It is important to understand how the body produces healthy hair. The scalp is composed of 3 basic layers of skin. The Epidermis – The Dermis – and the Subcutaneous Layers. Within these three layers of skin are blood vessels, nerves, muscles, glands, millions of cells, and of course, the hair. The hair like any other part of the body is supported by the blood. As the blood brings oxygen and nutrients into the papilla area it promotes cellular activity for the hair, and as these cells reproduce, they build a flexible substance called Keratin (hair). As the hair grows in the follicle, it is then lubricated by the sebaceous gland that secretes oil in the follicle, which coats the hair for smooth growth and provides luster and sheen.
There are many causes for hair loss; including androgenetic alopecia, auto immune diseases, connective tissue disease, exposure to toxic chemicals, certain prescription drugs that cause hair loss, certain diseases, prolonged illness, radiation treatments, hormonal imbalances, stress, poor nutrition, sebaceous oil build-up and slow cellular activity, are just some of the causes. Heading the list is Male Pattern Baldness. This problem affects over 40% of the adult male population and thousands of women.
The interaction of DHT with androgen receptors in scalp skin and follicles appears to cause male and female pattern baldness. DHT miniaturizes hair follicles by shortening the anagen (growth) phase and/or lengthening the telogen (resting) phase. This is usually a gradual process of converting terminal to vellus-like hair. The net result is an increasing number of short, thin hairs barely visible above the scalp.
It’s just that simple – where there is no blood – there is no life! A constricted blood supply prevents certain nutrients from coming into the papilla area where vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are necessary for proper cellular reproduction. Good nutrition is vital for strong, healthy hair. When blood and nutrients are not reaching the papilla area, cells reproduce at a much slower rate. This slow cellular activity produces a thinner, poorer quality hair, but this fine hair is a good sign that there is still life in the follicle, so there’s still hope for your hair.
Stress is another contributor and causes of hair loss. While under stress, the pituitary gland can produce hormones and enzymes that can constrict the vascular system, thus hindering the oxygen, nutrients, and blood flow to the hair. It is very important to bring stress levels under control to stop it as a cause of hair loss.
Probably the most talked about cause of hair loss is Sebaceous Oil Build-up - referred to by many as sebum plug. The function of the sebaceous gland is to supply oil (sebum) to the hair follicle, which lubricates the hair for smooth growth. The problem occurs when thin, poor quality hair is being produced in the follicle. If the hair is not in its proper condition, oil fills up in the follicle, hardens, and can hinder proper hair growth.
The secret to stimulating good hair growth is: An adequate blood supply, proper nutrients, and neutralizing the damaging effects of DHT.
CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS
(aka. baldness, balding, man baldness, male pattern baldness, male balding, male pattern hair loss, female balding, female pattern baldness, female balding, hair loss, hair loss in man, hair loss woman, hair loss in woman, hair loss for woman)
1. Androgenetic Alopecia
2.Auto immune diseases – an immune reaction attacks the hair follicles, producing antibodies that attack these tissues as if they were foreign invaders.
a. Androgenic Alopecia – the body’s immune system is sensitized to increased levels of DHT in the scalp causing hair loss in these high concentrated DHT areas.
b. Alopecia totalis, universalis – immune sensitivity to a substance other than DHT.
3. Connective tissue disease – causes scarring of skin, loss of circulation to hair follicle and autoimmune reaction leading to temporary or permanent loss of hair
a. Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Scleroderman, MCTD.
4. Exposure to toxic chemicals - Tobacco smoke contains hundreds of lethal and damaging chemicals which can accelerate normal hair loss and retard effects of medication and surgical restoration. This effect can result either from being a smoker or from second hand smoke.
5. Radiation exposure – Irradiation therapy or exposure to radiation from any source can cause localized or total hair loss, which may be permanent if the dose is high enough.
6. Iron deficiency anemia - very common with woman but also can effect men.
7. Hormonal changes - due to pregnancy, birth control pills and menopause.
8. Thyroid disease – either hypothyroid or hyperthyroid disease causes hair to become brittle and break resulting in localized or generalized loss. Correction of the thyroid condition usually causes hair to regrow.
9. Stress – usually temporary and transient of the alopecia areata type.
10. Drug interactions – certain vitamins prescription and over the counter, may have individual and non specific side effects of hair loss. Usually, when the medication is discontinued, the hair regrows. Tell your health care provider all medications you are taking and try to have one pharmacist fill all prescriptions and over the counter products.
a. Excessive Vitamin A
11. Individual reaction to illness or a personal sensitivity to the environment – Alopecia can be a reaction to your environment where hair loss is almost like an allergic reaction.
13. Fungal and Bacterial Infections – impetigo and tinea capitis.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS & HAIR LOSS
Many prescription drugs have an effect on a person hair loss, sometime the can be dramatic, particularly if nothing is done to counteract there effects.
Drugs That Cause Hair Loss:
Blood - Anticoagulants- panwarfin, sofarin, coumadin, heparin
Cholesterol Lowering - Atronids, Lopid
Convulsion/Epilepsy - Anticonvulsants –Tridore
Antidepressants - Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Anafranil, Janimine, Tofranil, Adapin, Sinequan,Surmontil, Pamelor, Ventyl, Elavin, Endep, Norpramin, Pertofane, Vivactil, Asendin, Haldol
Diet - Amphetamines
Fungus - Antifungals
Glaucoma - Timoptic eye drops, Ocudose, XC
HeartBeta blockers such as - Tenormin, Lopresser, Corgard, Inderal
Hormonal Conditions - Birth Control pills, Progesterone, Estrogen, Male Androgenic hormones and all forms of testosterone, anabolic steroids, Prednisone and other steroids
Inflammation - Arthritis drugs, NSAIDS such as: Naprosyn, Anaprox, Indocin, Clinoril
Anti-inflammatory drugs such as - Methotrexate, Rheumatex, Folex
Parkinson's Disease - Levadopa
Thyroid Disorders - Most all of these drugs
Ulcers - Both prescription and OTC: Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid