Expert Tips To Prevent Hair Fall – By Dr Shefali Trasi
Worried about your falling hair? Dr Shefali Trasi Nerurkar – MD Skin, Consultant Dermatologist at Dr. Trasi’s Clinic & La Piel details the underlying causes of hair fall and hair loss to help you tackle this common haircare problem.
Hair fall and balding are some of the most common complaints we receive from patients these days. Post lockdown, this problem has been rapidly increasing. So, what has leads to hairfall?
First, let’s understand your hair a little better.
You can lose up to 100 hair strands on a day, which is considered normal hair fall. Any more can be a problem.
Hair growth and maintenance depend on three phases of the hair cycle – anagen (active growth phase), catagen (involution phase), and telogen (resting phase). The type and length of the hair depend on the anagen phase. In healthy individuals, hair sheds out after the resting phase when the new hair anagen growth starts (exogen). At any given time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing. Each follicle has its life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. As people age, their rate of hair growth slows.
Common Causes of Hairfall
Involution alopecia, a natural condition where hair thins out with age. More hair is seen in the telogen phase and the hair in the anagen phase is shorter and lesser.
Telogen Effluvium is a temporary loss of hair following any drastic event affecting the body. The causative factors of telogen effluvium can be serious illnesses like malaria, dengue, typhoid, TB, etc., chemotherapy, or childbirth. It could also be due to crash diets or excessive stress. Here, a lot of hair follicles go into the telogen phase leading to subsequent shedding. There is a generalized thinning of the hair in the crown portion of the scalp.
Androgenic Alopecia is a genetic condition called ‘male pattern baldness’ or ‘female pattern baldness’. Here, the hair loss is typically seen in a pattern mainly affecting the centre part of the scalp. In males, there is a recession of the hairline and loss of hair from the sides and also on the vertex. When all three areas of baldness meet, it leads to complete loss of hair on the crown portion of the scalp. Women are affected mostly in the central part of the scalp in a Christmas tree pattern, starting from sparseness to complete thinning of hair in the central scalp in the later stages. There can be a hormonal imbalance in most of these patients. Production of excess androgens in both sexes can lead to this condition. Thyroid disorders can also be associated with hair loss. So, a thorough check-up is needed to ascertain the real cause.
Alopecia Areata is the sudden loss of hair in patches from the scalp, beard, mustache, or any hairy body part. It can be due to sudden stress. Commonly seen in students preparing for exams or in patients working on a tight schedule. It is possible to recover from this type of hair loss without medical help, however, there is a chance that it could develop into Alopecia Totalis/Universalis when all the hairy parts of the body may be involved. It can also be seen following a systemic skin condition such as lupus, lichen planus, etc. In this case, the hair may never return, leading to permanent damage to hair follicles.
Traction Alopecia happens when you frequently tie your hair in tight ponytails or buns, leading to loss of hair from the frontal aspect of the forehead. The forehead appears wider in such patients. Hair may not grow back in this area. Such type of hair loss is also seen following hair treatments like permanent straightening, perming, bleaching and dyeing, where the hair is tightly passed through hot irons leading to hair damage.
Trichotilomania is more psychological than physiological, wherein patients pick on their hair leading to patches of hair loss. Again here, the hair may not return in advanced cases.
Nutritional Deficiencies like Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, low hemoglobin, and protein loss can lead to hair loss.
Hair Care for Hair Loss
In case of any hair disorders, it’s advisable to treat the condition with the help of a professional. Meet your dermatologist and get adequate treatment. Remember, any hair disorder will take a long time to show good improvement as the hair cycle is slow and prolonged. So, the hair growth is also very slow.
It’s important to continue treatment for at least 3-4 months to see some improvement. First, the hair fall stops and then, the hair growth starts. The commonly used medications include minoxidil, biotin supplements, growth factors, finasteride, and dutasteride. Vitamin D3, B-Complex, and iron supplements are also given in case the blood investigations show a lack. In some advanced cases, treatments like hair mesotherapy, PRP, and hair transplantation may be required to get the desired results.
Finally, plan a good hair care routine with the help of your doctor and strictly follow it along with the required medications to maintain the grown hair.