Although baldness is an intentional choice for some people, most desire a full, healthy head of hair because they feel more confident and attractive.
Unfortunately, about half of us will experience some form of hair loss before the age of 50. The exact numbers, according to the American Hair Loss Association, are 50% of men and 40% of women.
Despite knowing the statistics on hair loss, most of us still panic when we see too much hair in the drain! Hair loss is more than a physical issue. It can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and emotional well-being, and change how we see ourselves and how we perceive others see us.
The first step to coping with hair loss is educating yourself about it, from causes to treatment options.
The A to Z of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be genetic or the result of hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, medical conditions, or medical treatments. Also, there’s such a thing as a baldness gene, which is why baldness tends to run in families.
Prolonged stress or sudden changes in hormone levels can cause moderate hair loss. Usually, the hair will fall out from the entire scalp leaving your hair thinner. This type of hair loss rarely leaves large bald spots.
Autoimmune diseases and disorders such as lupus and alopecia, and other medical conditions such as thyroid issues and fungal infections of the scalp, are known to cause hair loss. The same goes for serious nutritional deficiencies of protein, iron, zinc, or biotin.
Lastly, medical treatments such as chemotherapy, antidepressants, and some anticonvulsant medications can cause hair loss.
It’s normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs each day. If you’re losing more than this amount, you should notice unusually large amounts of hair on hair brushes and in drains. Your hair will start to thin, and bald spots will appear.
If you think you’re experiencing hair loss, see a doctor ASAP!
Prevention & Treatment
Hair loss may be prevented by minimizing stress, eating a healthy diet, seeking treatment for medical conditions, and, when possible, switching to alternative medications that don’t cause hair loss.
There are medications specifically designed to prevent hair loss. They include Rogaine, an over-the-counter medication for men and women, and Propecia, a prescription medication for men. Oral contraceptives can also be used to balance hormones.
The most permanent solution to hair loss is hair transplant surgery, where hair is taken from one part of your body and transplanted to a balding area.
However, if your hair is thinning and there are no bald spots, you can get away with micropigmentation. A tattoo artist colors your scalp to fill in any thinning spots
Self-acceptance is key to dealing with the psychological effects of hair loss. It helps to shift your focus from the hair loss to your other good qualities. It also keeps you from being taken in by snake oil products that only serve to reduce your bank balance.
It’s hard not to panic when you first start experiencing hair loss. However, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn as much as possible about the causes, symptoms, and legitimate hair loss treatment options. It can be the difference between going broke chasing miracle cures and embracing the new (and bolder) you.
Photo by Paul Siewert on Unsplash