Physical & Emotional Stress
Hair loss can be triggered and accelerated by rapid weight loss, being ill, undergoing surgery or suffering from medical conditions such as having a low blood count or thyroid abnormalities (under/overactive) as well as emotional stress. It is important that a healthy diet and vitamin intake is maintained during times of stress. Once diagnosed and problem eliminated, hair regrowth usually occurs within a few months.
Hair Product Chemicals
Using anything on top of shampoo and conditioner that isn’t natural like oils gives you a higher chance of causing some copious amounts of damage to your hair due to the excess amounts of chemicals involved in one product. The amount and the regularity to which you apply harsh hair dyes, perming solutions, highlights, relaxers, straightening irons and curlers (with all the rest of it) will impact on the extent of the damage caused. Although this is usually classed as a breakage, it can be ‘treated’ by reducing or stopping the application of additional chemicals to your hair.
Chemotherapy and/or Radiotherapy
Most (but not all) drugs used to treat cancer via chemotherapy disrupt hair growth. As they attack cancer cells, they also affect normal cells in the body too, including hair follicles. A potential way to reduce the amount of hair loss caused during chemotherapy treatments is to wear a ‘cool cap’, which inhibits the amount of chemo-related drugs reaching the scalp. In most cases of a complete case of chemotherapy, hair will grow back.
Rays projected in radiation therapy will often only cause hair loss in the targeted area exposed to the treatment. Hair growth isn’t always confirmed after radiotherapy, therefore we are happy to advise of options available to you. Before anything, we always recommend speaking to your GP, nurse or cancer support specialist as we may need to liaise with them of all treatments.
Pregnancy & Childbirth
A few months after giving birth, many women experience hair loss – but this is normal! This is due to a delay in the normal ‘shedding’ process which occurs throughout pregnancy – as the hair gets thicker during pregnancy, it then returns to a normal state which feels like ‘hair loss’. The scalp hair balance normally is restored between 6-12 months after childbirth.
Various forms of medication can cause hair loss in men and women – however some of the most common are blood thinning drugs, thyroid medications, chemotherapy and contraceptives. Although the risk of this is dependent on the patient alone, the effects should be reversible once the medication is changed or stopped.
Skin Problems & Conditions
Common skin conditions such as the likes of eczema, psoriasis, scars and infections can cause temporary or permanent hair loss in the affected area. If the area affected results in permanent hair loss, surgical hair restoration treatments are available in the areas where the underlying skin condition has been successfully treated or is effectively inactive.
Women love up-dos and all of the latest fashion trends, who doesn’t? However what goes missed with the latest fashion trends is how putting your hair under tension, constantly attaching hair extensions or braiding your hair tight can actually increase the risk of alopecia. Although this can only be temporary, if the source of traction is not removed, this can begin to cause permanent damage where hair transplant surgery can often become the only remedy.
Although this is most common in women, it is also commonly seen throughout the Sikh community with those who have longer hair tied back into bandanas or turbans. It is usually seen as a bald area right at the front of the hairline – hair transplant surgery can restore hair permanently, but only if the cause of the problem comes to a complete stop.
Considered to be an auto-immune condition in which the body produces antibodies against your hair which results in hair loss. This usually appears as one or more singularly isolated patches of baldness across the scalp however in more severe cases, there can be complete baldness (alopecia totalis) or extreme cases can be overall body hair loss (alopecia universalis). Medical treatment is usually successful in treating less severe forms of hair loss however in most cases the condition often clears itself up, but may also reoccur at a later stage.
Hair loss can occur during plastic surgery when a major pull on the face and scalp (face/brow lifts mainly) is performed resulting in possible hair loss around the frontal hairline. This can still be treated with hair transplantation.
Trichotillomania (Excessive Hair Pulling)
Trichotillomania is a psychological condition and compulsion disorder where a person uncontrollably pulls their hair out – either from their scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes. There is usually an intense urge and sensation to pull your hair out and a strong feeling of relief after doing so – however doing this leaves patches of baldness across the scalp or across eyebrows leaving sufferers with a mixed range of emotions including guilt and shame and various other negative feelings.
The first line of treatment is to seek counselling or therapy to control and stop the urges, and only then after can hair transplant surgery be considered if needed.