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When you stand in front of the mirror and you see your scalp instead of hair, it is surely a cause of worry. Well, this could mean thinning hairline and is an indication of baldness. Baldness is more common in men but can happen in women too.
Baldness refers to a state of having no hair or scanty hair. Baldness is usually a progressive hair thinning condition. Pattern baldness follows a particular pattern. Hair loss can start off in different areas but happens usually at the temples and/or the crown of the head. Initial thinning of hair takes many years and may lead to total baldness, usually over the top surface of the head.
Commonly referred to as male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia), it is noticed mainly with men and is the leading cause of baldness in men. The American Academy of Dermatology reported that 50 million men in the US are affected by male pattern baldness.
The pattern of baldness can vary greatly; and may be classified as:
Male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia
Female pattern baldness
Loss of some hair from the head known as alopecia areata
Complete loss of hair in the head known as alopecia totalis
Complete loss of hair from the head and the body or alopecia universalis
Pattern baldness cause
Pattern baldness varies from person to person and depends on the genetic background too. Other common causes for baldness include:
DHT imbalance : A powerful sex hormone, it affects the hair growth on the body, face and head.
Iron deficiency: This can lead to thinning of the hair and might lead to baldness.
Hair pulled up into tight ponytails can cause baldness (traction alopecia).
Forceful pulling and bending of the hair can also cause broken hair and thus receding hairlines. This is more common in children than in adults.
Radiation therapy to the scalp
Childbirth often leads to thinning of hair and at time baldness.
Pattern baldness in women
Losing 100-125 hairs per day is normal for women. When the hair loss is more than this, and when new growth is thinner then it results in tremendous hair loss in women. Pattern baldness in women is as common as it is in men, but the good news is that women do not suffer as much as men from this condition. Good news is that female pattern baldness is treatable.
Female pattern baldness can show up anywhere on the woman's scalp (usually on top and in the front). Instead of terming it as baldness, it can be referred to as thinning and shortening of hair. This is so because the thinning happens to such a sizeable degree that it appears as though there are bald patches. But actually the hair is still there but it has become too thin and small to be seen.
Pattern baldness in women causes
Hormonal changes during and after pregnancy, menopause
Testosterone, a male hormone present in women can cause pattern baldness in women. Females are highly sensitive to this hormone and this induces baldness in women.
Treating pattern baldness in women
The right combination of minerals and vitamins helps.
Magnesium intake also helps.
The scalp should be clean and moisturized.
Proper diet combined with clean habits will help combat hair loss.
Pattern baldness in men
A man going bald is very common. In cases of male pattern baldness, the hair that is lost is not replaced. If men start losing hair between the age of 25 and 40, there are 95% chances they may develop male pattern baldness.
Male-pattern baldness happens because of a gene in the body. This gene converts large quantities of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). The DHT hormone is good for fetal development but bad for the hair follicles, it damages the hair follicles. The normal life of a hair follicle is 5 years, 4 years for growing, during the fifth year the hair follicle remains inactive.
But in cases were the DHT is imbalanced, the hair follicles get damaged and fall out but are not replaced by new follicles. This is why male pattern baldness occurs gradually. It is actually irreversible in its later stages.
Male pattern baldness is common in men above 20 but may also happen during the late teens. In male pattern baldness, hair recedes from the lateral sides of the forehead and forms the shape of an 'M'. Male pattern baldness is referred to as androgenetic alopecia and is the most common type of baldness in men.
Hair tonics and shampoos do not help much in treating or reversing baldness. In fact the remaining hair follicles might get weak in the process.
Male pattern baldness causes
Most of men are genetically inclined to male pattern baldness.
Hormonal effect on the hair follicle leads to male pattern baldness.
A hormone called testosterone is present in high levels in males after puberty. This hormone gets converted into dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT has an adverse affect on the hair follicles. It slows down hair production and produces weak, short hair. At times it stops hair growth from the follicle completely thus causing hair loss.
Pattern baldness hereditary
Earlier it was believed that genes inherited from the mother causes pattern baldness but now studies prove that genes inherited from both the mother and the father leads to pattern baldness. If someone in your family is bald, you might develop pattern baldness if you are losing hair.
A recent study shows that approximately 95% of baldness and hair-loss in men and about 70% in women can be related to hereditary factors, particularly, the genes. This condition is not just restricted to any particular racial grouping.
Pattern baldness treatment
The drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are Finasteride and Minoxidil
Lifestyle style changes like moderate exercises, consuming healthy diet, etc.
Hair transplantation is effective for women
Pattern baldness prevention
You can prevent hair loss by using the drugs approved by the U.S. FDA.
Avoid high fat food, excessive caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc. These food items can increase the adrenal levels and thus can lead to gradual hair loss and baldness.
Reduce nicotine and reduce the intake of common salt.
Eat healthy food to prevent hair loss. A proper and balanced diet will provide all the necessary nutrients for hair growth.
Do not use harsh chemicals on your hair. Heating equipment, like flat irons and curling irons can also cause baldness, if used too much.
Regular exercise helps increase the blood circulation in the body and the levels of androgens in the body, thereby preventing baldness.
Common myths about baldness
Wearing hats will make you lose your hair.
Going out regularly in the sun can cause baldness.
Playing with your hair or fiddling with it can make you lose hair.