Why your hair may be looking less than glorious.
How do you know if you’re dropping too much hair? (Photo: Unsplash / www.pixabay.com)
Of all the beauty woes a woman may have in her lifetime, shedding precious locks is easily one of the most unnerving.
For starters, you should know that the hair cycle consists of three phases: growing (anagen), transitional (catagen) and resting (telogen). There are approximately 20 cycles in one’s lifetime, with each lasting between two and ﬁve years. Hair loss typically occurs when the anagen period shortens considerably or if follicles enter the telogen phase prematurely.
While it’s normal to drop between 50 and 100 strands per day, watch out if excessive hair loss (more than 100 strands a day) continues for more than six months. A waning mane could signal an underlying medical condition.
1. Excessive hair loss could be due to… Scalp disorders
Have itchy, red, flaky and/or scaly scalp? Any one of the these symptoms can point to seborrhoeic dermatitis and scalp psoriasis, two of the most common disorders. The former, an inﬂammation of the scalp, is caused by excessive sebum production, while the latter is characterised by thick plaque that causes hair to tangle and weaken.
How to treat scalp disorders
To reverse shedding due to psoriasis, start with medicated shampoo containing tar or salicylic acid to relieve the symptoms. In severe cases, systemic therapy, a treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream, may be necessary.
2. Excessive hair loss could be due to… Thyroid problems
The conversion of testosterone to DHT – a hormone that causes hair to thin – speeds up and is more pronounced in people with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (under or overactive thyroid glands respectively). Symptoms can include experiencing unexplained mood swings, fatigue, rapid weight loss or gain.
How to treat thyroid problems
Apart from using medication to control excessively high or low thyroid hormone levels in the body, doctors may also suggest radioiodine therapy and surgery depending on your needs.
Load up on natural foods to get your nutritional boost. (Photo: kreativ-werbung / www.pixabay.com)
3. Excessive hair loss could be due to… Nutritional deficiencies
Like skin, tresses need iron, zinc, vitamins, proteins and fats to stay healthy. So if you’re feeling lethargic and have lacklustre hair, your diet could be to blame. A lack of these key nutrients could slow down growth, prevent new strands from forming – and even force hair to enter the resting phase (telogen) too early.
How to overcome nutritional deficiencies
Load up on natural foods – not supplements – to meet your needs. Natural sources are better (unless you have certain dietary restrictions) as they contain enzymes that make nutrients more easily absorbed by the body unlike supplements which tend to lack these enzymes.
4. Excessive hair loss could be due to… Medications
Currently on meds, or recently completed a course of medication? Some drugs can cause hair follicles to go into the resting phase and fall out prematurely. Common culprits include oral contraceptive pills and accutane, a drug used to treat moderate to severe acne problems. Most drug-induced hair fall occurs two to four months after consuming the meds.
How to treat drug-induced hair fall
The problem should go away when you stop the meds. However, if that’s not possible, speak to your doctor about alternative drugs with similar functions. For instance, oral antibiotics can be used safely to treat severe acne in women without causing hair loss.
More reason to put your hair down! (Photo: Unsplash / www.pixabay.com)
5. Excessive hair loss could be due to… Traction alopecia
Tight chignons and high ponytails may be oh-so-chic, but don’t sport these styles too often. After two to three years of chronic pulling, scarring of new hair follicles and permanent damage may develop – even in otherwise healthy locks. Early signs of traction alopecia include thinning hairline around the front and sides of the head.
How to treat traction alopecia
Besides frequently letting your hair down, try hair products containing minoxidil. If this doesn’t work after a few months of use, hair transplant surgery is another option.
6. Excessive hair loss could be due to… Female pattern hair loss (FPHL)
If you have a family history of balding, you could have FPHL. Although it occurs more commonly post-menopause, FPHL can hit anyone, including those in their 20s. Experts think the genetic condition may be triggered by high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male sex hormone that attacks susceptible hair follicles.
How to treat female pattern hair loss
A cure has not been found, but long-term use of hair fallcontrol products containing minoxidil may be used to slow down the process. Minoxidil is said to lengthen the growth phase of the hair cycle.
Source: Raffles Aesthetics Centre.