Normal and Abnormal Hair Loss

There are many causes of hair loss.

First there is the normal shedding of 50 plus hairs a day, generally replenished with the approximately the same number daily. The longer the length of the hair, the greater the loss appears to be. For example, fifty hairs that are a twelve inches long will seem like much more hair than fifty hairs that are two inches long. In each case it is still just fifty hairs.

A very traumatic and often long-term hair loss situation is due to illness. Low and high thyroid are both known to cause hair loss. Blood sugar dysfunction, insulin resistance, and diabetes have some causative effect on hair loss. Hair loss is often the side effect of certain medications. Some blood pressure medications, cholesterol reducers, steroids, seizure medications and oral contraceptives can cause hair loss. Hormone replacement therapies that contain methyl testosterone may also accelerate hair loss and can exacerbate thinning hair in postmenopausal women. It may take a long time to heal or stabilize these conditions, which is usually necessary before substantial hair growth resumes.

Common Causes of Hair Loss

Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common type of hair loss. It usually affects almost 50% of men, and 10-20% of women. A possible cause of male pattern baldness may be the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks the hair follicles producing smaller and thinner hairs.

This condition may begin as early as late adolescence and can be very damaging to one’s self-confidence. If efforts to regrow hair are not successful, an individual may have some difficulty accepting that this is how they now look. If they feel unattractive, it can impact social interactions particularly with potential partners.

A well-known therapist confided that when he first began to lose his hair he was very concerned about how women would now respond to him.  Fortunately he met a lovely woman who assured him she liked bald men, averting years of inner doubt. He remembered a colleague who continues to wear his hair in a “comb over” although everyone can see he is really bald. His sudden compassion for his friend allowed him to understand how painful a process hair loss can be for some people.

A client came to me after being mutilated by ‘Hair restoration specialists’. Large plugs of hair had been painfully transplanted in 3 rows along where his front hairline might have been. Then his scalp had been cut in a giant cross and stitched together to try to shrink the bald area. He constantly wore a hat to cover the scars.

Many people will go to great measures and expense to try to reverse hair loss. This has spawned a billion dollar industry and a great deal of disappointment. Although some hair regeneration methods have been successful, nothing has proven to work for everyone with hair loss challenges, mostly because there are so many different causes.

Female Pattern Hair Loss can be genetic and is often influenced by stress, medications and hormones.