples are finasteride, a prescription
medicine and an active ingredient in Propecia. Finasteride blocks
the chemical reaction that converts testosterone into DHT, thereby
making the hair follicles active again make new hairs.
What is the relationship between genetics and hair loss?
Although not the primary cause of male-pattern hair loss, genetics
does have a significant role in male-pattern hair loss. It is,
however, polygenic, in that there is more than one factor at work.
It is not clear whether having an affected mother or an affected
father predisposes descendants to greater risks.
Can hair loss occur in young adults?
Male-pattern hair loss typically is seen from 20s and early 30s, but
can also be found as early as 15. Hair loss in young adults may also
be due to other causes like Alopecia areata and telogen effluvium,
can occur in children as young as one year of age. Genetic factors
may also contribute to hair loss.
What can be the cause of a sudden loss of a large mass of hair?
Sudden loss of large mass of hair can be due to stress caused by
illness, high fever, pregnancy, extreme weight loss or gain, and
drug use; however, it is temporary and reversible. This happens
when the hair cycle is disrupted and more hair shifts to the resting
phase. This type of hair loss is temporary and full re growth should
Do shampoos and other hair products cause hair loss?
Some strong chemicals or products that may cause allergy can initiate
hair loss. Shampoos are designed to be as safe as possible. However,
the sensitivity may differ from person to person. Caustic hair dyes,
straighteners, and other products can certainly cause inflammation
of the scalp and result in hair loss.
Can my hairstyle cause my hair to
Certain hairstyles can contribute to hair loss, most notably styles
involving tight braids or pull-backs. This form of hair loss is
called traction alopecia. This occurs when the hair is pulled
tightly back and fastened at the base of the skull, or braided into
tight braids or rows. Exposure to this type of hairstyle over long
periods can result in a scarring alopecia, with no potential for