For most people, hair loss is just that – loss of hair; they notice that they have hair on their combs, or on their towels or their pillows.
Losing about a hundred hair every day is typical, and if that is all that you are seeing, then you have little to nothing to worry about. However, there are some conditions, in which you might be losing a lot more hair or might not have any hair left at all.
Before you can look to treat such a hair loss related condition, you first need to understand what exactly your hair loss type.
The Latin word for hair loss is alopecia, and this term is an umbrella because there are several types of hair losses, which are categorized under alopecia. Let’s start with the kinds of alopecia there are:
- Androgenic alopecia – This is perhaps the most common type of alopecia and is also known as male pattern or female pattern baldness. I am generally a genetic condition and can be relayed from one generation to the next. The disease can affect people at any point of life, and the earliest manifestations can be visible as early as the teen ages. Although several people claim that androgenic alopecia comes down the maternal line, there is no proof supporting the same, and the hair loss gene can come from either side of the family. Studies have shown that the condition starts to emerge when naturally occurring enzymes in the body begin converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which leads to the shrinking of hair follicles.
- Alopecia areata – This is an autoimmune condition that can affect anyone, and in this condition, the immune system of your body starts to attack the healthy hair follicles, leading to their destruction. The first symptoms of the disease are hair loss in patches on the head, and although the precise reasons are still unknown, there is a general perception that stress or traumatic events in one’s life could cause it.
- Alopecia totalis – What might start with small patches of hair loss could eventually lead to a completely bald head. This condition is often referred to as alopecia totalis, and the hair loss in this condition could subsequently affect the eyebrows and eyelashes too.
- Alopecia Universalis – This is the more aggressive version of alopecia totalis and is not all that common. In this condition, the hair loss might start with the head, but it could affect all body hair. It means that you will not see hair anywhere on the body, including eyebrows, eyelashes and arms and legs.
- Postpartum alopecia – This is a temporary type of hair loss, which is generally noticed towards the end of the pregnancy or immediately after delivery. Women might see a sudden decline in volume, but this type of hair loss need not cause much worry, because once the hormonal balance of the body is back in sync, the hair will also return to normal.
- Traction alopecia – This is perhaps one of the only types of alopecia that are brought upon by one’s own mistakes. If you are someone who ties up your hair tightly, such as in a ponytail or braid or if you have cornrows, then you are creating unnecessary tension on your hair, leading to breakage. Similarly, excessive chemical treatments, such as hair coloring, smoothening and bleaching can also lead to traction alopecia.
- Scarring alopecia – This is a condition in which the hair follicles are destroyed due to specific reasons, and they are then replaced by scar tissue, reducing the chances of new hair growth. There are two types of scarring alopecia – in the primary model, the hair loss is because of inflammation of the hair follicles, while in the secondary category, the hair loss could be because of burns, accidents or infections.
- Alopecia areata incognita – Also known as diffused alopecia, this is a sporadic form of alopecia areata and tends to affect only young women. The hair loss is sudden and quite extreme, but the cause is still unclear.
Now that we have looked at all the main types of hair loss in men & women, we can move onto looking at the kinds of treatments available. It is essential to understand that there are some forms of alopecia, for which there is no treatment because the actual cause of the condition is yet to be found out.
However, there are some methods which are being used to treat various types of alopecia and here are the main ones:
- If you meet a hair specialist or a doctor who treats alopecia or hair loss related problems, the chances are that they will suggest courses of corticosteroids, which are potent anti-inflammatory drugs, which can suppress the immune system. Most of the times, these are administered through injections, although there are topical and oral versions of the same.
- Hair growth can also be promoted through medications such as minoxidil, finasteride, anthralin, and DPCP. While these medications can help with hair regrowth, there is little to nothing that they will be able to do for the current bald patches.
- A method known as photochemotherapy has shown positive results for some people, but no definitive studies are confirming the benefits till date. The procedure is typically used for skin conditions, but in some instances, it has proven useful for hair too.
And then of course, as is the case with almost any condition that ails the body, there are some home remedies that you could try:
- Onion juice is supposedly quite potent when it comes to promoting hair growth, and all you need to do is squeeze out some fresh juice and rub it onto the scalp. Wash off with warm water and your regular shampoo after 15 minutes.
- There are so many oils that are known to work well for hair growth – you can choose from coconut oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, mustard oil, almond oil, olive oil and castor oil. If you are using an essential oil such as lavender or rosemary, you need to sure that you mix it with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive, because in their natural form, they could irritate.
- Green tea and hibiscus tea can also help with nourishing hair from within, allowing you to enjoy better hair growth. Use these teas as the last rinse for your hair.
- If you can do the work to extract pure coconut milk, you can massage the same into your scalp and hair to see the drastic improvement over a few weeks.