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You may lose 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. Yet the thinning of your scalp hair is almost unnoticeable owing to the simultaneous new hair growth filling up the bald spots. But hair loss occurs if this cycle of shedding and growth gets distorted. Stress and an unhealthy lifestyle take a toll on your hair as well.
- The following is a list of the types of hair loss that are caused due to high levels of stress:
- The body secretes hormones such as non-adrenaline or Norepinephrine and cortisol in response to stress. These hormones force a large number of hair follicles into a static phase, hindering new hair growth. As a consequence, simple activities such as combing or rinsing the hair might cause hair fall in large strands which do not get replaced by new hair again. This abnormality is known as ‘Telogen effluvium’.
- Trichotillomania is a condition characterized by one pulling out his/her own strands of hair forcefully; most often triggered by negative thoughts or other psychological disorders such as depression or excessive frustration, boredom, stress or tension.
- Alopecia areata is a condition caused by severe stress wherein the immune system of the body attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
- Other lifestyle related factors can also have an adverse impact on the hair growth. Let us see how:
- Excessive hair styling or hair treatments with hot oil actually swell up the hair follicles. Chemical therapies, dyes, flat irons, blow dryers or bad brushes as well as a range of hair dressing techniques such as hair extension, application of coloring agents, gels and hair sprays further affect the individual strands of hair.
- A junk food diet rich in salt, sugar and saturated fats but less in essential nutrient content can tremendously affect your hair.
- Smoking inhibits blood flow to the hair follicles and interrupts the process of hair growth and hair fall.
- Environmental factors such as pollution from:
- Car exhaust fumes disrupt the keratin (protein formation) in the hair structure, making it fragile.
- Cigarette smoke contains carcinogens that weaken one’s hair follicles.
- Dust particles trigger allergies giving way to inflammation or scalp infections.
- Over exposure to the sun causes brittle, dry and lifeless hair, mainly characterized by split ends.
Some of these foods are:
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A which is a must for a healthy scalp. Try to get at least two servings of this sweet variant of the humble potato every day to meet the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
Avocados: Avocados are rich in fatty acids which are present in the skin cells; these fatty acids present in them help make your hair healthy and supple. They are also good for your skin as they stimulate collagen production.
Carrot: Carrot is rich in beta carotenes that prevent hair fall. Carrots also stimulate the growth of hair and improve blood circulation in the scalp. It also helps in protecting hair from pollutants such as dust.
Pumpkin Seeds: Zinc is a mineral that your body requires to prevent dryness of the scalp, thus allowing your hair to be healthy. You can sprinkle pumpkin seeds on your salads and have them regularly to meet daily zinc requirements of your body.
Strawberries: Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C that helps in fortifying your hair and preventing hair breakage. Vitamin C also helps in calming the immune system, thus reducing the likelihood of acne.
Almonds: Almonds consist of Vitamin E that helps in protecting your hair and skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Almonds also help in repairing hair damage that results from chemically treated hair.
Beans: Iron is a mineral, the deficiency of which causes hair thinning. Women become prone to iron deficiency towards the end of their menstrual cycles. Beans are rich in iron that promotes healthy hair growth and also contains antioxidants that prevent free radical damage.
This procedure is simple and one hardly feels a thing
The Planning Stage: In the planning phase, a surgeon finds out the density, color, quantity and the quality of the donor's hair. The face of the person is closely analyzed before the surgery starts. Every small detail is noted and observed by the doctor in this phase.
Pre-surgery: The patient is required to wash the hair thoroughly with a shampoo one day prior to the surgery. The same process should be repeated with a scrub two hours before the surgery.
Donor preparation: The donor hair is trimmed to 2-3 mm and injected with local anesthesia. The area is then injected with normal saline so that it swells. The patient then becomes ready for the surgery.
Donor tissue removal: The hair tissue from the donor area is now removed one by one. The tissue consists of hair follicles that make transplantation possible. The doctor stitches the area and this stitch is removed after 10 days of surgery.
Graft preparation: The tissue plucked from the donor area is then grouped. Every group consisting of hair follicles are monitored before they go through a lot of procedure. Many follicles are rejected after the procedure and the leftovers are used for replacement. Patients mostly relax during this time.
Graft insertion: Now the recipient area is prepared by injecting local anesthesia. The surgeon goes on to make several incisions in the recipient area. The number of incisions done is equal to the number of follicles available from the donor. This is the most crucial step in the whole procedure. A transplant surgeon is required to focus on minute details such as the depth of incision, the angle of hair, location of placing the new follicles etc. The follicles are placed one by one. This procedure might take hours depending on the number of grafts to be implanted.
Post-surgery procedure: Hair transplant is completed and the patient is sent back home on the same day. Most surgeons abstain from putting any bandage as there is a risk of damaging the draft. Tiny hair stubbles along with the incisions are witnessed after a couple of days from the surgery. The swelling that may result from this procedure quickly heals. You will see new strands of hair within a couple of weeks of the surgery.
Most people lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. Yet, the thinning of scalp hair is almost unnoticeable owing to the simultaneous hair growth filling up the vacant spots. But permanent hair loss occurs if the cycle of shedding and growth is disrupted or the hair follicle is damaged and substituted with a scar tissue.
Few possible causes can be-
- Genetic factors: Genetic factors bring about gradual hair loss in both the sexes; resulting in bald spots and a receding hairline in men and the thinning of hair among women. Hereditary factors also determines the age at which you could start losing hair.
- Medical conditions: Medical conditions such as hormonal imbalances attack the body’s immune system, thus resulting in damaged hair follicles, scalp infections such as ringworm, skin disorders and hair pulling disorder, a psychological condition that causes people to pull out hair from the scalp, eyebrows or other parts of the body.
- Medications: Hair loss can be caused due to intake of certain drugs, such as the ones for birth control or for treating high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, arthritis or cancer. Consumption of excessive Vitamin A can cause hair fall as well.
- Stress: Physical and emotional stress can cause hair loss. Surgery, high fevers, and blood loss can cause enough stress to cause excessive shedding. Childbirth can result in hair loss for several months after delivery. As for psychological stress, the link is less well defined, but many people have reported losing hair at times of extreme mental stress or anxiety.
- Other Possible Reasons: Other reasons such as radiation therapy to treat cancer, emotional or physical trauma, surgery, extremely high fever or sudden and excessive weight loss can all contribute to hair loss. Hair styling equipment and other chemical based treatments are some of the other triggers of hair loss.
- Anemia: Anemia (insufficient red blood cells in the blood), Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (a condition marked by enlarged ovaries and the formation of tiny cysts on the outer edges of the ovaries), thyroid disorders or pregnancy can also result in hair loss.
Rarely, the person loses all the hair on his or her head (alopecia areata totalis) or whole body (alopecia areata universalis). The person s genetics may trigger the autoimmune response of alopecia areata, alongside other unknown triggers. For a few people, hair becomes back yet drops out again later. Some people s hair does grow back. Every case is exceptional. The condition usually occurs when white platelets attack the cells in the hair follicles, making them shrink.
While researchers are uncertain why these changes take place, it appears that hereditary traits are included, as alopecia areata will probably happen in a person who has a relative with the same illness. One in five individuals with the infection have a relative who has also developed alopecia areata. It is also believed that it mostly occurs in people with a family history of other autoimmune diseases such as arthritis or type 1 diabetes.
Alopecia areata cannot be cured but it can be managed in terms of symptoms and hair can grow back. By and large, alopecia areata is treated with medications that are used for different conditions. Treatment choices for alopecia areata include:
Corticosteroids: These are anti-inflammatory medications that are recommended for immune system illnesses. Corticosteroids can be given in the form of an injection into the scalp or different areas, orally (as a pill), or applied as a balm or a cream.
Topical immunotherapy: This kind of treatment might be used if the baldness or hair loss recurs. The irritation that the medicines cause may cause hair regrowth.
Rogaine (minoxidil): This topical medication is now used as a treatment for hair loss. It for the most part takes around 12 weeks of treatment with Rogaine before hair starts to grow back.
A few people with alopecia areata use alternative therapy to treat their condition. These may include:
Wearing covers (wigs, caps, or scarves) to shield the head.
A number of people with new-onset alopecia areata have had stress in life, for example, work, family, deaths, surgeries and accidents. Nonetheless, this has not been proven as a cause scientifically.
Applying sunscreen to shield uncovered areas or patches from sunburns.
Wearing shades to shield the eyes from the sun if the eyelashes have dropped out.