Factors that cause baldness

November 12, 2012

Factors that cause baldness

There are many varieties of baldness as well as many factors that can cause baldness. It is a part of life that cannot be controlled but in some cases there are things that can be done to reduce hair loss. Everybody’s hair goes through a cycle of growth and rest and as general rule every time a hair is shed a new one begins to grow to replace it. During the growth stage of the cycle, hair grows on average 1 cm per month. Daily, the average person will shed between 50 and 100 hairs but from a scalp with over 100,000 hairs growing from it, this should not be noticeable. Factors that cause baldness include hormonal changes, irritation and damage that may lead to the new hair being thinner or taking longer to grow. Of course another factor that can cause baldness and is out of our control is aging which can also cause hair to grow thinner, shed faster than it can grow and come out in patches.

Types of hair loss and the causes

  1. Pattern Baldness

In this condition that can affect both men and women, the hairs that grow are not as thick or sturdy as they should be. With each cycle, the new hair becomes weaker and weaker until it is barely attached to the scalp and falls out incredibly easily. Heredity is largely responsible for pattern balding with balding on either side of the family commonly being passed down and reflected in the age, extent, speed and pattern of the baldness.

  1. Cicatricial alopecia

This condition causes permanent hair loss and is due to scaring of the hair follicles. Scaring is usually caused by damage such as inflammation and it prevents new hairs from growing. The cause or trigger of the inflammation is not normally known but there are some skin conditions that are connected including lichen planus and lupus erythematosus.

  1. Alopecia areata

This is considered to be an autoimmune disease such as thyroid disease and the cause is unknown. It is thought that some people are predisposed to the condition, although a trigger is required that may come from the environment or a virus to set off the condition. A family history of the condition increases the likelihood of developing it but it is not guaranteed. In most cases the hair grows back but it may fall out and return a number of times.

  1. Telogen effluvium

In this type of hair loss it is a change in the growth cycle such as a physical or emotional trauma that can cause baldness. The affected growing hairs fall out but the follicles recover within a few months and growth returns to normal.

  1. Traction alopecia

This can cause baldness through excessive hair styling that pulls the hair too tightly from the scalp. As long as this is stopped before the scalp becomes scarred, hair growth should return to normal. There are some other factors that can cause baldness, or thinning of the hair, some of which can be controlled through lifestyle changes or making other choices:

  • Poor nutrition such as a lack of protein or iron in the diet can cause hair loss. Look out for this, particularly whist participating in fad diets.

  • Medications can cause hair loss as a side effect including birth control pills, arthritis and depression.

  • Disease such as diabetes and lupus can cause baldness.

  • Medical treatments, most commonly chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause hair loss but this is usually temporary.

  • Hormonal changes that may be due to pregnancy, childbirth, the menopause or an overactive thyroid can have an affect.

  • Hair treatment that contains chemicals can damage the scalp and the hair shaft.

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