Though everyone knows a few celebrities who get away very nicely with bald heads, many people, both men and women, are more concerned with hair loss than with almost any other physical attribute, and some consider a good-looking head of hair to be essential to their emotional health.
Two important points to remember are that a certain amount of hair loss is natural and necessary for the growth of new hair and that in many cases, excessive hair loss is temporary and due to various factors that can be controlled. With that said, there are some things that have been medically proven to increase the rate of hair loss, and they are often different in men and women.
It appears that women are more susceptible to hair loss due to certain medical conditions such as anaemia, post-partum stress and the nutrient deficiencies resulting from crash diets. Drugs such as warfarin, prednisone, Prozac and oral contraceptives, amongst others, can often cause excessive hair loss. However, if the medical condition is corrected, or use of the drug is discontinued, the hair’s growth cycle will usually stabilise and the hair grows back. Overuse of the chemicals in perms, and very tight braiding or hair rollers can cause scarring of the scalp, therefore no new growth.
For men, the most common cause of hair loss is what’s known as male-pattern baldness.
This is usually an inherited trait; “it runs in the family” is an often-heard phrase. There are some medicines on the market, including over-the-counter minoxidil (Rogaine) that can encourage regrowth in many cases.
Often a relatively sudden loss of hair is the result of underlying causes not related to aging or genetics. If you are concerned about thinning hair, it is wise to consult a physician and/or a dermatologist. Once the ‘root’ cause is determined, it is possible to slow or reverse the loss of hair.