Six months ago, I realized that I lost some hair easily whenever I am combing. Seeing my hair here and there on the floor has made me worrying. Spent several days to look for more information online before I consulted doctor. I finally found the way to solve my hair loss problem. If you have experienced similar excessive hair loss problem, read on to find out more. You will learn about the causes, the practical ways to cure it and prevent it from happening again in future.
Basic About Hair
The average lifespan of a single hair is about 4.5 years. After that, hair falls out and it will be replaced within 6 months with a new hair. Normal shampooing, blow drying, brushing or even rubbing the scalp can cause a few hairs to fall out. Most people actually lose about 50 to 100 head hairs a day. Though sound like a lot, the amount is normal and these hairs are replaced with new hair on the same follicle on your head. However, if you are losing more than that, like what I have experienced, something might have gone wrong.
Each hair grows about 1 cm (less than half an inch) a month. At any one time, about 85% of the hair is growing and 15% is resting. Baldness occurs when the follicle shrinks over time resulting in shorter and finer hair. The follicle eventually becomes smaller without any hair inside. Good news is that as long as it remains alive, it is still possible to have new growth of hair from that follicle. In fact, genetic hair loss is not due to excessive amounts of natural hair falling out, but to an insufficient amount of hairs growing back to replace the hairs that have been shed.
Causes of Hair Loss
- You may see the term of “male pattern baldness” or “permanent pattern baldness”. These two terms refer the same which means one is losing hair from the front. This type of hair loss is the effect of hormones. Elevated testosterone may cause loss of scalp hair though it promotes growth of facial and body hair. Male Pattern Baldness also can occur in people who take steroids to build their bodies. This type of hair loss is known to have hereditary factors, but it is difficult to tell with certainty when it may begin. My uncle only experience it at the age of 25 while the other uncle had it after 40 years old.
- Similar with men, women has the so called “female pattern baldness” too. In this form of hair loss, the hair becomes thin over the entire head, but the frontal hairline is maintained. So, it rarely progresses to total or near baldness as it may in men. The patterns of hair loss in women are not as easily recognizable as those in men. It may not have any obvious hereditary association. It is hard to tell whether the beginning of hair loss is going to be temporary or permanent. For example, pregnancy, menopausal or illness may result in female pattern baldness.
- Poor eating habit with dietary imbalances or nutritional deficiency may cause hair loss. If you pay attention to people with eating disorders, you will notice that they lose much of their hair. The body is not getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain hair growth. Some vegetarians lose their hair if they do not get enough protein from non-meat sources.
- Improper care of hair may cause hair loss too. For girls, if you wear pigtails or using tight hair rollers, pulling your hair may cause hair loss.
- Stress, anxiety or depression may also cause hair loss.
- Last but not least, hair loss may happen as part of an underlying disease, such as lupus or diabetes. Since hair loss may be an early sign of a disease, it is important to identify the cause so that it can be treated.
How To Prevent or Reduce Hair Loss
- Make sure that your hair is always clean. Avoid using harsh soap, especially those containing deodorant. Use a good shampoo and hair conditioner. After washing, do not rub your hair too vigorously with a towel. Do not use blow dryer. Let the air drying your hair instead. If you must use blow dryer, use it on a low heat setting. Check out this article – All You Want To Know About Hair Washing But Never Had A Chance To Ask
- Never color your hair more often than 6 to 8 weeks. Though the advice may sound boring, letting your hair turn naturally gray is the best thing you can do. Overuse of hair dyes and curling irons are some of the leading causes of hair loss in both men and women.
- Eating the right food is also something within your control for hair loss prevention. You should:
- Eat protein – can be found in meat (chicken and fish) and diary products.
- Eat iron – can be found in spinach
- Avoid overconsumption of salt
- Apart from that, you should have a healthy lifestyle. Sleep enough.
My Hair Loss Experience
Back to my hair loss – after consulting the doctor, I wanted to go for medicine. He mentioned two medicine:
- Minoxidil (brand name: Rogaine) which is applied to the scalp. It has men and women version.
- Another medicine, finasteride (brand name: Propecia) comes in pills and is only for men. It is used to block the formation of the active male hormone in the hair follicle. It may take up to 6 months before you can tell if one of these medicines is working.
But, according to the doctor, both minoxidil and finasteride are only meant to maintain my current hair and reducing future loss than regrowing new hair. Moreover, these medications need to be used for few months (3 to 6 months) before I can see the result. In fact, I may have to take the medicine long term to ensure the improvement in hair growth can last. Once it is stopped, the hair loss tends to recur.
Therefore, my doctor was very hesitate to prescribe me any medicine. He advised me to find ways to reduce my stress level. Yes, after changing a new job, I had challenges in handling many new tasks and had not had enough time to sleep and even worked out.
I listened to what the doctor said – tried reducing my stress. The next day, I had a 1 to 1 session with my manager to let him know about the challenges I was facing in my new role. We talked about it openly. He agreed on the my new proposed approach to handle my tasks. I found time to put my feet back to gym and had enough sleep daily. Within a month, my job seem to be easier. Believe it or not, my hair loss problem goes away by itself the next month. Once again, I am a happy man. My advice is that before you try on any medicine, explore other method. You may be surprised that hair loss problem sometime can be solved in such a simple way. But, be patient before you can see any instant result.
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