Hair Loss


Hair loss – scientifically called as ‘Alopecia’ – also called baldness, is a medical irregularity wherein affected individual starts losing hair from scalp or body. There are different types of hair loss and baldness can be used to refer to either general loss of hair or particularly male pattern baldness. There are some hair loss types which are caused due to autoimmune disorders such as ‘Alopecia Areata’. ‘Alopecia Totalis’ is the progressed and utmost form of ‘Alopecia Areata’ – it involves loss of all hair on the scalp; on the other hand ‘Alopecia Universalis’ is a condition wherein hair loss occurs throughout the body.

Baldness can be associated to various biological factors. In most cases the condition is mild but in some cases it may be linked with serious underlying medical conditions. However, it is a cosmetic concern for sure and drastically affects the appearance of the sufferer.









There are various forms of hair loss recorded in the medical industry; these are explained below:

  • Involutional Alopecia: In this condition hair growth rate is delayed and as the affected individual grows, the density of hair strands and thickness of hair reduces.  Usually, follicles of hair enter the Telogen phase – which is also called ‘Resting Phase’ – in case of this form of hair loss.   
  • Telogen Effluvium: This sort of hair loss is imputed with alterations in hair growth cycle when considerable number of hair enters into Telogen (resting) phase. This condition is temporary hair loss, which may be experienced weeks or months post a stressful incident such as fever, serious illness, child delivery, psychological stress and sudden decrease in weight.
  • Male/Female Pattern Baldness: Male pattern baldness is also referred to as ‘Androgenic Alopecia’. If you are a man suffering with receding hairline and gradual reduction of hair from the crown area, then it may indicate affliction from ‘Androgenic Alopecia’. This condition may affect a man during early 20s or even during teens. In this condition the affected individual notices hair loss at the receding hairline along the temples area on the scalp – it progresses to form an ‘M’ shape on the head. On further aggravation the hair becomes finer, thinner and shorter and continues to fall until there is a ‘U’ shape hair loss pattern formed with hair remaining on the sides and crown being completely bald. It is said to be a genetic predisposition which can affect both men and women.

In women, Female Patten Baldness is characterized with: hair thinning of the entire scalp and intact hairline with severe hair loss on the crown region. Another indication of this type of hair loss is prominent ‘hair-part’ which may widen overtime. Affected females may experience such hair loss as early as in their 20s but the condition may not become apparent until 40s as the proliferation of hair loss is usually gradual.

  • Patchy Hair loss or Alopecia Areata: This condition is common amongst children and young adult. Alopecia Areata is characterized with one or two completely smooth patches of skin occurring due to fallen hair. This condition may not just restrict to hair on scalp but may also be associated with facial hair, legs, eyebrows and arms as well. Patchy hair loss occurs with a sudden onset and often resolves within 6 months to a year. However, if the condition is not treated, then hair may grow in the affected region in some time, but another region may become patchy.  In some cases hair may re-grown and fall again. The condition is often considered as an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system attacks its own follicles.
  • Tinea Capitis: This irregularity is also called as ‘Ringworm of the Scalp’ – a condition wherein the scalp infected by fungus. It is common in children of school-age and may ebb away by the time they reach puberty. This irregularity affects either a portion or the entire scalp and is said to be rare in healthy adults. Hair from the affected area often falls off and leaves minute black dots on the region. The afflicted skin area on the scalp is often inflamed, circular, kerions and scaly. 
  • Traction Alopecia: Traction alopecia refers to hair loss that occurs due to pressure exerted on hair in case of a particular hairstyle, which leads to hair loss in localized area.
  • Trichotillomania: This is not a type of hair loss but is a psychological irregularity that causes a person to pull and aggressively twist his/her own hair from the scalp, eyelashes or even beards. This condition is also referred to as hair pulling disorder. The condition is commonly found in children.
  • Trichorrhexis Nodosa: This is a type of hair loss with defect in hair fibers. The condition is characterized with frayed and swollen nodes along the shafts of hair, which leads to breakage.

Most individuals generally lose around 50 to 100 hairs daily. This amount should not be an issue with scalp being covered with around 100,000 strands of hair and considerable re-growth. In this case the irregularity mostly goes unnoticed. Ageing is one common factor that causes thinning of hair and hair fall, but there are other factors that also lead to the condition; these are mentioned here.

  • Hereditary Loss of hair: Hair loss can be genetic or hereditary – running in the familial down-line. Androgen alopecia is regarded as genetically predisposed hair loss. Hair loss caused due to genetic irregularity is said to be the most common, majority of cases are attributed to it. The gene may get inherited from either paternal side or maternal side of the family; however, one is at considerably higher risk of developing alopecia if both sides have hair loss issue.
  • Hypothyroidism: Thyroid irregularity affects millions of individuals throughout the world and most of them are women. Thyroid hormones are regulatory hormones associated with functioning of major biological processed ranging from basal metabolic rate to hair, skin and nail growth. This hormone is produced in the thyroid gland. In some irregular cases, thyroid may produce surplus or deficient thyroid hormones; which is called Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism respectively. Thus, any irregularity with level of this hormone can also influence hair health.
  • Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disorder of chronic nature wherein immune system attacks healthy tissues of the body.  This condition is prevalent in around 1.5 million people and often strikes child-bearing age females.
  • Iron-deficiency anemia: This condition may affect women with heavy menstrual cycles or diet that is deficient of iron. In this case blood does not get adequate RBC or Red Blood Cells to carry and supply oxygen throughout body, including scalp. Energy also becomes deficient causing overall misbalance of biological processes of the body. 
  • Skin irregularities: Skin issues may affect the scalp region as well, and an unhealthy scalp may affect the growth and overall health of the hair causing them to fall. Certain skin conditions, which may contribute to result in hair-loss includes: seborrheic dermatitis, fungal infection, psoriasis, etc.
  • Excessive hairstyling: Excessive hairstyling using harsh chemical based products such as shampoo, conditioner, hair-dye, etc., may lead to affected hair health. Applying heat to curl or straighten your hair, such as through hair dryers or straightening machine, can also damage your hair and make them prone to breakage and fall.
  • Medicinal side effects: Hair loss can also be associated with side-effects of medicines. There are certain medicines which are used against cancer, arthritis, depression, heart issues, hypertension, etc.
  • Physical or psychological shock: People may also experience hair thinning after several months of emotional or physical shock. Physical shock includes dramatic weight loss, severe fever while psychological trauma (includes incidence such as death of a loved one), etc.

Hair loss can be easily detected by noticing fallen hairs on shoulder, while bathing or on pillow when you wake up in the morning. Some hair loss can be chronic while others can be temporary. To determine whether one is suffering from hair-loss, understanding its symptoms will be helpful. Some of the common symptoms of hair loss are listed below:

  • Gradual thinning of hair on the crown area
  • Circular and smooth bald patches on the scalp
  • Sudden loosening of hair
  • Loss of hairs on the body
  • Receding hairline
  • Hair loss of beards.

Note: Symptoms of hair loss may vary depending on the type of hair loss a person is affected with.

A group of people with certain traits may be prone to suffer from hair loss. These people may:

  • People who Have family history of hair loss and are prone to hair loss due to genetic predisposition
  • People who regularly undergo cosmetic hair treatment especially those based on chemicals such as hair coloring, conditioning, straightening, etc.
  • People with poor nutrition are also at risk of getting affected with hair loss, as hair of such individuals does not get sufficient, needed nutrients.

Male Pattern and Female Pattern baldness does not usually need a test as these are not associated with increased loss rate. A young individual affected with the condition but with no familial history of hair loss would indicate that the condition can be a side-effect. However, to diagnose hair loss, there are certain methods that are adopted, which may include.

  • Pull Test:
    This method of testing helps in analyzing the diffused hair loss. In this technique gentle traction is applied on set of hair of 40 to 60 strands on different regions on the scalp. The amount of extracted hairs is counted and evaluated under microscope. The diagnosis is considered as positive if over 10 hairs are extracted during the process, in normal cases not more than three hairs are pulled out from evaluated region.
  • Pluck Test:
    This evaluation technique involves puling hair from the roots. The root of the hair plucked from the scalp is tested through a microscope to understand the phase of hair growth. The test is also used to diagnose defect associated with systemic issues, telogen or anagen. Hairs have bulbs when in their Telogen stage and do not have sheaths at roots. There is an augmented ratio of hair in the Telogen Effluvium stage that is detected upon examination. Hair in Anagen state has sheaths still attached to the roots and Anagen effluvium stages is understood with decreased amount of Telogen hairs and more broken hair strands.
  • Scalp Biopsy:

This test is done when other tests do not confirm the diagnosis. There are two options for biopsy one is scarring and non-scarring form of biopsy. A small skin sample is taken for the test, this sample is usually obtained from inflamed site which is often the margin or edge of the balding patch.   

  • Daily Hair Counts:

This type of hair loss testing is done when the ‘Pull Test’ has negative outcome. This test involves counting the number of lost hairs. Fallen hair strands from the first combing in the morning and hair-washing should be counted. Hair is often gathered in a transparent plastic bag for around 2 weeks. If the total number of hair fallen in a day exceed 100 hair strands, then it is considered abnormal. However, in case of shampooing even in normal conditions, one may lose as much as 250 strands of hair a day.

  • Trichoscopy:
    This test is a non-invasive technique for examining scalp and hair. There are handheld devices such as dermascope which are used to perform the test. The test enables differential diagnosis of the condition in most cases.

In cases of prominent hair thinning and excess loss of hair, it is crucial to consult a doctor or dermatologist. In most cases hair loss may be associated with underlying genetic irregularities which are best identified by a professional health advisor. Hair loss may also be associated with certain medical conditions and in such cases early diagnosis is beneficial as it may help in averting further complications.

  • Medicines:-

    Medical industry has various hair loss treatments which have limited success rate. There are three known ingredients which are found to be helpful in preventing proliferation of hair loss than hair re-growth; these are explained here.

    • Minoxidil:

      Minoxidil is a non-prescription medicine, which is marked as treatment for Male Pattern Baldness as well as Alopecia areata. The medicine is available in liquid form or also as foam, which is used by topically rubbing the solution on the scalp twice daily. It is considered as one of the most effective treatments for Male pattern and Female Pattern baldness. However, in around 30 to 40 percent cases, patients have reported about hair growth. This medicine is not efficacious against hair loss caused due to other factors. Re-growth of hair may take around 8 months to 12 months. Doctors suggest continuing the treatment for life-time as if discontinued the state of hair may resume. Frequent side-effects of this condition include irritation of scale, increased facial hair and allergic contact dermatitis.

    • Finasteride:

      Finasteride is a medicine which is prescribed for hair loss patients. It comes in tablet form which should be taken orally and is suggested to be taken on daily basis. The medicine is not indicated for females, and pregnant women should avoid taking this medicine. Results can be obtained in approximately 6 to 8 months from the start of the regimen. Experts have recorded certain side-effects of the medicine which include affected sex drive, myopathy, erectile issues, ejaculatory irregularities, gynecomastia. Treatment including Finasteride should be continued as long as considerable results are noticed, once treatment is ceased, the effects may relapse.

    • Corticosteroid:

      Alopecia Areata can be treated by administering Corticosteroid intravenously into the scalp. Sittings for such treatment are done episodically on monthly basis. In case of extensive hair loss due to Alopecia Areata, oral pills may be suggested. It may take a month for results to start showing.

    • Immunosuppressants:

      This can be topical solution which when applied on scalp can temporary help in reversing Alopecia Areata. But due to some drug side-effects its efficacy is questionable.

    • Hormonal modulators:
      Hormonal modulators such as oral contraceptives, anti-androgens, etc, can be used to deal with female pattern hair loss caused due to hyperandrogenemia.

  • Surgical procedures:-

Hair transplantation is name given to surgical operations done for hair restoration. The procedure is carried after administering local anesthesia to the patient.  Hair transplantation takes around 4 to 8 hours and sometimes additional sessions may be done to increase the density of the hair.  It is also said that transplanted hair fall away in a few weeks but re-grows in a month, permanently.

The procedure involves taking tiny plugs of skin, each with a few hair follicles, and implanting these plugs on the bald area. The area from which the plug is extracted is called the donor area which is usually the sides or back of the scalp.

There are surgical operations such as follicle transplants, scalp reconstructions and hair-loss reductions, from which one can chose. These procedures are often preferred by people who are too conscious about their hair-loss and appearance. These procedures can be expensive and painful, and involves scarring and infection risk. Quality of new hair can be assessed after 6 to 8 months after surgery.

  • Scalp reduction is a technique which is not so widely used these days due to better and advanced methods of hair restoration. However, in this method the balding scalp region on the head is reduced. In this case the balding region is surgically removed and area bearing hair are stretched and brought together and sutured. To give a natural look, the procedure is often done in combination with other hair transplantation.  
  •  Hairline lowering is a procedure which is usually suggested for lowering the hairline in case wherein the patient has a prominently higher hairline. However, the procedure is also suggested in hair loss cases with other transplant methods. The procedure may cause scaring which may become visible after further hair loss.   
  • Micro Needling, this is not an invasive treatment actually and is said to be painless. It is so non-invasive that it can be performed at home, as said by users. In this procedure a handheld roller with needles is run along the affected area but is often accompanied with topical application suitable for hair re-growth. In this technique small punctures are created on the scalp which allows for better absorption. Some people also claim to have used Minoxidil with the technique and experienced better results.
  • FUE or Follicular Unit Extraction – also called as Follicular Transfer (FT) – is one of the commonly and highly preferred techniques for hair loss. This is a method in which grafts containing one to four hairs are extracted from donor region – which is often the back of side of head, but can be body also – and is implanted to the balding region. A mechanical machine is used to perform the procedure and the operation is conducted after administering the patient with local anesthesia. This treatment leaves less or no scar and is a permanent solution for hair loss.
  • Strip transplant or Strip harvesting is another procedure wherein a considerable strip of scalp is extracted and implanted on the balding skin region. The donor area is than stitched and packed. This procedure leave scar on the scalp.
  • Wigs:

When patients cannot opt for medical or surgical procedures, due to any medical or personal reason, they are suggested to go for wigs or hairpieces. These hair pieces can be used as temporary coverage for balding region and are not permanent solutions for hair loss.

  • Hair styling:

In some cases people manage with the condition by maintaining a suitable hairstyle. For example, ‘comb over’ is a hairstyle wherein the patient can comb his hair in the direction over the balding skin region covering the area. Comb over may become less effective if the condition progresses and affects remaining hair on the scalp. Some people prefer embracing the baldness rather fighting it; they shave their head and adopt a completely bald look.

  • Massage:
  • It is said that massaging head regularly encourages healthy hair, prevents hair loss and in some cases promotes hair growth. Massaging is said to increase blood flow to scalp, which nurtures the scalp providing necessary nutrients to strengthen hair roots. While massaging the head the skin becomes warmed-up and dilates blood vessels which aid circulation and nutrient absorption. Dandruff is one of the factors that causes hair loss and massaging scalp with essential oil can be helpful. Selecting appropriate oil for hair massage is essential; and here are some.  

    • Coconut oil
    • Olive Oil
    • Almond oil
    • Lavender Flowers oil
    • Rosemary Oil
    • Geranium oil
  • One of the highly used and praised home remedies against hair loss is said to be Onion. Applying freshly extracted onion juice on scalp and massaging it gently can help in not only preventing hair loss but also promotes hair growth in short-time. Though there are no scientific evidences on this, but numerous individuals throughout the world are adopting this technique. The solution should be used thrice a week and for several months, while some claimed to have obtained results in 2 months.
  • Garlic is another helpful home remedy that can promote re-growth. It can be either directly rubbed on the balding region or its extract can be gently massaged on the scalp. Some people also mix garlic extract and onion juice to apply on head. The applied extract should be kept for 40 to 60 minutes before washing your head with any natural shampoo.

  • Hair Loss diet:
  • Diet serves to be the foundation of our health; this is also applicable when it comes to hair loss. If hairs are not provided with necessary nutrition they tend to grow weak and become prone to damages and may fall. Eating right can help in having better and healthier hair. It may also prevent hair loss. Here are some foods that are good sources of pro-hair nutrients.

    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, soybean and sardines, etc.
    • Zinc rich eatables: Lean beef, spinach, nuts, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, pork, chicken, wheat germ, seafood (crab, oysters, etc)
    • Protein: Milk, yogurt, lentils, sea- foods, eggs, beans, soy, lean beef, cheese, etc.
    • Iron rich foods: Red meat, eggplant, dark green-leafy vegetables, dry fruits, mollusks, turkey, lentils, beans, chickpeas, liver, etc.
    • Vitamin A: Carrot, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, mustard green, etc.
    • Vitamin C: Papaya, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, pineapples, kiwi-fruit, oranges, etc.

In case of cute hair loss and hair thing, one can also adopt various herbs that are available readily in natural medicine form. These herbs are mostly Eastern tradition medicines originating in countries like Indian and China. There are also herbs from American continents and other regions that have proved to be efficacious in treating hair loss. Some of these herbs are:

  • Bhringaraj (scientifically called as Eclipta Alba)
  • Amla (or Indian Gooseberry scientifically known as Phyllanthus Emblica)
  • Ghritkumari (commonly called as Aloe Vera)
  • Yucca plant or yucca root powder


  • Avoid unhealthy habits:

There are certain lifestyle habits which can make you lose hair. One of such highly adverse habits is ‘Smoking’. Smoking is said to affect the blood circulation by narrowing the arteries. Hence, when hairs do not obtain sufficient blood supply they tend to become weak and fall off. Thus, it is essential to avoid smoking if you are a smoker and affected with hair loss.

  • Crash Diet:

Body directs energy to essential functions such as functioning of heat and brain, in case of starving and thus less or no energy or nutrients are supplied to hair. In fact, in most people diagnosed with anorexia, one of the leading symptoms is serious hair loss. Thus, it is essential to have a healthy diet to ensure hair obtains necessary nutrition.

  • Avoid Hot styling tools and chemicals:

Scorching air form devices such as hair dryer, hair-straightener, etc., can deprive the hair of necessary proteins. It also affects the protective shield of hair called cuticles. Thus, it is essential to avoid using these devices on hair. Chemical based hair styling products such as strong-hold gels, dye, etc., are also said to cause damages to hair. One should try avoiding these products as much as possible.

  • Avoiding stress:

Stress is one of the factors commonly associated with hair loss. High amount of stress can be the root cause of falling hairs. There are various techniques that can be adopted to deal with stress. One of the most helpful techniques to control stress is meditation. This is a free, effective and simple technique that everyone can practice. Meditation is all about focusing your attention through which one can avoid all unwanted and negative thoughts and focus on things that one like or focus on nothingness. Meditation is said to enhance self awareness and promote psychological as well as physical well being.

Stress can also be controlled with ‘deep breathing’ which can serve as an alleviative approach to provide faster relief and may be helpful in long run. This exercise can be done anywhere anytime by just slowing your respiration and taking deeper breaths focusing on every breath you take. Exercising is linked with enhanced mood and enhanced mood can reduce stress significantly. Daily exercises in moderation can do the trick. You can adopt any form of exercises, strength building, cardio, sports, aerobics, yoga, etc.

Hair loss is a medical concern and it is best when handled with help of a certified health professional. It is crucial to diagnose the condition medically as this will help in determining any underlying medical conditions, which can be serious and resulting in hair loss. Alternative techniques, lifestyle changes and herbal medicines are best when used in adjunct with proper medical treatment, especially in case of severe hair loss. 

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