The high incidence of androgenic alopecia is caused by male hormones. Testosterone in the scalp is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes a decrease in the size of the follicles, which inhibits hair growth, ultimately resulting in baldness. However, the hair follicles on the sides and back of the head do not have as much DHT compared to the top, so why hair loss is concentrated on the crown of the head. Interestingly, DHT is known to help grow beard and hair on the chest, which is why most bald men have hairy hair and grow their beards much faster.
Pattern baldness is more common in middle-aged men, but signs can actually begin as early as the mid-1920s. Once hair loss begins, it usually takes about 15-25 years for most men with this condition to lose most of their hair. In some cases, however, the progression of the condition can be rapid so that others are already completely bald in just five years.
Alopecia areata. This condition, called uneven hair loss, is the opposite of pattern baldness. While in the first thinning hair follows a pattern, alopecia areata is marked by smooth, bald patches all over the scalp. The bald patches are circular and can be as small as a pencil eraser or as big as a quarter. It begins with one or two points that multiply on other parts of the head. The disease is caused by an autoimmune disease where antibodies confuse the hair as “enemies” and begin to attack it, causing hair loss.
Alopecia total / universalis. It is a very serious type of alopecia areata also caused by an autoimmune disorder. Compared to the first, however, it is marked by the loss of an entire head of hair (total alopecia) or hair loss on the entire body (universal alopecia).
Cicatricial alopecia. This type of hair loss is caused by a range of skin disorders, usually on the scalp that attacks the follicles permanently. When there is an infection on the scalp, for example, scars occur, which makes it impossible for the follicles to grow the hair. People with this condition usually have red and bald spots on their head.
Alopecia traction. Unlike the other two that are caused by genetic or natural factors, this condition is self-induced and occurs mostly in women. Hair loss occurs because of the continuous and constant pull on the hair that puts pressure on the follicles. The pressure on the hair, caused by wearing tight hairstyles, braiding, weaving or even hair treatments like whitening, causes the follicles to loosen their grip on the tree and eventually cause the hair to fall. hair, leaving bald spots on the scalp or very thin strands of hair.
Involutional alopecia. This is less a medical condition (it is not caused by a disease or genetics) and is more concerned with the hair growth cycle. Also called telogen effluvium, this condition is marked by a long dormant phase of telogen growth or anagen. This type of hair loss is the second most common next to pattern baldness but is also the most unpredictable and difficult to identify its cause. Studies have shown that the dormancy phase in the hair growth cycle is linked to a range of factors, including hormonal imbalances, pregnancy in women, stress, diet, etc.
Main causes of hair loss
Although some conditions are medically related, others are caused by more natural or unnatural factors. And unknown to most of us, many of these elements can serve as a trigger that will cause us to lose our hair or the factor that can aggravate or worsen your existing condition.
Food. Hair growth depends on the nutrients that the body has of many like most psychological functions, so the absence of certain nutrients, as well as excess or overproduction of some, may affect the hair’s growth cycle.
A diet that is poor or lacks certain nutrients, especially iron, protein and vitamin B, which are essential in the production of keratin, can cause a long telogen phase and a very short anagenic stage. On the other hand, an excess reserve of vitamin A in the body, especially those taken by supplements, can be toxic and can cause a range of adverse effects of the body, including loss of appetite, fatigue and, consequently, hair loss.
Some foods have also been found to aggravate or worsen hair loss, such as sugar that triggers the overproduction of the male hormone, the androgen, which in turn causes hair follicles to shrink and hair to fall. or stop growing. Fish products that contain high levels of mercury such as tuna, mackerel and swordfish can also cause sagging hair and excessive hair loss. Studies have also revealed that fried foods are associated with the production of high levels of DHT.
Body activity. Stress caused by physical or emotional trauma, such as surgery or psychological stress, can lead to loss of body and can be negatively affected, including hair loss. Diets that cause sudden weight loss can also cause physiological trauma that can lead to hair loss and be thinning.
However, stress-related hair loss is more common in women than men and is more temporary than a permanent case of hair loss. In cases where the body is under extreme stress, hair loss occurs from 3 weeks to 6 months after the event.
Medical conditions and medicines. A common health condition that also causes hair loss is hypothyroidism, which can occur in men and women. Patients suffer from an underactive thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing the hormone, thyroxine which exerts important body functions, such as the regulation of body temperature, the correct use of carbohydrates and fats and the protein production. Since protein is an important nutrient for keratin production, insufficient protein intake in the body due to an underactive thyroid means that hair growth in the follicles is slow. In men, in particular, hair loss is one of the first signs of
Those who take medication for high blood pressure, such as blood thinners, and for depression may also experience temporary hair loss.
Chemotherapy is also one of the leading causes of baldness among cancer patients, both men and women. Although not all chemotherapy treatments result in hair loss, some involving the use of drugs such as Altretamine, Carboplatin, Docetaxel, and Idarubicin can cause thinning of the hair and hair loss. In such cases, hair loss varies from one person to another and the dosage of the drugs administered. Hair loss does not happen at once, but rather after several weeks of treatment until the rate of hair loss increases after one or two months of exposure to chemotherapy.
Hair practices. Our hair is one of the most elastic and strong parts of our body. A strand of healthy hair can be twice as strong as a copper wire of similar thickness. However, not all hair types are equal. Unfortunately, hair care and styling practices can lead to scalp damage and unnecessary pressure on hair follicles, resulting in hair breakage and loss.
Natural hair that is subjected to constant physical trauma resulting from excessive brushing or combing, tight braids or extreme hairstyles or scratches or massage may cause hair distortion in the temples and stop growing ‘to its normal length. Clean shaving, especially for men, can cause white bumps to appear on the area where the hair has been shaved and sometimes can be infected by a cat and leave permanent scars, which affects hair growth.
Shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, bleach, gels, and permanent stabilizers may contain chemicals that can damage the scalp and rupture the shaft. which causes a thinning of the hair. Beware of these products that contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic, thallium, meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) and lead. These chemical ingredients can manipulate and disrupt the natural cycle of hair growth, for example, shorten the anagen growth phase. Hair procedures such as hair relaxation and permanent waving, while not leading to permanent hair loss.
In fact, treatments and hair loss treatments are a hundred dozen. There are remedies designed for temporary conditions of hair loss, and others are available for permanent cases. It is also important to note that some of these remedies are specific to the cause and type of hair loss, and other treatments do not apply to other cases such as baldness. We have listed them, in the same way, to give you a good idea of the range of choices available.
These treatments are grouped into three types: Drugs for Hair Loss, Cosmetic and Surgical Treatments, and Natural Remedies. Most, if not all, are designed to slow the shedding of your hair, promote growth and, in some cases, hide hair loss.
Drugs for hair loss
Minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil is one of the most common and popular forms of medications for hair loss, especially pattern baldness, but commonly used in cases of alopecia areata. This is an over-the-counter medication that comes in liquid or foam form and applied to the scalp, especially on bald spots to promote hair growth and stop hair loss.
Minoxidil is usually included in a dose of 2% and 5%. With the first, hair growth is not visible until the fourth month (16 weeks) of use, but it could be faster with the 5% dosage. This is particularly effective, especially if you have not been bald for more than 5 years, Your bald patches are less than 10 cm wide, and most importantly, if the bald spots still have tiny and thin hairs. Studies have shown that people who have used minoxidil have experienced minimal or moderate hair growth. The new hair is usually soft, but with continued use, it will increase in thickness like the rest of the hair.
Take note, however, that this is not a permanent cure. Once the drug is stopped, the follicles go back to what they were before treatment. In addition, this does not work for all cases of pattern baldness – only about 35% of men reported noticeable growth. Doctors suggest that the use of the drug be stopped if there is no regrowth in a year.
Although the drug is generally safe, some possible side effects are mild irritation of the scalp, dryness and hair growth on certain parts of the body, especially the sides of the face and hands. In some cases, you may see an increase in hair loss around the first few days of use. If hair loss continues after two weeks after applying minoxidil, stop treatment first and seek medical attention.
Finasteride (Propecia). The drug is recommended only for male use and is in pill form. The drug essentially slowed hair loss while promoting progressive hair growth. The drugs work by stopping the enzyme, type 5-alpha 5-reduction, which is known to produce DHT. The dosage is one pill a day, and it has been found effective on 80% of men. Like minoxidil, it works best if bald spots still have tiny, thin hairs. The results are visible within six to three months, and studies of those who continued using for two years show longer, thicker hair than those who used it for a short time only.
It is generally safe, although some side effects noted are decreased sexual drive and temporary impotence that decreases with long-term use of the drug. Women are strictly prohibited from taking finasteride or touching the tablets, as studies have shown that it can lead to the feminization of a male fetus during pregnancy.
Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are another form of medication used to treat alopecia areata. Since hair loss is caused by an autoimmune disease, the steroid works by preventing the immune system from attacking the hair follicles and, as a result, trigger hair growth.
Liquid corticosteroids are injected into the scalp every four to six weeks and are used to treat small patches of baldness. This can be painful and uncomfortable, and although it is effective, there have been studies that have revealed that one of its long-term side effects is premature baldness.
Creams and ointments of corticosteroids are also available and are applied directly to the area of the scalp where there is unequal baldness. Common forms of topical steroids are betamethasone, hydrocortisone, and mometasone. Some possible side effects include thinning and dryness of the skin and noticeable acne production.
Oral or tablet steroids are also available, but they are not usually prescribed because of known side effects such as diabetes and ulcers.
Contact immunotherapy. Another drug that can be given for cases of alopecia areata is contact immunotherapy and is recommended for severe cases. Diphenylcyclopropenone (DPCP) is applied to the scalp weekly, and the dose of the drug increases over time until a mild allergic reaction is observed, indicating that the drug is taking effect. Harvesting can be observed within three months of starting treatment.
Although it is generally safe like minoxidil and finasteride, the visible side effects are rashes (contact dermatitis) and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area.
Thyroid medication. Hair loss as a result of thyroid problems will only be solved by treating the cause of the root. This means that you need to take medication for hypothyroidism to remedy the hormonal imbalance in the body. The most common medication for thyroid problems is levothyroxine, a synthetic version of thyroxine (thyroid hormone). Since the drug is used to indirectly solve the problem of the thyroid and hair loss, the medication should be continued even when you have improved or your hormone level has returned to normal to continue hair growth.
However, look for signs that you may have too much thyroid hormone, such as tremor, a general feeling of restlessness, heart palpitations, and excessive sweating. An overdose of the thyroid hormone can lead to osteoporosis and a heart attack.
Cosmetic and surgical treatments
Hair transplantation / surgery. A hair transplant or surgery is the fastest treatment for permanent cases of hair loss, although the most expensive. In pattern baldness, for example, where the top of the head is the most affected area, a hair transplant allows the surgeon to use the existing hair to implant it into the bald sections of the head. It works by removing a grafted or follicular sample in some parts of the head that still have hair (usually it’s the back of the head because this area is the most resistant to hormonal changes) and setting up this graft in the bald areas.