Why is it important to act quickly on hair loss
Jan, 16 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Losing hair is not just about your appearance, it’s a lot more than that. The change in appearance when a person loses their hair or grows a bald patch can be drastic; it is also the first thing anyone worries about, but it doesn’t stop there. Hair loss is known to cause stress, anxiety, or depression. Hair loss can also cause BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder or Body Dysmorphia). According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Services, BDD is a “mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others”.
So if you start noticing that your hair is falling more than usual, you see more hair in your shower drain, in your comb, or on the pillow, it is a cause of concern. Now, a normal person loses about 50-100 strands of hair a day on an average, and that’s nothing to worry about. But significantly more than is not normal. Apart from the hair stuck in your comb or the shower drain, you might notice that your hair parting is becoming wider, or your hairline and temples are receding. Usually men notice their hairline receding, and for women the hair along the temples becomes thinner or shorter. For women their ponytail or bun will also start looking less fuller.
And if this happens to you, acting fast is key. You might actually reverse your hair loss in some cases, and if the hair loss is the genetic kind, you can find a solution which saves you the agony of seeing you bald spots grow over time, or your hair becoming alarmingly thin.
So what should you do?
First of all, identify the cause of hair fall. This can be done by scheduling a hair analysis or a consultation with an expert. Experts will ask for your blood work to rule out any medical conditions, examine your medical history, or even order a hair biopsy.
Now, hair loss can be due to the loss or destruction of hair follicles which is also called scarring or cicatricial alopecia, or the second kind: non-scarring hair loss. Cicatricial alopecia is a rare inflammatory disorder which destroys hair follicles and replaces it with scar tissue causing permanent hair fall.
Whereas non-scarring hair loss is caused by age, stress or medical conditions. It is most common among older men. The most common kind of non-scarring alopecia is Androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness. It is caused by DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, an androgen produced as a byproduct of testosterone. It causes the miniaturisation of hair follicles leading to permanent hair fall. Non-scarring hair loss can also be Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder wherein the body attacks its own hair follicles, or Telogen Effluvium, temporary hair loss caused by medication or a health condition.
A consultation and analysis by an expert can identify what the actual cause of hair fall is. Unless the hair fall is genetic, it is usually reversible. So, hair loss caused by nutritional deficiencies can be easily cured by working on a suitable diet or a nutrition plan, taking dietary supplements, and medication to cure any deficiencies in the body. In case of stress-related hair loss, it can be stopped by fixing the root of the problem itself. Patients can go for therapy, or try alternative medicine or start practicing yoga, meditation, and in some cases even get medication. If the underlying issues are treated, hair loss can even be reversed.
Therefore it is important to act fast and not wait till there has been a lot of hair fall or the body finds it hard to recuperate from the possible medical condition that might be causing the hair fall. Even in the cases of scarring alopecia, depending on the kind it is, various medical treatments are available and they can stop it from spreading.
In cases of pattern baldness, if it is diagnosed early, there are topical treatments like Minoxidil and Finasteride available which have proven to be helpful in arresting hair fall. Experts believe that Minoxidil causes an increase of blood flow to the hair follicles leading to hair growth, and extends the growth or Anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Whereas Finasteride inhibits the production of the enzyme responsible for the conversion of your body's testosterone into DHT. Although both the medicines may not bring your lost hair back, they can stop further hair loss or at least slow it down. They have both proven successful in the early stages of hair fall. Therefore, acting early is important for hair loss patients especially those who have just started losing hair, perhaps those in their twenties.
Hair transplants, the only permanent solution to genetic hair loss, is also very helpful if patients can act on time and find an expert early. Hair transplants involve taking healthy hair follicles from the DHT-resistant zones of the scalp, which are the back and sides of the head, and replanting them on to the bald or thinning spots. Now, the success of the procedure or even eligibility for a hair transplant hinges on the availability of donor hair. Patients need to get the procedure while they have enough donor hair, which they might lose as hair loss progresses. Although, the option of BHT or Body Hair Transplant is still available, wherein a patient's body hair is used as donor hair, but the characteristics of body hair are very different than those of the hair on the head. Body hair is shorter and curlier.
Solutions to all kinds of hair loss exist, but it is important to seek those on time. Don’t wait till it takes a toll on your mental health, after all you have other important things to worry about.