Hair Loss

Hair Loss: Putting It All Together

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to hair loss.

  • Most people routinely lose between 70 and 150 hairs from their scalp each day.
  • Scalp hair starts to thin when more hairs are lost through normal shedding than the scalp is able to renew.
  • Generalized hair loss (a uniform loss of hair) can be caused by a genetic predisposition (heredity), which is the most common reason. It also can be caused by illness, certain physical conditions, or their treatments.
  • Patchy hair loss can be caused by ringworm or alopecia areata, a condition with an unknown cause
  • Balding is a normal process that develops to some degree in all men and is influenced by male sex hormones, called androgens.
  • Camouflage techniques to hide hair loss include the use of toupees and hairpieces, and a technique called hair weaving.
  • Plastic surgery techniques to lessen the visible effects of baldness include hair transplantation, scalp flap transfer, skin expansion, and serial excision.
  • Medications that can slow balding and, in some cases, help prevent hair loss include minoxidil and finasteride. Both of these medications can cause side effects.
  • A gradual thinning of the hair frequently occurs in women as they grow older. But it differs from the hair loss experienced in men, because complete hair loss in women is hardly ever seen.
  • The range of possible remedies for the treatment of thinning hair in women is similar to those available for men. Women should not take finasteride, however.
  • Everyday ways to help prevent hair loss include eating a balanced diet, avoiding hair treatments or styles that can damage hair, and avoiding vigorous combing and brushing, especially if the hair is wet.

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