“I like to leave as much of my hair around the house as possible, it is my confetti, I am a party.” I’m sure you’ve seen that meme and related if you struggle with hair loss.
I struggle with severe hair loss, which is totally not related to the fact that I had my hair peroxided from brown to platinum blonde in one sitting. This was almost two years ago and I’m still struggling to get my hair back to a healthy state.
Hair shedding is a part of everyday life and is completely normal. It clogs your shower drains, you are either constantly sweeping or vacuuming, but it’s totally normal.
Most people lose around 80 strands of hair a day, once you start shedding more hair than your body can regrow, well that’s when things go a tad pear-shaped.
Ok so let’s start from the beginning with how hair growth actually works. Each hair follicle undergoes renewed cycles of three phases. There are three phases of hair growth, anagen, catagen and telogen. In people with a healthy scalp, 90% of the hair follicles are in the anagen phase, which is the growth phase. Generally, scalp hair shedding of 50‒150 hairs per day is balanced by new hair growth at the same rate. Cells at the root of the hair follicle, known as the dermal papilla, are accountable for initiating and managing the hair follicle cycle. These dermal papilla cells are controlled by hormones, growth factors, and inflammatory cytokines.
Are there different types of hair loss?
You don’t simply just lose hair, there are actually different types of hair loss.
This is also known as male or female “pattern” hair loss and is the most common form of hair loss in both sexes. Male pattern hair loss generally causes thinning of hair along the front hairline and temples, as well as the crown of the head and is triggered by the effects of androgens on the dermal papilla cells of the hair follicle. Female pattern hair loss normally causes thinning at the crown of the head. Dihydrotestosterone also shortened as DHT, is made from testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and shortens the anagen phase of hair growth. This ends up resulting in smaller and shorter hairs. Female pattern baldness may include a follicular sensitivity to DHT. Though, the decline in estrogen after menopause may also add to changes in hair follicles that result in increased hair loss.
This is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. It can affect both adults and children of both sexes. It is characterized by round patches of balding, mostly on the scalp as well as the beard region.
This is a condition in which up to 50% of the scalp hair follicles abnormally transition into the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, and shed their hair. Telogen effluvium is frequently triggered by physical or psychological stress or illness. More women than men have this type of hair loss.
This is a condition in which the shafts of hairs in the anagen phase are weakened and break. It is most often triggered by radiation therapy and cancer chemotherapy, but may also be linked to heavy metal toxicity or exposure to other poisons.
Cicatricial (scarring) alopecias
Hair loss that involves scarring is usually related to an underlying condition or disease. Chronic pressure to the scalp from certain hairstyles can result in traction alopecia, while application of chemicals can also cause long-term inflammation and scarring. Unlike other types of hair loss, cicatricial alopecias are often permanent.
What causes hair loss?
Genetics play an important role in the age of onset, rate, and degree of hair loss.
Hair loss is more prevalent during hormonal changes such as during pregnancy, after childbirth, and with menopause. Even the start of puberty can mark the start of hair loss in some men. Other hormonal causes of hair loss include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which affects up to 10% of women, can lead to female pattern hair loss. Thyroid abnormalities such as hyper- and hypothyroidism, as well as autoimmune thyroid disease with normal levels of thyroid hormone, are linked with alopecia areata.
Several medical conditions can cause hair loss:
Some autoimmune diseases
Tinea capitis, a fungal infection of the scalp
Psoriasis, seborrhea, and allergic contact dermatitis
Liver or kidney failure
Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic infections such as HIV
Severe physical or emotional trauma
Heavy metal poisoning
Most drug-induced hair loss can be reversed and is commonly due to telogen effluvium or anagen effluvium. Various medications have caused cases of hair loss, with only a few regularly causing this side effect. Cancer chemotherapy drugs, on the other hand, induce hair loss in most people who take them. Radiation therapy is another possible cause of hair loss in cancer patients. General anaesthesia during surgery has been associated with telogen effluvium.
Severe protein and essential fatty acid deficiencies, overall malnutrition, crash diets and iron, zinc, biotin as well as vitamin D deficiencies can cause hair loss.
How can I treat hair loss?
There are a lot of different ways to treat hair loss but I want to focus on the natural ways to treat hair loss.
Vitamin D – is known to play a role in the regulation of the hair cycle.
Essential fatty acids – due to their anti-inflammatory properties, fish oil helps in opening up the hair follicles and encouraging hair growth.
Solubilized Keratin – a deficiency of protein is a common cause of hair loss. Keratin is the main component and structural element of hair. As we age, there is a decline in keratin synthesis which can lead to the decline in the stability and flexibility of the hair shaft. Cynatine which is solubilized keratin contains a specially-processed, highly bioavailable peptide form of keratin, which helps to strengthen hair.
Zinc – a deficiency has been linked to hair loss as it plays an essential role in normal hair follicle activity, preventing follicle regression and enhancing follicle recovery.
Green tea – green tea and its main polyphenol may help limit hair loss and support hair regrowth.
Selenium – is important for hair follicles to function healthily and a deficiency may play a role in hair loss.
Vitamin A – has been known to improve the rate of hair growth. This vitamin may also help with the production of sebum thus keeping the scalp healthier and able to retain more hairs.
Biotin – is involved in fatty acid synthesis in the body and is essential to the hair life cycle. If you have a deficiency you may experience hair loss.
Saw palmetto – causes improved hair growth.
Ginseng – contains phytochemicals that may promote hair growth on the scalp.
Coconut oil – has been known to help prevent hair damage from grooming and ultraviolet light exposure. Lauric acid is found in coconut oil and helps bind protein in hair. Apply straight to the scalp and massage it in.
Olive oil – can be used to deeply condition ones hair, protecting it from dryness and associated breakage. Apply straight to the scalp and massage it in.
Some amazing hair products that I have tried for hair loss are Pelo Baum from Lamelle.
Hair loss is super frustrating but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Who knows, soon you might look like Rapunzel.