There are many different types and reasons for hair-loss but many are curable or avoidable. It is normal to lose about 40 to 60 hairs a day. If you have straight hair you will shed these all over the place and not notice it too much. If you have curly hair the hairs that you moult in this way tend to tangle with the rest of your hair and only come away when you comb or brush it. This can make you feel that you're going bald if you don't do this often!
As we said there are many types of hair-loss so we have attempted to list them all to help you find the one that's relevant to your condition. The tips on what to do about each one are only a brief guide. During the research for this area of VirtualHairCare we have had to wade through enormous amounts of information to say the least. This is not normally the realm of our hairdressing-based staff and is usually dealt with by a group of professionals called trichologists.
General Thinning of the hair (Telogen effluvium)
Hair is a very sensitive barometer or reflection of what's happening on the inside. Excessive hair loss is almost always the result of an internal disturbance. Telogen effluvium is defined as sudden onset, diffuse (all over) hair loss. The cause of this form of hair loss can usually be traced to a triggering factor 2-3 months prior. These are some of the different causes:
- Fevers: especially where the temperature has exceeded 38.5C.
- Severe vomiting & diarrhoea.
- Rapid weight loss/'crash' dieting.
- Following childbirth.
- Severe emotional shock.
- Surgery: particularly involving blood loss.
- Stopping or changing oral contraceptives.
- Commencing some prescription medication.
Telogen effluvium is considered a temporary, self-correcting hair loss which normally recovers within six months of initial onset.
Is a microscopic mite, has also been associated with hair thinning or loss. It was originally discovered by Richard Owens in the 1840s and has long been known to inhabit the scalp, eyebrows and forehead area. However, NIOXIN Research Laboratories first discovered a link between the presence of thinning hair and demodex in 1997. It has since been corroborated in a study done by Tulane University in 1999.
Demodex is not present on every person's scalp. This tiny, almost microscopic organism, produces a digestive enzyme called lipase. Lipase is needed in order for the demodex to break down and feed on the sebum produced by the sebaceous gland. Scalp skin with excessive amounts of sebum appears to be the most likely to have demodex colonies. This ecto-parasite has a hard outer shell, which the oily sebum sticks to tenaciously. Demodex robs the developing hair of essential nutrients by feeding on the sebum. It is believed that demodex is born, lives, reproduces and dies within 15 days in the hair follicle. Demodex folliculorum is an alien to the follicle and the lipase it produces is believed to adversely affect the quality, condition and appearance of your hair. The presence of demodex has also been associated with inflammation, which is believed to also shorten hair's life cycle.
Studies at Tulane University have confirmed a link between demodex and thinning hair. Although demodex is not present on every scalp, the study found that demodex was present on 88 percent of men and women studied with thinning hair. Demodex was not found on 91 percent of men and women studied with normal hair density. Current studies indicate that African-Americans may not have Demodex.
Poor Blood Circulation:
Poor blood circulation can deprive hair of proper nutrition and ability to remove toxins.
Rough Scalp Treatment:
Mechanical aggression, such as rigorous hair brushing and styling or rough scalp massage. Pulling, twisting and binding hair too tight (including hrzproperly done hair ea-teras,orzs) often cause temporary or even permanent hair loss. Improper scalp hygiene, build-up of conventional hair care and styling products containing resins and polymers on the scalp.
Artificial Hormone Level Changes:
Hair loss has also been found with fluctuations in hormone levels associated with pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause and home treatments (over the counter drugs and oca~siotiurll}~ herbal supplements).
Stress is the modern cause of almost all ailments or so it feels sometimes, but it can be a factor in hair loss or aggravate another hair loss problem. It can trigger genetic hair loss in men and women who have the inherited trait to develop it. This is believed to occur because under stress the body produces increased amounts of androgens (male hormone-like substances), whilst other hormones influence the hair follicles in the scalp's genetically-sensitive area.
Commonly, severe or prolonged stress will 'tip the balance' when a person has a nutritional deficiency or generally poor diet, or has a medical problem that could adversely affect the hair. The result being that you might complain to have been losing your hair for some time, but that loss has been dramatically increased whilst you have been 'under stress'.
Lack of sleep
Sleep plays an important role in allowing the body to repair and regenerate. One in four of us suffer from some form or sleep problem!
Alterations in the sleep-wake cycle have been shown to affect the body systems including immune function, hormone secretion, physical and mental/emotional stamina. Shift work or permanent night duty disrupts the body's circadian rhythms, thought to be a contributing factor in the development of chronic conditions such as peptic ulcers of the stomach.
The hair is very sensitive to changes within the body, and hair loss is nearly always the consequence of an internal disturbance. Autoimmune problems such as hair loss and psoriasis are known to be exacerbated by stress; daytime fatigue and emotional distress are the most commonly reported symptoms of sleep deprivation.
If you are concerned about hair loss it is important you consult a qualified trichologist or medical practitioner. These professionals are specialists in hair and scalp problems. Please go to our trichology section for more information.
Acknowlegements: The sections on Demodex Folliculorum, Poor circulation, Rough Scalp Treatment and Artificial Hormone Level Changes republished courtesy of "An Educated look into the causes of Hair Loss" by Nioxin Research Laboratories Inc.
Other areas of hairloss in this section you may be interested in:
Inherited Male "Pattern" baldness
What Men need to know about hair and hair loss
Female genetic thinning
Poor Diet Leads to thinning Hair
Lotions and potions
Treatments for baldness: Prescriptions and pharmaceuticals
Hair replacement: Transplant and single hair micrographs
Non-surgical hair replacement: Wigs and hairpieces
Menopause and hair loss
All other causes of hair loss
Hair loss in Pregnancy
Prescription medication and its links to hair loss
Laser treatment for hair loss
Hair Loss in Children and Adolescents
The Trichologist - your hair loss specialist, find out more