Hair Loss

In the normal cycle of hair growth, most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day as part of this natural cycle. 

Scalp hair grows in cycles with each hair follicle undergoing 10 to 30 cycles in its lifetime. Each cycle consists of an active growth phase (anagen), involuting phase (catagen) and a resting phase (telogen). 

Hair loss, also called alopecia, is a disorder caused by an interruption in the body’s cycle of hair production. When this cycle is disrupted, or if a hair follicle is damaged, hair may begin to fall out more quickly than it is regenerated, leading to symptoms such as a receding hairline, hair falling out in patches, or overall thinning. 

Dr Ram has a special interest in treating hair disorders can identify the type of hair loss, as well as its cause. 

Common Types of Hair Loss: 

Androgenetic Alopecia 

Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair lossCommonly known as male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia is hereditary but can be managed with medication or surgery. 

  • Male Pattern Hair Loss 

In men, hair loss can begin any time after puberty and progress over the course of years or decades. It starts above the temples and continues around the perimeter and the top of the head, often leaving a ring of hair along the bottom of the scalp. Many men with male pattern hair loss eventually become bald. 

  • Female Pattern Hair Loss 

In women, hair slowly thins all over the scalp, but the hairline usually doesn’t recede. Many women experience this type of hair loss as a natural part of aging, although hair loss may begin any time after puberty. Female pattern hair loss can cause hair to thin dramatically, but only rarely does it lead to baldness. 

Telogen Effluvium 

Telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss, occurs when large numbers of follicles on the scalp enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, called telogen, but the next growth phase doesn’t begin. This causes hair to fall out all over the scalp without new hair growth. 

Telogen effluvium does not generally lead to complete baldness, although you may lose 300 to 500 hairs per day, and hair may appear thin, especially at the crown and temples. 

A medical event or condition, such as a thyroid imbalance, childbirth, surgery, or a fever, typically triggers this type of hair loss. Telogen effluvium may also occur as a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency—iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss in women—or the use of certain medications, such as isotretinoin, prescribed for acne, or warfarin, a blood thinner. Starting or stopping oral contraceptives (birth control pills) may also cause this type of hair loss. 

Telogen effluvium usually begins three months after a medical event. If the triggering event is temporary—for example, if you recover from an illness or stop taking the medication causing the hair loss—your hair may grow back after six months. Telogen effluvium is considered chronic if hair loss lasts longer than six months. 

Alopecia Areata 

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, which means the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues, including the hair follicles. This causes hair to fall out and prevents new hair from growing. 

This condition can affect adults and children, and hair loss can begin suddenly and without warning. Hair from the scalp typically falls out in small patches and is not painful. Hair in other parts of the body, including the eyebrows and eyelashes, may also fall out. Over time, this disease may lead to alopecia totalis, or complete hair loss. 

Q&A with Dr Ram 

What steps can be taken to mitigate the hair loss, such as supplements or diet? 

I would recommend the following supplements that have proven to be extremely effective in addressing certain skin issues: 

Biotin
Biotin encourages the production of protein for hair growth. In addition, it also stimulates new hair growth and promotes healthier texture by protecting against dryness, scalp flaking and increasing elasticity of hair to prevent breakage. I recommend it to my patients who have any concerns with thinning hair or brittle nails. 

Marine Fatty Acids
When consumed, marine fatty acids such as omega-3 work to combat dry and damaged hair, hair loss, and a flaky scalp. The DHA and EPA found in omega-3 adds elasticity and shine to dull hair, and promotes hair growth. Marine fatty acids also help to protect and repair skin cells, moisturizing the skin from the inside out. 

I will suggest to my patients to have at least one to two capsules daily of a supplement containing Biotin and Marine Fatty Acids. 

What steps should be taken if the hair loss does not improve? 

Cases where hair loss lasts for longer than 6 months will require further investigation. Consult a doctor to do blood tests to assess hormonal levels and to ascertain if you are suffering from iron deficiency. 

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