Hair Loss Q & A
What is hair loss?
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. This is produced in the follicles on the scalp, the outermost layer of skin on the head. As follicles make new hair cells, old cells are pushed up through the skin’s surface. The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and will shed up to 100 hairs daily. So, seeing a few stray hairs on the pillow typically is not a reason to be worried. However, each follicle has a life cycle which is affected by disease, age, and other factors. As people age, hair growth slows. If it stops entirely, hair which has fallen out is not replaced.
What causes hair loss?
Currently, it is not known why particular hair follicles have a shorter growth time than others. However, several factors may affect hair loss including:
- Hormones, including abnormal levels of androgens
- Genes can influence an individual’s tendency to baldness.
- Illness, childbirth, and stress can cause temporary hair loss.
- Medications, including blood thinners, chemotherapy drugs, blood pressure medications, and birth control pills can cause temporary hair loss.
- Autoimmune diseases can cause alopecia areata, where the immune system works against the body to damage hair follicles.
- Cosmetic measures, including perms, coloring hair, bleaching, and over-shampooing contributes to hair thinning by making hair weak and brittle. Tight braiding, using hot straighteners, curlers, or rollers, and using hair picks with tight curls can also damage or break hair. Severe damage to the hair or scalp can cause permanent bald patches in some cases as well.
- Medical illnesses including iron deficiency, thyroid disease, diabetes, lupus, eating disorders, and anemia can contribute to hair loss.
- A low-protein diet or extremely calorie-restricted diets can lead to temporary hair loss.
What treatments are used?
Hair loss affects men, women, and children. Treatments for hair loss provided by Premier Family Medical can include medications such as Propecia™ and Rogaine™, hair replacement therapy, and hair restoration. To determine what treatment is right for you, contact the practice to schedule a consultation with one of the expert physicians.