Hair Loss Causes
The most common hair loss causes are genetic and hormonal, followed by illness and trauma. Causes of male and female hair loss will be considered separately.
The average lifespan of a single scalp hair is 3 -7 years, the hair then falls out and is replaced in three months by a new hair. The cause of hair loss can be due to the hair falling out faster than usual (shedding), regrowing back poorly or not growing back at all. In addition, the quality of the skin can be the cause, rather than the hair itself. There are a number of conditions and situations that cause hair loss which effect both men and women these are discussed below. As we mentioned earlier it is important to understand the cause of your hair loss and then you will be able to find the most appropriate treatment. The list of hair loss causes below can affect men or women.
Strictly speaking alopecia simply means hair loss but doesn’t explain what the cause actually is. For example:
Is a common cause of hair loss, more so in women and gives a patchy type of hair loss, which spontaneously improves, usually after a few months.
Androgenic alopecia is in fact male pattern hair loss and not to be confused with these other types.
Traction Alopecia is where the cause of the hair loss is damage to the hair follicle by pulling on the root or bulb of the hair – effectively plucking it out slowly. Often this damages the hair so much it doesn’t grow back or only weakly.
Examples include Afro braiding, Sikh twisting the hair under the turban and simple but very tight pony tails.
EYEBROWS & EYELASHES
Eyebrow hair transplants can be very successful in cases where hair has been lost due to excessive plucking, trauma or congenital lack of eyebrows.
Eyelash damage is also often caused by trichillomania and eyelash extensions, where the glue just rips out the eyelash as the extension is removed.
Burns cause hair loss by physically heating and killing the hair follicle and surrounding skin cells. Superficial burns may cause the hair to be burnt off (flash burns) leaving the deeper skin and hair bulb undamaged (and will regrow) or the burn may be deep and causing contracted scars with no hair growth.
This is a wide ranging category, as many medications can cause changes in hair quality or hair loss. Usually, these side effects are uncommon but do occur and there is some overlap with the Hormonal category below i.e. Oral contraceptive pill.
There is often a characteristic loss of sideburn hair in front of the ears when patients have facelifts performed, although there are now newer techniques to avoid this.
Although typically hormones cause hair loss most commonly in women, there are some hormonal changes that affect men equally.
RADIATION THERAPY HAIR LOSS
This hair loss cause is quite similar to a burn in some respects. Essentially, the skin is damaged by the radiotherapy treatment but usually recovers. However, hair is very sensitive to the radiation and is killed by it.
If caused by trauma, then the hair loss cause situation is again very similar to burns, above. Old fashioned hair punchgrafts and scars from other previous hair surgery, can be improved in a number of ways: Rows of punchgraft “dice” scars can be removed simply by excision, usually with immediate improvement.