Causes and Contributing Factors

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Some hair loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. As we grow older, our hair cycle begins to slow down and we may loose more hair than we replace. This happens to just about everyone. It’s just nature taking its course. Others suffer from hair loss that is a result of some other condition then just the aging process. The causes of hair loss can be as extreme as a serious medical condition to as simple as stress with many reasons in between. If you find that you are suffering from hair loss, it is important to find the reason for it. Some of the causes of hair loss are reversible with proper treatment. In other cases like heredity, usage of quality products can only delay the onset of baldness to a fair extent.

Let’s first discuss the more common causes of hair loss:
STRESS:

A sudden shock or physical stress or continued stress for a long period of time can cause havoc to your hair. Stress causes the hair follicle to tighten, shrink leading to a noticeable hair loss, one that happens not only in men but women as well. Stress due to sleep deprivation in fit males is unlikely to elevate DHT, which causes male pattern baldness. Excessive physical or emotional stress, like that associated with injury, illness or surgery, can cause one of the two types of hair loss–

 

The more common type called Telogen Effluvium. The trauma that causes this type of hair loss makes large numbers of hair follicles to enter the Telogen phase of the hair life-cycle. With this less severe type of hair loss, the hair stops growing and lies dormant, only to fall out 2 or 3 months later. Then it grows back within 6 to 9 months and affects women much more then men.

 

The other type known as Alopecia Areata that involves a white blood cell attack on the hair follicles. With this type of hair loss, the hair also falls out within weeks (usually in patches), but can involve the entire scalp and even body hair.
For many people, a major stressful event can be more lasting. The good news is that stress related hair loss is temporary. In fact, due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, by the time hair starts to shed heavily, the stress related problem may have already been resolved. The peculiar thing about the stress induced hair loss is that one is usually over the stressful event before the hair loss even starts. Hair may grow back on its own in both the types of stress-induced hair loss but usage of quality hair care and treatment products should never be under-estimated and can only accentuate the process of such recovery.

 

NUTRITIONAL IMBALANCE:

A vitamin and protein deficient diet provides inadequate nutrients for the scalp, thus affecting growth. A lot of men and especially women going on crash diets cut out protein and this causes severe hair loss. Vegetarians may also have the same problem. The body will save protein by shifting growing hairs into the resting phase. Chronic Telogen Effluvium (CTE) may result from a long-term iron deficiency caused by years of heavy periods and/or possibly from following a vegetarian diet lacking in this mineral. Being obese and over-weight can also result in hair loss stemming from systemic metabolic abnormalities. Maintaining a well balanced diet is the best way to avoid a hair loss problem but once the problem of thinning hair or hair loss has set in, supplementing a balanced diet with direct hair-root nutrition would hold the key. M/s Stuff n Style is front and center in making sure that your hair and hair-root gets the necessary nourishment to get you the BEST POSSIBLE state of hair health.

 

CLINICAL FACTORS:

Since hair health is an indicator of the overall health of a person, hair loss can often be viewed as a symptom of some such disease. A variety of metabolic abnormalities, coupled with the lifestyle factors and a use, abuse and over-usage of allopathic drugs and medications are directly correlated to increased hair loss and thinning hair. The list is long but a few of the widely understood ones are –

 

DiHydroTestosterone (DHT):

Hair loss may occur if male or female hormones, known as androgens and estrogens, are out of balance. The main male hormone – Testosterone is a major cause of hair loss in men; it is a direct result of the hair follicles responding to male hormones. This happens when Testosterone, which is in men as well as women, is converted to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5 Alpha Reductase (5AR). The secret then is to reduce the amount of 5AR so that there is as little or no conversion to DHT, which is the big culprit! However it is due to the follicles being more responsive to the hormones that this occurs, rather than their being too much Testosterone. The skin of the scalp changes Testosterone to DHT. Some hair follicles are especially sensitive to DHT and they shrink (follicular miniaturization), this is more likely to happen to follicles on top and front of the head. Through this process of follicular miniaturization, hair shaft width is progressively decreased until scalp hair resembles fragile vellus hair or else becomes non-existent. It is interesting to note that DHT helps the growth of beard and chest hair and it is not known for certain how DHT causes this opposite effect. Onset of hair loss sometimes begins as early as end of puberty and is characteristically classified as Male Pattern Baldness , classified on the Hamilton-Norwood Scale I-VII. Saw Palmetto and Fo Ti in combination with Rooibos extract and natural Silica help stabilize this condition.

 

Thyroid Gland Malfunction:

Both an over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause hair loss though the more common of these is an under-active thyroid characterized with a diffuse pattern of loss (general thinning across the top of the scalp). Hair loss associated with thyroid disease can be reversed with proper treatment.

 

PolyCysticOvarianSyndrome (PCOS/PCOD):

Excessively high levels of androgens (male hormones) are thought to be primarily responsible for hair loss caused due to PCOS. In some cases, PCOS is associated with thyroid imbalance, causing hair loss and thinning. Saw Palmetto and Biotin help in controlling this condition.

 

Diabetes:

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to metabolise carbohydrates correctly. Untreated diabetes can result in hair loss.

 

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:

This condition is an auto-immune disease which causes inflammation of multiple organ systems. About half of the people with lupus will have hair loss. Systemic Lupus Eerythematosus mainly affects women between the ages of 20 and 50. It is thought that genetic makeup plays a major role in the development of the disease. Lichen Planopilaris is a poorly understood form of hair loss and there is much confusion in distinguishing it from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, frontal fibrosing alopecia and another disease called mixed inflammatory destructive alopecia. Secondary Syphilis also exhibits patchy hair loss as a major symptom.

 

High Fever, Severe Infection, Major Surgery, etc:

From four weeks to three months after a person has a high fever, severe infection, major surgery or significant life stress such as a tragic exposure, he or she may be shocked to see a lot of hair falling out. Also after micrograft and minigraft surgeries, where follicles are transplanted on the scalp, Telogen Effluvium occurs in almost all the cases. This condition usually corrects itself but may require treatment. Usage of quality products should always be a pre-requisite.

 

Birth Control Medication / Childbirth / Menopause:

Birth control pills affect the hormone levels within the body and these hormone levels can affect hair growth. In some cases, hair thinning may occur due to the male hormones present is some types of contraceptive pills, this type of hair loss is similar to pattern baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia. However, discontinuation of the birth control pills can result in hair loss similar to that which occurs after child birth due to the drop in hormone levels. Women who lose their hair when taking birth control pills usually have an inherited tendency towards hair thinning.

 

Many women notice that their hair is thicker and healthier during pregnancy, this is due to the increased levels of hormones oestrogen and progesterone which cause more hair than normal to remain in the growth phase. When the child is born, many of the hair follicles that had delayed entering the resting phase, suddenly enter the resting phase due to the rapid drop in hormone levels. As a result of this, these hairs are then shed together, about 3 months after the child-birth and are seen as large amounts of hair coming out in brushes and combs. Similar to the way in which sudden hair loss can occur after childbirth, sudden hair loss can also occur after an abortion or miscarriage, triggered by sudden changes in hormone levels.

 

As women go through menopause, changes in the hormonal balance in the body cause havoc to the hair.

 

Impaired Scalp Circulation:

If the scalp is tight, blood circulation to the follicles is reduced, and hence the hair “starves”. There are several factors which contribute to the making of a tight scalp. These include changes in climate, medication, discontinuing birth pills and post partum hormonal imbalances.

 

Clogged Follicles / Scalp Infections:

Every hair follicle has a sebaceous gland and people with hair loss have a predisposition towards having excess sebum secreted from these glands. Sebum deposits a coat around the hair follicles, then travels through the pores of the follicles and eventually reaches the outer surface of the skin.Here, it encounters lipids and sweat. As a result, a fine coat, referred to as an acid mantle is formed. This coat is responsible for clogged hair follicles. The problem of having clogged hair follicles is that it can lead to the death of hair roots. And if this happens, one can soon find baldness slowly starting to set in. However, there is good news regarding the problem of clogged hair follicles. The blocked follicles don’t have to be a setback if right proven substances that nourish them and start to regrow healthy hair are used – substances such as an appropriately designed ‘Segals Solutions Program’ that will block the DHT, increase circulation to the scalp and deliver essential nutrients which feed and invigorate the follicle.

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis is an inflammation condition that is seen as areas of redness covered by large, yellow scales, which may be diffusely spread over the scalp. It may extend beyond the margins of the hair onto the forehead, behind the ears and onto the posterior neck.Dandruff causes your scalp to be itchy and irritated. Some people respond to the itchiness by excessively rubbing and scratching their scalp. This rubbing and scratching can contribute to hair loss. A fungal infection, or a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, may be the cause of dandruff in some people. Seborrheic Dermatitis or other fungal infections like Ringworm or Tinea Capitus can cause some hair loss where patches of hair may be lost, only to be replaced as pink scales. In Scalp Psoriasis , an immune system and genes related problem, an increased shedding of Telogen hairs is common. The underlying abnormality in psoriasis is that new skin cells are produced ten times faster than normal. As a result, live cells accumulate and form characteristic thickened patches covered with dead, flaking cells. Outbreaks may be triggered by emotional stress, skin damage and physical illness. When this condition occurs, the plaque and scales can choke out the hair follicles and keep healthy hair from growing. Often, this doesn’t occur over the entire scalp. There will more often be patches that can clearly be seen as being affected and that is where the hair is compromised or starts thinning. The other possibility is that a psoriasis flare places a stress upon the body. The body in turn will often shut down some functions to conserve. One of these shut down functions is the hair growth cycle leading to Telogen Effluvium, discussed earlier. This happens when a large number of hairs move from the growth cycle to the rest cycle followed by a shedding of the hair. What you’ll see is a lot of hair falling out at one time all of a sudden. Typical Scalp Psoriasis treatment options are directed more at management of the problem rather than a complete cure. ‘Segals Solutions Program’ with its distinct formulations containing Neem Oil and Tea Tree Oil and a host of other soothing emollients provide the much desired relief.

In Scleroderma Hair loss , an autoimmune disease, a gradual hardening and tightening of the skin due to excessive collagen production takes place. The excessive collagen stops the normal functioning of hair follicles in a way that might be described as ‘suffocation’ or ‘strangulation’. Although there is a lot of collagen in the skin and there is a trophy of affected hair follicles, there is very little actual scar tissue formation. Excess collagen production occurs in patches and consequently hair loss also develops in distinct areas. The first symptoms of localized skin scleroderma in hair bearing areas may involve a premature graying of the hair shortly followed by hair loss. When hair loss occurs on the scalp in a linear fashion it is given the description ‘en coup de sabre’. Treatment of en coup de sabre involves surgery to remove the affected area of skin. Hair loss may be progressive with patches gradually expanding in size over years.

More hair growth and less hair loss can be done safely ONLY with the simple use of natural sources.

 

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:

Biased and limited research, lobbying by giant pharma MNCs to take harmful prescription drugs out of the prescription list into non-prescription/OTC category coupled with lack of consumer education about the accompanying side-effects leads to metabolic states that produce a pronounced negative effect on the overall health of any individual including hair loss. Medical practitioners consider medical knowledge as their sole domain and are reluctant to share the side-effects, contra-indications and adverse interference of prescription drugs and gullible consumers fall prey to the onslaught of calculated marketing strategies of multinational pharma companies. With a gamut of allopathic medications with severe side-effects, lack of pure, organic food, excessive use of pesticides, lifestyle related diseases and the lack of consumer education, hair loss is but imminent. Some of the drugs that are reported to cause hair loss are

 

  1. Anti-Cancer Drugs
  2. Lipid-lowering Drugs ( like Clofibrate, Gemfibrozil, Bezafibrate, etc)
  3. Blood Thinner Drugs (like Warfarin, Heparin, Coumarin, etc)
  4. Fertility Stimulating Drugs (like Clomiphene)
  5. ACE inhibitors for Blood Pressure or Heart Failure (like Captopril, Enalapril, Lisinopril, etc)
  6. Calcium antagonists which are used for regulation of Blood Pressure (like Amlodipine)
  7. Drugs for Gout (like Alloppurinol)
  8. Anti-Malarials (like Chloroquine)
  9. Drugs for Parkinson’s disease (like Pramipexole, Bromocriptine)
  10. Mood-stabilizing Drugs (like Valproic acid)
  11. Amphetamines prescribed for Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorders
  12. Epilepsy Drugs (like Valproate Sodium, Vigabatrin)
  13. Anti-Thyroid Drugs (like Carbimazole, Propylthiouracil)
  14. Isotretinoin and other Anti-Acne Drugs

 

TRACTION ALOPECIA / TRICHOTILLOMANIA:

Traction Alopecia is hair loss that is caused by long term hair pulling and breakage due to very tight hair braiding, hair weaves and cornrows. In India, Traction Alopecia mostly occurs in Sikh men who tie their hair too tightly. It is also common in other ethnic groups known for traditional hair styles that involve pulling the hair. Hair loss often occurs in the front but is also subject to the immediate adjacent area where the hair is being pulled and damaged. The sad truth is that permanent Traction Alopecia does not respond to allopathic medical treatment such as Minoxidil or Finasteride since by its nature, the hair loss is different then genetic hair loss.

In the case of Trichotillomania, it is the intentional pulling of healthy hair. This is usually a temporary, psychiatric or emotional problem. It is most prevalent in children. In this condition the hairs are not absent from the scalp but are broken. Where they break near the scalp they cause typical, short, “exclamation mark” hair.

 

HEREDITY:

Research now indicates that susceptibility to premature male pattern baldness or Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) is largely X-linked . Other genes that are not sex linked are also involved.

It is now reported in a series of research reports that a gene on the X chromosome that lies close to the androgen receptor gene is an important gene in AGA. The region Xq11-q12 on the X-chromosome is known to be strongly associated with AGA in males. The EDA2R gene is found to be mostly associated with AGA. Other genes involved with hair loss have also been found, one of them being a gene on chromosome 3, located at 3q26. This gene is also involved in a type of baldness associated with mental retardation. Another gene that is under scrutiny to be involved in hair loss is the one linked to hair structure – the gene P2RY5. Certain variants can lead to baldness at birth while other variants cause ” wooly hair “. Recent research has also confirmed the X-linked androgen receptor as the most important gene with a gene on chromosome 20 being the second most important determinant gene.

It is more than likely that if one has any relatives who are bald then this is likely to be a cause of hair loss. This can be inherited from either the father’s side or the mother’s side.

 

POOR HAIR HYGIENE, STYLING & MAINTENANCE:

Using the wrong hair products, which are full of chemicals, such as Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Cocamide DEA, Sodium Chloride (Salt), and artificial colouring can also contribute to poor hair health. Having perms, colouring, chemical treatments are obvious causes of hair loss stemming from excessive harshness to hair strands as well as roots, loss of moisture and clogging. Harsh chemical relaxers can add to the hair follicle damage and hair loss can be permanent if not treated immediately. Traction Alopecia can also occur due to overprocessing of hair. Chemical treatment of hair with dyes, bleaches, or straighteners disrupts the keratin structure in a manner that reduces its tensile strength. The hair follicles can become fragile and heavy fall out can occur with brushing or combing. Using extreme heat to fashion hair can also permanently damage the hair follicle. Ammonia and amines contained in artificial hair colours are big culprits. Blow dryers and teasing hair, hair pumps also cause weakness from the roots and generalized thinning of hair.

 

As hair styles and fashions change with the times and public sentiment, a few hair styling methods are causing baldness and hair loss among today’s younger and older generations.

 

Usage of mediocre, cheap, mass-marketed products, ones that carry titillating advertisements and with invisible footnote conditions or marketed with advertisements as dramatized versions should be discouraged for a long term good hair health. Hair health is something that deteriorates very fast but demands immense patience in reverting to a stable state. Only a discerning, quality conscious, knowledgeable consumer would know all what makes a difference between the goodness of gentleness and the harshness of chemicals.

 

We at M/s Stuff n Style are here to guide you, support you and provide you, the ultimate in hair and scalp health !