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Hair Loss

conditions & causes

At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person's scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. This life cycle is divided into three phases:


  • Anagen - active hair growth that generally lasts between two to eight years

  • Catagen - transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks

  • Telogen - resting phase that lasts about two to three months; at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.

 

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia is another term for male or female pattern baldness. It is a very common cause of hair loss.
Both male and female pattern baldness is genetic. Males tend to lose hair from the temples and crown of the head. In females, hair usually becomes thinner all over the head.
Androgenetic alopecia is more likely to happen as a person ages but can start at any point after puberty. Many females who experience androgenetic alopecia develop it after going through the menopause. This means that hormones may have something to do with it.

Pregnancy

Some women may experience excessive hair loss usually around 3-6 months after giving birth. This is due to a decrease in oestrogen levels. This type of hair loss is a temporary condition and usually resolves within a year or sooner.

Diet

Our diet can play a significant role in the growth of healthy hair. It is important to remember that a healthy scalp supports healthy hair. The hair grows from the scalp thanks to a rich environment of vitamins and nutrients that are obtained through what we eat. For this reason, it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet. Hair growth supplements can help if you are not getting all the nutrients that hair needs, such as zinc, iron, biotin, or vitamin D. It is also important to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement if you have a medical condition or health concern that is being monitored.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a disease, that develops when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles. This causes hair to fall out and prevent new hair from growing. Hair from the scalp typically falls out in small patches and is not painful. Hair in other parts of the body, including the eyebrows and eyelashes, may also fall out.

Environmental

Newer research is showing that our environment can also impact our hair. Beyond hair styling, elements in our surrounding environment such as air pollutants and minerals in water may impact the quality of the hair and potentially contribute to thinning.
Sun exposure and common hair styling practices such as dyes, heat, and chemical straighteners can weaken the hair shaft and also play a role.

Medications

Hair loss is a common side effect of many prescription medications. Most of the time, these drugs only cause temporary hair loss that goes away once you’ve adjusted to or stopped taking the medicine. These medications damage the hair follicles themselves, disrupting growth at different stages. (Check with your doctor or side effects from the leaflet)

Also hormone therapies can trigger imbalances in women, causing hair loss. Birth control pills used for contraception and hormone replacement therapies (HRT).

Trichotillomania

People with trichotillomania pull their hair out and find it difficult to stop. This results in hair loss on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Hair often returns if the behaviour is stopped, but hair loss can be permanent if the pulling continues. Inflammation from pulling can destroy hair follicles. Once destroyed, a hair follicle cannot grow hair.

COVID-19

Although not officially listed as a symptom of Coronavirus, a wave of women have come forward with claims of hair loss as a result of having the virus.
Jenny Pitt spoke to Elle Magazine to explain her personal experience with hair loss and Covid19. Jenny is now recovering, and has shared her story here: https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/hair/longform/a36858/female-hair-loss/