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Learn more about hair loss: what causes it and what you can do about it.

What Are The Causes of Hair Loss?

Understanding the cause of hair loss may better indicate exactly why it presently has no cure.

Androgenetic Alopecia — the modern medical tern for either male or female pattern hair loss — can be broken down in two parts. First, Androgenetic, consisting of ANDROGEN (Any of the various hormones that control the appearance and development of masculine characteristics such as testosterone). And GENETIC — the inheritance of genes from either the mother or the father’s side of the family. Add AGE, which when coupled with genetics, represents a time clock that will signal the hair follicle to produce an enzyme name 5 alpha reductase. When the testosterone present in the follicle combines with the enzyme 5 (DHT). Hair follicle receptors are sensitive to DHT and thereby start the process of male or female patter hair loss. Second, Alopecia meaning hair loss of which there are many types.

Put simply, scientists are working against aging, hormones and genetics. This is no easy task. Add the fact that male or female pattern hair loss is not life threatening, and it is easy to see why many physicians do not view hair loss as a priority in scientific research.

What is working for you in terms of research is that large pharmaceutical firms now know that a cure for hair loss could mean a fortune in revenue for their companies and stockholders. This is fuel enough and the race has begun.

Although we may not see a cure in our lifetime, it is possible. Science is closer to understanding hair loss due to many recent advancements. To say the cure is around the corner would only be speculation but hope certainly is alive.

Other Causes

  • Alopecia Areata — Generally thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Cause “patchy” hair loss, often in small circular areas in different areas of the scalp.
  • Alopecia Totalis — Total hair loss of the scalp, (an advanced form of alopecia areata).
  • Alopecia Universalis — hair loss of the entire body, (also an advanced form of alopecia areata).
  • Traction Alopecia –– Hair loss caused by physical stress and tension on the hair such as prolonged use of hair weaving, corn rows etc. Done too tightly on weak hair these can cause permanent hair loss.
  • Telogen Effluvium — usually temporary hair loss. Causes: Physical stress — emotional stress — thyroid abnormalities- medications and hormonal causes normally associated with females.
  • Anagen Effluvium — Generally due to internally administered medications, such as chemotherapy agents, that poison the growing hair follicle. All of these represent only a few of the different types of hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia represents close to 95% of all hair loss however.

Hair loss: TRUE OR FALSE?

If your father has a full head of hair, you won’t go bald

A tendency to baldness is inherited and probably involves a combination of genes. So you are not automatically in the clear even if your father has a full head of hair. It is not true, as sometimes claimed, that only genes from the mother’s side are involved.

Brushing your hair 100 times a day will stimulate the circulation and prevent hair loss.

Vigorous brushing is more likely to injure the hairs and make the problem worse.

Some hairstyles, like braiding can cause hair loss.

Styles that pull or put tension on the hairs – such as tight ponytails or corn-rows – can cause hair loss.

Hats encourage hair loss because the hair can’t breathe.

Hair does not need to breathe. Only the root of the hair is alive, and this gets its oxygen from the blood in the scalp.

Frequent shampooing makes hair fall out.

The 50-100 hairs we lose each day often become tangled with the rest of the hair, but are washed out when we shampoo. So we see what seems like a lot of hair in the shower after shampooing, but in reality these hairs have been shed earlier.

Blow-drying can worsen hair loss.

The reason is that extreme heat damages the proteins in the hairs, making them fragile and liable to break off. Brushing the hair during blow-drying causes more damage. If you use a hair dryer it should be set on the coolest setting.

Hair coloring, perm solutions and hairsprays worsen hair loss.

Hair dyes, perms and hairsprays do not affect thinning hair. Perms and hairsprays can help to disguise the problem. Remember, it is the follicle, which is located beneath the skin that produces the hair. Chemical treatments can damage the hair strands but can’t affect the follicle.

Baldness can be linked to heart attacks.

In 1999, doctors at Harvard Medical School found that men who had lost hair at the crown of the head had a 32% increased chance of coronary heart disease. Hair loss at the front of the head hardly increased the risk at all. Regardless of how accurate this study could be, if you have baldness at the top of your head, you should stop smoking, eat healthy, have your blood pressure checked and do some exercise.
Other Uses For Hair Additions

Full Hair Additions/Prostheses – chemotherapy, alopecia totalis, alopecia univeralis, ectodermal dysplasia, lupus, trichotillomania, telogen effluvium, monilethrix, burns, radiation and other abnormalities of the hair and scalp.

Partial Hair Additions – Male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss, burns, radiation, stabilized alopecia areata, surgery defects, traction alopecia, lupus and other abnormalities of the hair and scalp.

Portions of the previous information is taken from the American Hair Loss Council, An Independent Non-Profit Organization.

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