Hair Loss

How does Hair Loss Work

Hair Loss Classification System

The Norwood Hamilton Scale is a way to measure the extent of male pattern baldness, and is the generally accepted standard when describing hair loss for men in general.

Men typically lose hair in several patterns. The most common are receding at the temples, on the top back of the head (known as the vertex), and diffuse thinning where hair over large areas begins to thin, without a specific change to the hairline. Combinations of these types of losses also occur. The Norwood Hamilton Scale can be used to categorise your level of male pattern baldness.

A hair loss classification system is also important  as a common reference point against which to measure the efficacy of available treatment options.  The further along you are on the Norwood scale, generally speaking, the fewer options you have.  At levels 5 and higher, the effectiveness of treatments such as minoxidil or finasteride becomes highly limited.

Types of Hair Loss

The most common type of hair loss in males is male pattern baldness (also known as androgenetic alopecia).  Male pattern baldness is, essentially, the preoccupation of this site and has already been discussed in detail.

Other types of hair loss, according to wiki answers, are:

Telogen Effluvium: This condition is also referred to as diffuse hair loss. In this type of hair loss, a lot of hair is lost in a short span of time. Leading causes for this condition are pregnancy, chemotherapy for cancer treatment, very high fevers, severe illnesses, and sometimes even high levels of stress can result in telogen effluvium. This is not a permanent condition and most of the lost hair does grow back within a few months. Some sudden events that can contribute to this condition are childbirth, surgery, and severe emotional stress (death of loved ones, abuse, accidents, or other traumatic events.

Alopecia Areata: Any sudden loss of hair resulting in bald patches is the condition of alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune disease where the hair follicles are attacked by the body. Why it happens has not yet been discovered. It can be a mild case and result in bald patches on the head or if it is severe it can affect the entire body hair. This condition usually treats itself without any medication although some doctors may prescribe certain steroid injections for repeated occurrence of localized alopecia areata.

Traction Alpoecia: This type of hair loss occurs in people who routinely pull on their hair through harsh brushing or hairstyles such as a tight ponytail that pull on the hair. One prime example of this condition is the braided hair popular with Africans.

Medication Related Hair Loss: Certain medicines such as accutane, allopurinol, and anti-thyroid medicines are known to cause hair loss.

Diet Related Hair Loss: Temporary hair loss and hair shedding can result from poor nutrition and an unbalanced diet. If your body is deficient in certain minerals, vitamins, and/or iron, it can cause you to lose hair.

Above information provided by Nioxin

Myth 1: If You Lose Hair Every Day You’re Going Bald

Each and every one of us loses an average of 100 hairs per day.  Losing hair on a daily basis is no reason to automatically conclude that you’re going bald or suffering from a hair loss condition.  Losing hair is part of the normal hair growth cycle which occurs in three phases: Anagen (Growth Phase), Catagen (Transitional Phase) and Telogen (Resting Phase).  The problem arises when you begin losing substantially more than this each day and less hair than usual is grown to replace it.

Depending on your personality and personal circumstances hair loss anxiety can be acute.  I recommend that you confirm whether your hair loss is ‘abnormal’ sooner rather than later by consulting a medical professional.  Better to know for sure, and do something about it, than obsess over something that may not be true.  Treatments are generally more effective the earlier you catch the hair loss and you obviously retain more of your hair.

For those who are shy, a less scientific (and less recommended) method is to buy a shower drain strainer for your shower and basin.  Be aware that the results are indicative only and for many people will only confirm what they already suspect.  Clearly this method does not tell you why you are losing hair and a visit to a medical professional should still be on your to do list.

If you’re looking to buy a shower drain strainer try Amazon.

Myth 2: Men Who Are Bald Have High Levels of Testosterone

As you’ll have seen in the ‘Hair Loss Explained’ section of the site, hair loss is caused by a greater sensitivity of hair follicles in some parts of the scalp to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), rather than to increased levels of testosterone per se. DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink (miniaturise) and eventually disappear. If elevated levels of testosterone were the problem, then you should expect all of the hair on ones body to fall out.

Myth 3: Genes for Hair Loss Come Only From the Mother’s Side of the Family

As with any genetic trait, pattern baldness can be inherited from both your mother and father’s side of the family. Even so, just because you have the gene doesn’t mean you will go bald, though your chances are greatly increased.  There are tests to determine the presence of the balding gene, however they don’t tell you which side of the family gave you the gene or even whether the gene will be expressed in the future.

Myth 4: Only Men Suffer From Pattern Baldness

Androgenetic Alopecia, more commonly known as Male Pattern Baldness, also occurs in women where it is, unsurprisingly, referred to as Female Pattern Baldness. Women actually make up forty percent of hair loss sufferers. The lower incidence and generally greater emphasis on women’s appearance combine to make Female Pattern Baldness an unpleasant stigma.

Myth 5: Using Hair Styling Products and Dyes Causes Hair Loss

While some of these products have the potential to damage hair, they don’t affect hair follicles or hair growth cycles. Other harsh chemicals such as relaxers may, however, damage hair follicles.

Myth 6: Shaving, Trimming, or Cutting Your Hair Strengthens It

Hair growth is genetically programmed. The growth rate isn’t affected by any of these activities.