Our hair is actually made up of a protein in the outer layer of our skin called keratin. As new keratin cells are formed, your follicles push the old cells out of the scalp and thus it forms hair strands. Average hair growth is about 6 inches a year and average hair on our head is about 100,000-150,000 strands. Losing around 100 hair strands a day is considered normal but if it exceeds, a person is facing hair loss
As a person belonging to a family where genetic hair loss is an unpreventable loss, I am always intrigued about the different types and causes of hair loss. A friend of mine who happens to be a certified dermatologist in Islamabad told me about some interesting facts backed by science when it comes to hair loss. This is a brief summary of what I learned:
Types of Hair Loss
The scientific term for hair loss is alopecia and there are many types of alopecia. Some of them are:
- Hair Loss With Age (Involutional Alopecia)
This type of hair loss starts with thinning of hair all over the head and is usually irreversible.
- Genetic Hair Loss (Androgenic Alopecia)
This type of hair loss can affect both men and women where the baldness starts for men in twenties and for women in forties respectively. It starts with the receding hairline and mostly just effects the crown of the head.
- Patchy Hair Loss (Alopecia Areata)
This condition is often found among teens and younger adults where they start losing hair around a certain patch. Most of the times the hair grow back in a few years but in certain unfortunate cases, it can cause complete baldness in future too.
- Full Body Hair Loss (Alopecia Universalis)
This the kind of hair loss condition where body starts losing hair everywhere. Other than head you can notice hair loss in eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be due to multiple factors, known and unknown. But the most common factors for hair loss are:
Stress is actually one of the biggest factors affecting hair loss in young people. But the good news is that the hair loss caused by stress is reversible.
Abnormal levels of hormones such as androgens can cause hair loss in both men and women but mostly men are at high risk.
Certain cancer treatment chemotherapy drugs, blood-pressure controlling medicine like beta-adrenergic blockers, and certain birth control pills can cause hair loss as a side-effect.
If baldness runs in the family, either paternal or maternal, can definitely increase the risk of hair loss.
The Bottom Line
Around 90% of the hair on a human scalp is developing at any given moment. Each follicle has a life cycle of its own that can be affected by age, sickness, and a large number of other conditions. In case of extreme hair loss, consult a hair dermatologist immediately.