In America, more than 50 million people are affected by hair loss. Out of this more than 20 million are women. With numbers like this, it is not surprising that people are coming up with many new products to fight hair loss. However, an understanding of the causes is important to determine the ways to fight hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss

The main reason for hair loss in males is genetic predisposition. It can come from the family of the father or that of the mother, contrary to the popular myth that it is inherited from the mother.  As much as 45% of the women experience some kind of hair loss during their lifetime and it can be attributed to genetic causes. Other causes for hair loss in women include iron deficiency, thyroid disease, changes in hormones, etc. In men, the hair loss starts in the 20s. In the case of women, it is mostly after menopause. A small percentage of women do experience genetic hair loss towards the fag end of their teenage years, early 20s and 30s.

The male and female pattern hair loss is different. In most cases, men retain hair around the back and the sides. This is, in fact, permanent hair. The men will continue to have this hair for their life time and they are not likely to go completely bald unless they have some disease. The hair transplant industry moves the permanent hair to other parts of the head where it will continue to grow. The female hair loss pattern is different. Women tend to have diffuse hair loss.

Hair Fall vs. Hair Loss

Hair fall is related to the life cycle of a hair. There are three phases for each strand of hair: the growth phase called anagen that lasts for about 1,000 days, the transitional phase known as catagen which may last for 10 days and the resting phase known by the name telogen that lasts 100 days. During catagen phase, the hair stops growing and after telogen phase the hair falls out of the follicle. It is then replaced by a new strand of hair. There are about 100,000 strands of hair on the scalp and about 100 of them fall off each day as they complete their life cycle. This is normal.

However, certain conditions such as stress and poor nutrition contribute to hair loss in addition to heredity. Stress is considered to be the biggest culprit in both generalized as well as patchy hair loss. Nutritional deficiency caused by crash dieting is the second leading cause for hair loss.

Ways To Fight Hair Loss

Having understood that a hair stays on a person’s head only for a period of time, that hair fall is normal and that unexplained hair loss is caused by genetic as well as other factors, some of the ways to fight hair loss are discussed below:

Management of stress and eating a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals are essential to fight hair loss. If an individual follows a lifestyle that is hectic, misses meals quite often and eats more of processed food, protein and multivitamin supplementation is very important to bridge the nutritional gap.

Hair treatments such as straightening, coloring and perming are known to damage hair and cause hair loss. It is, therefore, important to restrict the number of times the hair is subjected to these treatments to one or twice a year in order to fight hair loss.

Over massaging should be avoided as it can uproot the hair in talogen phase and cause hair trauma.

When the hair is wet, it is very weak and it should not be combed. Start combing the hair only when it is semi-dry.

Frequent use of hair dryers and especially holding it too close to the scalp can cause hair loss. A diffuser can be used to keep the dryer at least 10 inches away from the scalp and the hair should never be dried completely. Some amount of moisture should be left in the hair. Natural drying is the best option and hot rollers and tongs should also be avoided.

Tight hair styles should be avoided as they can lead to a receding hairline.

Certain medications are known to cause hair loss. Check with the doctor if excessive hair loss happens. He/she may change the medication if required.