| What causes hair loss?
The female pattern baldness or
androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss
accounting for over 95 per cent of cases. A few cases may also have
a genetic predisposition, inherited from the father or mother. The
main culprit for hair loss is the hormone dihydrotestesterone, DHT.
Testosterone, a male hormone (present in small quantity in females)
is converted to DHT by the action of an enzyme called 5-alpha
reductase. It is seen that people with a lot of this enzyme (density
of the enzyme is genetically programmed) make more DHT. DHT binds to
the hair follicles making them dysfunctional and causes hair loss.
The growth phase of the hair is shortened making it fall
prematurely. It also prevents re-growth of new hair.
Unlike male pattern baldness, there is usually a general thinning of
the hair with loss predominantly over the top and sides of the head.
It usually gets worse with the menopause as estrogen level declines
that usually keeps check over testosterone level.
Another common cause of hair loss in women is a condition called
alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that affects more than two
per cent of the population. In this, immune cells mistakenly attack
the hair follicles. The follicles then become very small and hair
production slows down dramatically, so there may be no visible hair
growth for months and years. After some time, hair may grow as
before, come back in patchy areas or not at all.
Can hair loss occur in young adults?
Female pattern hair loss usually occurs after menopause, however,
hormonal imbalance anytime in the life can initiate hair loss.
Family history should also be considered. Alopecia areata and
telogen effluvium, two other forms of temporary hair loss, can occur
in children as young as one year of age. Other precipitating factors
like thyroid problems, pregnancy and birth control pills may also be
What can be the cause of a sudden loss of a large mass of
Sudden loss of large mass of cells may be due to stressors in the
system like illness, high fever, pregnancy, extreme weight loss or
gain, and drug use; however this is temporary in nature and subsides
once the stressors are removed. Theses stressors tend to disrupt the
growth and rest cycle of the hair. As a result more hairs are in the
resting phase instead of growth phase.
Do shampoos and other hair products cause hair loss?
Generally shampoos and other hair products are meant to be safe, but
some people may be hypersensitive to the ingredients and may get an
allergic reaction. Caustic hair dyes, strengtheners, and other
products can certainly cause inflammation of the scalp and result in
Can my hairstyle cause my hair to fall out?
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