How it worksWhat causes hair loss ?
With the hormonal changes of aging comes a decrease in the number of active hair follicles. Though this is an essentially universal change in all of us, a number of hormonal, genetic or disease states make some of us lose hair earlier in life.
The most common cause of hair loss is known as androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness (men and female).
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS
Male pattern baldness is something that 7 - 15% of North American males experience by age 25, and almost 40% by age 35. It is a natural, age-related change in the body and represents over 95% of all hair loss in men. The exact reason and cause of male pattern baldness is not known, though it is clear that our genetic background represents a huge part of it. The hormone androgens (like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT)) also play a big part. The loss of hair follows a horseshoe-shaped pattern (or a crown) with the hair on your sides and back of the head generally being left untouched. You can assess your chances of developing male pattern baldness by looking at your male relatives, starting with dad and grandfathers. Male pattern baldness often begins slowly at puberty, but may then come on very fast.
FEMALE PATTERN BALDNESS
For woman, female pattern baldness is the most common type of hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia). It affects about 20 million women in the North America alone. It can begin at puberty, but is most often seen after menopause. As we discussed previously, male and female pattern baldness happens when hair that falls out is no longer replaced. Female pattern hair loss is generally a change to thinning hair rather than just falling out, and is more noticeable on the top of the head.
Whether it's a death in the family, a miscarriage, an illness, a separation from the loved one, etc., body stressors can affect the hair follicle. What is believed that the stressor causes a major change in a large portion of the hair follicles, moving them from the anagen growth phase to the catagen then telogen rest phase. The follicle then lets go of the hair that's already there while refusing to provide a replacement. Known as telogen effluvium / deffluvium, it is the second most common cause for hair loss after androgenetic alopecia.
The last important form of hair loss is traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is hair loss due to excessive and chronic pulling or traction on hair. It commonly occurs in people who braid or knot their hair.
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