Hair loss or thinning is a common concern as we age, as our hair follicles can deteriorate and slow the growth of the hair. We normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, however hair is constantly growing so this usually isn’t obviously visible. However, noticeable hair loss occurs when the cycle of hair growth is disrupted or if hair follicles are damaged and replaced with scar tissue. 
Although men are more likely to lose their hair than women due to male pattern baldness, women are also prone to hair loss and thinning, and for both it can be a traumatic experience. Temporary or permanent hair loss can result from a number of reasons, ranging from a simple deficiency to a more serious medical condition. Depending on the cause of thinning or hair loss, there are many treatments available which can slow down the rate of loss, prevent loss or even stimulate growth. Here are some of the common and more surprising reasons for hair loss and thinning: 
 
Hereditary 
 
Genetics can play a major role in the age at which someone suffers from hair loss. The genetic tendency for hair loss or thinning is caused by inherited hormonal balances or imbalances which can be acquired from either the father or mother’s side of the family. 
 
Male pattern baldness is one of the biggest causes of hair loss in men, from a combination of genes and male sex hormones. Female pattern hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia, is seen as an equivalent for women and is strongly influenced by genetics. 
 
Stress 
 
Physical stress or trauma, induced by issues such as illness, a major accident or surgery, can trigger temporary hair loss, called telogen effluvium. Emotional stress may too also lead to hair loss, yet in most cases it will only exacerbate existing hair loss or thinning. 
 
Trichotillomania 
 
Trichotillomania is a type of impulsive disorder, where sufferers compulsively pull out their hair, usually subconsciously. This self-induced form of hair loss is more likely to be a chronic condition and can be difficult to treat. 
 
Nutrition 
 
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for the growth and health of all cells in the body, and poor nutrition which lacks in protein and vital minerals and vitamins, can lead to a lower functioning of the hair follicles and the slowing of growth. On the other hand, having too much vitamin A could also affect hair loss. These effects of imbalanced nutrition can be reversed however, eating healthily and in moderation. 
 
Dramatic weight loss 
 
Although weight loss is mostly healthy, a dramatic or sudden weight loss is a form of physical trauma, which can too lead to hair loss. 
 
Medication 
 
There are a number of medications which could encourage hair loss: certain types of blood thinners and beta-blockers; methotrexate, used to treat some skin conditions; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen. Antidepressants could potentially also promote hair loss as well. 
 
Chemotherapy 
 
As a treatment for some types of cancers, chemotherapy targets and destroys the rapidly dividing cancer cells. In the process though, it also destroys other rapidly dividing cells in the body, including hair cells. Hair loss can be a distressing side effect of chemotherapy, although it is a temporary form of hair loss and hair growth will resume once the treatment has been completed. 
 
Hormonal changes 
 
A changed balance in female hormones, through taking birth control pills, going through pregnancy or the menopause, may also cause telogen effluvium, especially you are more genetically prone to hair loss. 
 
Going through pregnancy and the trauma that women can suffer afterwards, is another form of physical stress that can cause hair loss. 
 
Health conditions 
 
Health conditions can be a major influencing factor for an increased rate of hair loss or full, permanent loss of hair. Conditions include having an underactive thyroid gland, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, or infections. 
 
Overstyling hair 
 
Using harsh chemicals or heat to style the hair, as well as having certain hairstyles like tight braids, could actually affect the hair root and damage the follicles and limit growth. 
 
If you’re suffering from hair loss, our advanced restorative hair surgery can help to reinvigorate dormant hair follicles and stimulate hair regrowth. We understand that hair loss can be a worrying time, so we provide a confidential service to restore a natural appearance of hair. Why not speak to us today and see how we can give you back your confidence? To find out more or to book a private consultation please contact the Birmingham Dermatology Clinic on 0800 0443917. 
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