Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention
These effects are similar with women too, and while hair loss in men can typically result in complete baldness, hair loss experienced by women typically manifests itself in the form of thinning on the top of the head. Unlike male pattern baldness though, it’s not quite fully understood yet just what causes it, and whether or not it’s hereditary.
What are Some of the Different Types of Hair Loss?
There are a few different types of hair loss, and each will be dependant on a number of symptoms. Male (and female) pattern baldness is the most common though, affecting around 50% of men by the age of 50.
Along with male and female pattern baldness, the following are some of the different types of hair loss.
Alopecia areata typically manifests itself as large coin-sized bald patches on the scalp or other parts of the body. Hair will typically grow back after a couple of months, and it’s thought that issues with the immune system cause it to occur.
While most commonly affecting people aged between 15 and 29, it can occur at just about any age, and effects roughly 1 in every 500 people.
People who develop alopecia areata may find themselves going on to develop some of the more severe types of alopecia, including alopecia totalis (complete baldness of the scalp) or alopecia universalis (complete baldness of the scalp and the body).
Scarring alopecia usually occurs as a result of other conditions that completely destroy the hair follicles, preventing hair from ever growing back.
Some conditions that are known to cause scarring alopecia include:
— Discoid lupus: Discoid lupus is a skin condition that can cause hair loss, in addition to rough skin.
— Folliculitis decalvans: Folliculitis decalvans is a condition that typically only affects men, and causes balding and scarring.
— Frontal fibrosing alopecia: Frontal fibrosing alopecia can occur with post-menopausal women, and causes irreversible damage to the hair follicles that causes them to fall out and prevents them from growing back.
— Lichen planus: Lichen planus is a rash that affects numerous parts of the body, including the scalp.
— Scleroderma: Scleroderma causes itchy, puffy, and hard skin, and affects the connective tissues of the body.
Telogen effluvium is another type of hair loss, which, while able to come on for many reasons, is most commonly attributed to illness, stress, or hormonal changes. It’s much more likely to manifest itself as thinning hair though rather than bald patches, and in most cases it’ll just affect the hair on the head.
Anagen effluvium is hair loss that’s occurred as a result of chemotherapy, and can occur just about anywhere on the body. This is usually only temporary, and should grow back over time. Often a special cap is used during chemotherapy to help cool the scalp and reduce hair loss.
Is it Possible to Prevent Hair Loss?
Hair loss is most commonly caused by the genetics we inherit from our parents and grandparents, and in this case there’s not really much of anything that can be done to prevent it. For most this is just a natural part of ageing that we have to contend with, same as getting wrinkles and going grey.
Those who don’t have a family history of hair loss though will it’s likely as a result of a specific condition, and will want to consult with a doctor to try and get to the bottom of the issue and treat it.
If you have been experiencing hair loss, then there’s a treatment or two available that may be able to help either slow it down, stop it entirely, or even encourage it to grow back.
What Hair Loss Treatments are Available?
There are all sorts of options available when it comes to treating hair loss in men, and whether it’s in the form of shampoos, ointments, tablets, surgery, or even a good old fashioned wig, there’s something out there that’s ideally suited to just about anyone.
Some of the treatments for hair loss include:
— Caffeine shampoos: Caffeine shampoos exist that can help to slow down the effects of hair loss. While not fully proven in clinical trials just yet, caffeine has been proven to slow down the effects of DHT in a lab.
— Minoxidil: Minoxidil is the main active ingredient in products like Regaine. By applying the lotion to the scalp twice a day, it encourages more blood to flow to the hair follicles, which not only stops hair loss, but also helps lost hair to regrow.
— Finasteride: Finasteride is found in Propecia, or sold under its own name. Much like Minoxidil and caffeine shampoos, it also blocks the effects that DHT has on our hair and encourages growth. Finasteride is predominately used as a treatment for enlarged prostates however, so isn’t readily available from the NHS as a treatment for hair loss, nor suitable for women.
Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery is soon becoming one of the most popular forms of treating hair loss, thanks to the relative straightforwardness of the procedures and high success rates.
There are two main types of hair transplant surgery:
— Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT): Also known as the strip method, a small strip of the scalp is removed from a donor site (typically on the back of the head) and the follicles are harvested from this and grafted into the balding areas of the scalp.
— Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE): Instead of removing a strip of the scalp, FUE treatment removes individual hairs one by one, and implants them one by one back into the treatment area. This allows for much more precision than with the FUT method, and results can look even more natural.
Why Would Someone Choose to Undergo Hair Loss Treatment?
There are some great obvious benefits to hair loss treatment, but under the surface there are some more serious issues that can be corrected by undergoing treatment.
Many of those experiencing hair loss can find it taking a huge psychological toll on their mental health, damaging their confidence and self-esteem as they lose what many consider to be a huge part of their identity. Hair loss treatment can help to remedy this, along with providing some of the following benefits:
— It can boost or restore any lost confidence or self-esteem
— It can restore a more youthful appearance
— It can put you back in control of how you look
— It can improve the overall balance of your facial features