Hair Loss

Understanding alopecia

Alopecia, which is the scientific name for hair loss on any part of the body, is a scary thing. Most people feel self-conscious at the earliest signs of hair loss, and desperately seek out hair loss help for fear of going completely bald.

While looks and self-esteem are issues when it comes to hair loss, it's more important is to understand the causes of hair loss. Sometimes, hair loss can be a symptom of a serious condition, while other times it may simply be genetic or caused by your lifestyle. Whatever the cause, understanding the reasons for hair loss is the first step toward a healthy hair treatment plan.

Reasons for Hair Loss

While there are many different hair loss causes, they will typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Medical. Hair loss is a symptom of many diseases and medical conditions. For example, thyroid hair loss is extremely common whether you have an overactive or underactive thyroid. Hair loss may also be a side effect of treatment for a condition, such as chemo hair loss in treatment for cancer.
  • Genetic. Balding and receding hair lines are often genetic, and there is really nothing that can be done to reverse or stop the hair loss. Certain hair loss products, such as shampoos or nutritional supplements, may help slow down the rate of loss or stimulate new growth.
  • Lifestyle. Our lifestyles are often at the root of our hair loss issues. Whether it's unhealthy eating, stress or even just the products we use on our hair, we could be causing hair loss without even knowing it.

If you notice unusual hair loss or a change in your hair quality, it's important to report the symptom to your doctor so he or she can help find the cause.

How to Stop Hair Loss

Preventing hair loss isn't always an option, given that many factors that contribute to hair loss are beyond our control. However, there are things you can do that may help slow down the rate of hair loss, and increase the rate of hair growth. These include:

  • Limit your hairstyling. Overuse of heated hair tools and restrictive hairstyles (such as tight braids or buns) can cause hair to break and/or fall out. Limiting your hair's exposure to heat and wearing looser hairstyles can help reduce hair lost due to breakage or damage.
  • Stay healthy. This includes getting plenty of sleep, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake and most importantly, paying attention to your diet. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help prevent hair loss.
  • Don't stress. Stress is a contributor to hair loss, as it takes your body's resources away from promoting hair growth.
  • Use hair loss products. Hair growth vitamins and natural hair loss treatments have been known to work in stopping hair loss and promoting hair growth. Be sure you talk to your doctor before trying any of these products.
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