Hair loss is a natural condition that is bound to affect all of us at some point in life. It is caused by the loss of hair follicles, which are specialized cells that manage hair production in the body. The most common type of hair loss is the natural thinning of the hair as people age. However, several other factors also cause balding. This article will discuss 7 causes of hair loss to look out for when one experiences balding and related conditions.
The chemicals that health practitioners use to treat cancer have an adverse effect on hair follicles. The drugs target all rapidly growing cells in the body, and hair cells fall in this category. Consequently, body hair, including that on the scalp, becomes collateral damage in the process of suppressing cancer. Hair growth often resumes after the chemotherapy ceases, though the color and texture may change.
Vitamin Deficiency and Imbalance
Vitamin imbalances can lead to balding. People who take excessive vitamin A supplements may experience hair loss that is reversible once the intake is discontinued. Conversely, a deficiency of vitamin B causes balding among other symptoms of poor health. This type of loss can be reversed by correcting the imbalance.
Alopecia areata is a condition of the immune system that causes localized balding. The balding occurs when an adverse immune response to hair growth treats the hair as an invasive object and targets it for destruction. The condition manifests in the form of round patches of baldness on the scalp. The condition can be managed to contain the balding through medication.
Female-pattern balding, scientifically referred to as androgenetic alopecia, is a hereditary form of balding that affects women. It is thought to be caused by hormonal changes and occurs more often after menopause. The balding manifests through thinning and conspicuous patches on the scalp.
Male-pattern balding is thought to be caused by genetic and hormonal factors. It often presents as thinning hair near the temples and balding on the top of the head.
Changes in female hormones due to regular body cycles and taking birth control pills can cause balding. Female balding is especially profound at menopause as it is at this point that the male hormone androgen becomes active in women. Androgen produces metaborates that suppress hair follicles leading to balding. Hormonal balding is especially common among women from families with a history of telogen effluvium.
Stress and Trauma
Stress can lead to balding, especially if it is prolonged and intensive, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of income or even toxic work conditions. Stress does not often directly cause balding but may exacerbate an underlying condition that is responsible for balding. Similarly, any event that results in physical or psychological trauma can also cause short-term balding. These traumas can include surgery and violent accidents. Pregnancy can also cause balding, especially if the childbirth is prolonged and distressful. Both trauma and stress can trigger telogen effluvium hair losses that are attributable to the disruption of the normal hair life cycle of growth, rest and shedding. They suppress the first two stages while accelerating the shedding phase resulting in more hair shedding than is replaced.
There are several causes of balding that fall into two major categories of permanent and temporary losses. Temporary losses are caused by reversible conditions such as poor nutrition and adverse reactions to medication or stress. Permanent causes can be due to age or hereditary conditions and often lead to permanent hair loss, unless they are treated with effective hair loss medication. The list is not exhaustive, but hopefully, readers have an idea of the 7 causes to look out for when they experience balding.