Hair loss or alopecia is a form of hair fall that can happen anywhere in the body, but the most common kind occurs on the head. This condition can occur in both males and females. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion out there as to what causes hair fall and what doesn’t. But a lot of it are actually myths that need to be debunked. Here’s helping you separate fact from fiction regarding hair loss.
What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss is a common condition that can occur not only on your scalp, but elsewhere on the body too. Alopecia is seen mostly in adults. But some children can be affected by it too. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, loss of 50 to 100 hairs in a day is normal. New hair is supposed to replace the fallen hair. When that fails to happen, you suffer from hair loss. This condition may be temporary or permanent.
Causes of Hair Loss
Determining the actual cause for your hair loss problem will help your doctor suggest the right kind of treatment for your condition. The most common causes for hair loss are:
- Hormonal changes
- Illnesses or medical conditions
- Physical changes like extreme weight loss
- Certain hairstyles that pull at the roots tightly
- Lack of nutrients like protein & iron in diet
Symptoms of Hair Loss
Hair loss can affect different individuals differently, depending upon the causes of the condition. General symptoms of hair loss can be:
- Gradually thinning hair
- Scaling of the skin of your scalp
- Bald spots in patches
- Sudden loosening of tresses
- Broken hair
Treatment for Hair Loss
Hair loss can be treated in various ways. The treatment generally depends upon the underlying cause of the condition and the symptoms. Doctors are most likely to prescribe medications as the first course of treatment. Common over-the-counter creams and gels contain an ingredient named Minoxidil. Prescribed medications also include corticosteroids like prednisone and oral medication like Finasteride. If medications don’t work on the condition, your doctor might opt for medical procedures. Surgical procedures like hair transplant surgery are generally the chosen way of treating extreme cases of hair loss.
Prevention of Hair Loss:
Though hair loss is mostly caused by genetic disorders, but there are ways to prevent this condition to some extent. Here are a few ways of keeping a check on hair loss:
- Avoiding tight hairstyles
- Avoiding medications or supplements which might have hair loss as side effect
- Quitting smoking
- Being gentle with your hair while washing, cleaning or brushing
- Avoiding extreme heat on hair
- Not using chemical-laden styling products, coloring products, bleaching agents etc.
Debunking Hair Loss Myths:
Hair loss is one of the most common dermatological conditions that could happen to anybody. There are a lot of thoughts, opinions and common myths about hair loss. But it is important to discern the truth from the lies. You need to understand when, why and who it happens to.
- The Myth: Hair thinning exclusively comes from the mother’s or maternal side of the family.The Fact: Scientific studies and research has proved that hair loss could be a genetic inheritance from either or both sides of the family – be it maternal or paternal.
- The Myth: Cutting your hair promotes its growth.The Fact: Though cutting the hair gets rid of the split ends and could make it look fuller, it definitely doesn’t do more. In reality, hair is a non-viable tissue, grows at a steady rate and one can’t possibly make it grow or not grow by cutting it.
- The Myth: Stress leads to hair fall.The Fact. In Telogen Effluvium, a scalp disorder characterized by the thinning or shedding of hair, significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase. Within few months, affected hairs may fall out suddenly while combing or simply washing your hair. It is however, a myth to think that any minor stress will cause significant hair fall.
- The Myth: Washing hair in cold water prevents hair fall.The Fact: Cold water surely helps in blood circulation, frizz prevention and even cuticle tightening. But it definitely cannot stop hair loss.
- The Myth: Hair loss is a result of ageing.The Fact: Hair loss is not caused by ageing alone. It can be seen in girls as young as 12 years of age. There are various reasons for hair loss such as hormonal conditions, lifestyle habits, heredity etc.
- The Myth: Men are more susceptible to hair loss than women.The Fact: In reality, hair fall is an equally common issue both in men and women. The only difference is that the pattern of hair thinning starts at the frontal hairline and the crown for men. While for women it diffuses over the entire scalp. It may just be less apparent in women.
- The Myth: Wearing a hat or a cap will make you go bald.The Fact: It is nothing but a myth. One can wear a hat for 24 hours a day, seven days a week without causing any hair fall. The cap would have to be so tight as to pulling hair out of the head to cause baldness.
- The Myth: Direct sunlight on the head leads to balding.The Fact: Direct sunlight might be harmful for your skin, but it definitely does not cause hair fall. It does not affect your hair follicles and the hair acts as a shield against the scalp.
- The Myth: If you massage your scalp or rub your nails together, your hair grows faster.The Fact: There is no physical stimulation of the scalp or human fingernails on the hair follicles. Rigorous massaging could cause more harm than good, leading to frictional damage to hair.
- The Myth: You can prevent hair loss with haircare products.The Fact: One cannot prevent hair loss by applying all the hair care products in the world. Hair loss could occur due to a variety of reasons. The best a person suffering from it can do is address the physical conditions which are causing this issue.
There are a lot of rumors out there regarding your hair fall issues. So, the best thing one can do is get the facts straight. Do not consider anything to be a substitute for professional medical advice.