By Dr. Atul Taneja, Dermatology,
It is normal for most individuals to lose up to 50-100 strands of hair every day. This is not cause for alarm since new hair will grow right back over a few months. Hair normally grows and sheds in cycles, with each new hair growing and living only for a few years and then shedding off, only to be replaced by a brand new hair from the same hair root.
However, when you start loosing more than 100 strands daily or if your scalp shows obvious thinning, it is time to figure out the cause and take some remedial action. The most common causes of hair fall include:
- Male and female pattern hair loss. This kind of hair fall is driven by genetics and hormones. Males typically loose hair from the front and the crown. Females maintain the frontal hairline but notice hair loss from the top of the head. Early treatment with oral and topical medicines can put a brake on this progressive process. With some newer techniques, a few younger, lucky patients may even notice some regrowth.
- Telogen effluvium. This is sudden, diffuse hair loss and can happen due to many different reasons. Medically speaking, hair is not very important to the body and any sudden trauma, illness or deficiency within the body, causes the hair cycle to be shut down. The hair does not fall immediately but only after several weeks or months after this stress. Luckily this kind of hair fall is reversible with minimum treatment. Be prepared to be a “patient” patient, since several months of treatment is required to allow the hair to gradually grow up from the hair roots situated deep within the skin.
- Anagen effluvium. This is caused by damage to hair roots by anti-cancer medicines, toxic chemicals, and some drugs. This condition is automatically reversed once the cause is removed.
- Alopecia areata. This is caused by a faulty immune system, which, for unknown reasons, attacks the body’s own hair roots. This abnormal immune response can be reversed and regrowth of normal hair can be achieved. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient and may involve applications of creams, injections, lasers, lights and sometimes stronger immune modulators.
- Don’t be afraid to shampoo regularly. Shampoos do not cause hair fall. Avoid tight braids, vigorous combing or vigorous toweling on wet hair. Do not be misled by unscientific advertisements of shampoos, lotions, gadgets etc. Instead, seek proper medical advice. Of course, always maintain a healthy lifestyle and a good, well balanced healthy diet.