The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. It is commonly considered a condition that affects men but woman actually make up 40% of hair loss sufferers. In a normal cycle of hair growth it is not uncommon to lose up to 100 hairs a day. Losing more than 100 hairs a day or noticing areas where the scalp is becoming prominent could be an indication of excessive hair loss. Every hair follicle produces a single hair, which normally grows at a rate of a inch per month. After about 4 to 6 years the follicle goes into a resting phase and loses the hair before growing a new one.
What causes hair loss?
There are many causes of hair loss, although the most common is heredity. Other common causes include:
- An autoimmune disorder that can attack the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and inhibit hair growth called alopecia areata
- Constant pulling of the hair from wearing baseball caps, ponytails or cornrows called traction alopecia
- Stress full events, such as major surgery called telugen efluven
- Medications, which can be damaging to the hair follicles such as chemotherapy or blood thinners.
- Fungal infections
- Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or lupus
- Chronic inflammation due to psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis
Typically diagnosis of hair loss is determined by history and physical exam. Sometimes lab tests or biopsies of the scalp may be required. Once the specific reason for your hair loss is determined, an individualized treatment regimen can be initiated.