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Causes of Thinning Hair - Alopecia

Understanding the Causes of Thinning Hair - Alopecia

            Hair loss is a common problem among middle-aged and older men, and also among some women as well. It can cause significant worry if the person is socially-conscious. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments and other advice to slow or even reverse hair loss. Hair loss can be caused by a number of different conditions, including: medical conditions, genetics, use of certain medications, diet and poor nutrition, hormonal changes, pregnancy, poor treatment of hair (ex. dyes and blow drying), underactive thyroid gland, and immune system disorders.             

            What exactly is hair made of? Hair is made of protein, which is nourished by glands that produce oil. The average person loses between 50-100 hairs a day. Lost hair is normally replaced by new hair, which grows about one-half inch per month. If more hair is lost than is replaced, then net hair loss occurs. The most common form of hair loss is male-pattern baldness, 95% of which is genetic. Excess male hormones can cause the hair follicles to slow down or shut off hair production. This is one of the reasons why women tend to have less hair loss than men, since they have less male hormones than men. There can be many other reasons for hair loss besides male-pattern baldness. Smokers tend to have more hair loss and grayer hair than nonsmokers, presumably because smoking uses up nutrients faster. If someone’s hair is thinning, it could be due to poor absorption of nutrients. They should check with their physician about taking a test to measure their hydrochloric acid production in their stomach.            

            There are two main conventional treatments for hair loss and baldness: medications and surgery. The most common medications are described in the chart below. There are many different shampoo and conditioner products that are designed to slow or reverse hair loss. Some shampoo treatments, such as from Nioxin, contain chemicals that supposedly remove male hormones from the scalp, theoretically slowing hair loss. Shampoo products that contain biotin, silica, jojoba, aloe vera, and vitamins C and E may also be helpful for restoring hair health. Avoiding excess sunlight, seawater, and blow drying or excessively towel drying your hair can also slow hair loss. As far as nutrients are concerned, there is some evidence that biotin deficiency is associated with hair loss.             

            Hair loss may be associated with growing older, but as your have read above, it does not have to be inevitable. Taking care of your hair involves a combination of washing, conditioning, proper drying, and trying different supplement combinations. With the above changes, hair loss can be slowed, and some may even grow back. 

 

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