What is alopecia?
Alopecia is a medical word that describes hair loss on any portion of the body where hair typically grows, whether it is partial or full. It can strike at any age and affect both men and women. Alopecia comes in a variety of forms, each with its own origins, signs, and treatments.
Androgenetic alopecia usually referred to as male or female pattern baldness, is the most prevalent type of alopecia. Up to 50% of men and women over the age of 50 are affected by this genetic disorder. Usually, it leads to hair loss that begins at the top of the head and moves down to the front.
Other forms of alopecia include traction alopecia, which develops as a result of excessive pulling or tension on the hair as a result of particular hairstyles, telogen effluvium, a temporary condition brought on by physical or emotional stress and resulting in widespread hair shedding, and alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that results in patchy hair loss.
While alopecia areata may result in abrupt, uneven hair loss, androgenetic alopecia typically causes the hair to be lost progressively over time. While traction alopecia may cause hair loss in areas where the hair is pulled tightly, such as the hairline, temples, or crown, telogen effluvium may result in diffuse hair loss across the entire scalp. Whatever the form, hair loss can significantly affect a person’s quality of life and sense of self-worth.
What is the cause of alopecia?
Depending on the type of hair loss, alopecia can have a variety of causes. Genetics, specifically the presence of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can cause hair follicles to shrink and eventually stop generating hair, is the most common cause of androgenetic alopecia. Age, hormonal changes, and specific drugs can all play a role in this kind of hair loss.
On the other hand, alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system unintentionally damages the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Although the precise cause of this illness is unknown, a mix of hereditary and environmental factors are thought to be responsible.
Physical or mental stress, such as illness, surgery, or a traumatic incident, frequently causes telogen effluvium. This may result in extensive hair shedding by causing hair follicles to enter the resting stage of the hair development cycle too soon.
Tight braids, ponytails, and extensions are just a few examples of hairstyles that can induce stress alopecia, or thinning of the hair. If left untreated, this can harm the hair follicles and cause irreversible hair loss.
Fungal infections, specific medical illnesses including thyroid problems or lupus, exposure to specific chemicals, or radiation exposure are other, less prevalent causes of alopecia.
A correct diagnosis from a medical practitioner is required to identify the underlying cause of hair loss because not all occurrences of hair loss are caused by alopecia.
Does stress cause alopecia?
Telogen effluvium, a kind of hair loss characterised by widespread scalp hair loss, is frequently brought on by stress. This disorder happens when physical or emotional stress causes hair follicles to prematurely enter the resting stage of the hair development cycle. The hair may be noticeably thin as a result of this since many hairs may fall out at once.
Telogen effluvium can be caused by stress, however, it is not the primary factor. Sickness, surgery, weight loss, and hormonal changes are more common reasons. The hair will usually recover if the underlying reason is resolved.
It’s significant to remember that not all forms of alopecia are triggered by stress. For instance, androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary and hormonal condition, whereas alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition. Stress can still contribute to these issues, though, because it can cause or exacerbate hair loss.
Stress management methods like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help lower the risk of hair loss caused by stress. However, getting professional assistance for underlying mental health issues like depression or anxiety can enhance general well-being and lessen the possibility of stress-related hair loss.
What are the causes of alopecia?
As was already noted, the kind of hair loss might affect the causes of alopecia. Alopecia has a number of common causes, including
Genetics: The most prevalent type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern baldness, is brought on by hereditary causes. Although it can also afflict women, this kind of alopecia is more common in men.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune illness that results in hair loss by causing the body’s immune system to target hair follicles. People of any age can suffer from this illness, and it may run in families.
Hormonal changes: Changes in hormone levels can also cause hair loss. For instance, changes in hormone levels after menopause may cause hair loss in women. Hair loss can also be brought on by some drugs, including birth control pills and hormone replacement treatment.
Physical harm: Excessive tension or pulling on the hair can harm hair follicles and result in traction alopecia. Some hairstyles, including tight braids or ponytails, may be to blame for this.
Nutritional deficiencies: Hair loss can also be caused by a deficiency in specific nutrients like iron or vitamin D.
Medical issues: Lupus and thyroid problems are two examples of illnesses that can also result in hair loss.
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The SMP treatment gives me a natural subtle look, it isn’t something that stands out or has people commenting on it, on the contrary people are no longer commenting on my hair loss, which is exactly what I wanted.
Things to avoid when you have alopecia areata
While there are numerous ways to manage alopecia areata, there are also a number of items you should avoid if you want to stop additional hair loss and encourage hair growth. When you have alopecia areata, it’s crucial to stay away from things like
Stress: finding strategies to control stress and lower anxiety is crucial because these two things can both cause and exacerbate alopecia areata. This could involve practices like yoga, meditation, or stress management.
Avoid using harsh chemicals, such as hair colours, perming solutions, and relaxers, on your hair and scalp. These substances have the potential to harm hair follicles and cause hair loss.
Avoid using heat-styling products like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers on your hair. These tools have the potential to harm hair and increase breakage risk.
Avoid wearing your hair in tight fashions like braids, weaves, and ponytails, since they might pull on your hair and cause hair loss.
Nutritional deficiencies: Consuming a well-balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals is essential for encouraging hair development and preventing hair loss. A healthy diet can be maintained by staying away from processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive alcohol usage.
Quitting smoking can help manage alopecia areata because it is a potential cause of hair loss.
All things considered, keeping away from these triggers can help to reduce the risk of alopecia areata and encourage hair development.
What are the treatments for alopecia?
Depending on the type of hair loss and the underlying reason, there are several alopecia treatments available. Alopecia is commonly treated with, among other things:
Medications: Minoxidil and finasteride are just two of the drugs that can be used to treat androgenetic alopecia. Some drugs can encourage hair growth and slow down hair loss. Corticosteroids may be administered for alopecia areata to lessen inflammation and inhibit the immune system.
Hair transplantation: Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves transplanting hair from a donor area, typically the sides or back of the scalp, to balding areas of the scalp. For patients with substantial hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia, this may be a viable alternative.
Scalp micropigmentation: Scalp micropigmentation is a cosmetic surgery in which microscopic dots are tattooed on the scalp to stimulate a shaved head or to cover bald spots. For people who do not wish to get a hair transplant, this can be a good alternative.
Wigs and hairpieces: Wigs and hairpieces can be used to conceal bald spots and create a hairline that looks natural. Human hair and synthetic choices are both available in a wide variety of wigs and hairpieces.
It’s crucial to remember that not every person with alopecia will respond to every medication, so a healthcare provider should be contacted to choose the most appropriate course of action. Moreover, some alopecias may not respond to treatment and may be permanent.
What home treatments are available for alopecia?
Despite the fact that there is no known cure for alopecia, there are several at-home solutions that could manage hair loss and encourage hair growth. Among the most popular natural treatments for alopecia are:
Massage the scalp to encourage blood flow to the hair follicles and the growth of new hair. Either your fingers or a tool for massaging the scalp can be used for this.
Essential oils: When applied directly to the scalp, essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oil may aid in promoting hair growth. These oils can be rubbed into the scalp while being combined with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil.
Aloe vera: Due to its anti-inflammatory characteristics, aloe vera may aid in reducing scalp inflammation, which can cause hair loss. Aloe vera gel applied to the scalp may aid in promoting hair growth.
Juice from an onion: The sulphur components in onion juice may aid in promoting hair growth. In order to promote hair development, apply onion juice to the scalp and let it stay there for 30 to 60 minutes before rinsing.
Nutrition and food: Consuming a well-balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and biotin may help to encourage hair development and stop hair loss.
It’s important to remember that while these natural therapies may help control hair loss, they might not work for everyone and shouldn’t be used in place of professional medical care. Also, before applying any new treatments to the scalp, it’s vital to perform a patch test because some people may have allergies or sensitivity to certain substances.
What healthy treatments are available for alopecia?
In addition to prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines, healthy lifestyle adjustments can help control alopecia and encourage hair growth. The following are a few of the most popular natural remedies for alopecia:
Reducing stress: As stress can cause hair loss, finding methods to do so, such as meditation, yoga, or exercise, may help manage alopecia.
Exercise on a regular basis: Exercise on a regular basis can enhance blood flow to the scalp and encourage hair growth. On most days of the week, try to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking or cycling.
Dietary balance: Consuming a diet that is well-balanced and rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and biotin may help to encourage hair development and stop hair loss. Try to balance your diet by consuming a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Scalp care: Maintaining a clean, healthy scalp may aid in promoting hair development. Avoid using harsh chemicals or heat styling methods that can harm the hair and instead use a gentle shampoo and conditioner.
Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a completely healthy way of treating alopecia, it avoids the use of any drug therapies or surgery. So if you are looking to avoid the use of unnatural chemicals and invasive treatments, it should certainly be a consideration.
Genetics, immunological conditions, hormone imbalances, and other factors can all contribute to the development of alopecia. Alopecia cannot be cured, but there are a number of therapy options that can help control hair loss and encourage hair growth. Among these remedies include prescription drugs, surgical hair transplants, scalp micropigmentation, and wigs or hair extensions.
Home remedies and healthy lifestyle adjustments can help control alopecia and encourage hair growth in addition to medical therapies. Among these include scalp massages, the use of essential oils, aloe vera, onion juice, regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management techniques, and giving up smoking.
Overall, controlling alopecia can be difficult, but with the correct treatment strategy and a change in lifestyle, hair growth can be encouraged and hair loss can be controlled.
How we can help
Here at Scalpculture, we are the leading authority on scalp micropigmentation (SMP).
Our treatments can permanently remove bald patches and give the appearance of either a shaved head or if you want to keep some hair, you can disguise hair if it is thinning in some places. For more information, book a free online or in-person consultation.