Does excessive hair loss distress you? Have you noticed an alarming amount of hair strands on your comb or hairbrush, or an increasing number of hairs on your pillow in the morning when you wake up? Does your hair look thinner than before?
It may be normal to lose 50-100 strands of hair each day, but if you are above the normal range it means you might be suffering from a hair loss problem, also known as alopecia. Aside from thinning the hair, alopecia causes patches of baldness in the scalp as well. In the worst case, you may completely lose your hair!
Hair loss can be categorized into scarring alopecia and non-scarring alopecia.
Scarring alopecia is an irreversible type of hair loss. It takes place when the skin beneath the hair is damaged, resulting in scarring. This event will damage the hair follicles and may impair their ability to regenerate. This type of alopecia is common among individuals who have severe skin disorders and those people who have injuries that affect the skin, such as severe burns and other physical traumas.
On the other hand, non-scarring alopecia can be reversed, particularly when the risk factors are modifiable. This is the most common excessive hair loss problem affecting society, yet the majority of the affected population is having difficulty addressing this health menace. Thus, the discussion in this article will focus on non-scarring alopecia.
Are You At Higher Risk Of Suffering From Excessive Hair Loss?
There are 6 in every 10 Australians that are affected by excessive hair loss. In general, hair loss occurs as a natural phenomenon among adults, starting during their 30s or 40s and progressing as part of the aging process. However, even the younger generation these days is experiencing excessive hair loss related to stress, thyroid disorder, nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalance and illness, exposure to pollutants and harmful hair chemicals, as well as chemotherapy for cancer patients and other medications.
Excessive hair loss may affect all genders, but it is more common in men. Aside from the aging process and gender, genetic predisposition and family history also increase a person’s risk of experiencing alopecia. Do you have the risk factors that trigger alopecia? Assess yourself further if your answer is yes to any of the symptoms discussed below.
What Are the Symptoms of Excessive Hair Loss?
As mentioned earlier, you can say that you have alopecia once you’re shedding more than 100 hair strands a day. However, it is impractical to count each falling strand. What you can do is observe your hair and scalp’s appearance meticulously.
Have you noticed coin-size bald patches on your scalp or are you experiencing overall thinning of your hair? These two are the most prominent symptoms of alopecia. Other symptoms than those are symptoms related to the cause of your hair loss. For instance, if your hair loss is brought about by stress, then the other manifestations you will experience are stress symptoms such as body pains, stomach upset, difficulty sleeping, low energy levels, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, persistent worrying, poor concentration, overeating or eating less, oversleeping or sleeping less, nail biting and other nervous habits.
What Causes Excessive Hair Loss?
The cause of hair loss is often determined through your hair pattern. If you have patchy hair loss, you may find that alopecia areata, traction alopecia, trichotillomania or tinea capitis are the primary causes. Generalized hair loss on the other hand are often associated with stress and heredity.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, which means your own immune system is attacking your hair follicles. The hair follicles are located underneath the skin and serve as an anchor for each hair. At the bottom of each hair follicle is the hair bulb where the living cells divide. When these cells grow, they help in building up the hair shaft, the visible part of the hair. Therefore, when massive numbers of hair follicles are damaged, it will affect the ability of the hair to reproduce living cells and grow, resulting to patches of baldness. The smooth, coin-sized baldness in alopecia areata distinguishes it from other hair loss cases.
Another cause of patchy hair loss is traction alopecia. People who are affected by traction alopecia may have localised, small patches of baldness caused by persistent pulling force exerted on the hair roots. This has something to do with hairstyles such as tight ponytails and braids. The pulling tension causes hair to fall.
Trichotillomania is another condition that triggers excessive hair loss. This is a mental disorder in which the affected individuals have the habit of pulling or twisting their hair unconsciously. The patches of baldness caused by this are not smooth like in alopecia areata.
Moreover, a scalp fungal infection can also cause excessive hair loss, a condition called tinea capitis. This rarely affects healthy adults, yet it is common among children. Tinea capitis causes bald spots and dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), which affect the scalp.
For generalised hair loss, this is often caused by a disturbance in the normal rhythm of hair growth. Mostly this is associated with stress. It is common among individuals who are persistently exposed to stress emotionally, mentally or physically. Study findings show that people who have severe illness, or have undergone surgery, childbirth or sudden weight loss are most affected. Likewise, generalised hair loss is the characteristic of androgenic hair loss or pattern baldness in men and women. Androgenic hair loss is often associated with heredity (genetic predisposition) and hormonal imbalances.
How Does Excessive Hair Loss Affect You Emotionally and Psychologically?
If given a choice, would you prefer to be bald or would you wish to have nice, evenly distributed hair? Some people, who are used to being bald or having thinning hair, may prefer their current hair appearance. However, I’m quite sure that the majority of individuals suffering from hair loss problems want to have a normal volume and distribution of hair.
One of the societal dilemmas of excessive hair loss is its association with aging. You can’t get away with the thought that when you notice you have a receding hairline or your hair is becoming thinner, you immediately think that you’re getting older.
Moreover, study findings revealed that hair loss has a negative impact on the body image of both men and women. Body image is associated with self-esteem. It is how you feel and see your body or appearance. People experiencing excessive hair loss often have negative body image, which means they are anxious and uncomfortable about how they look. Sometimes they feel insecure and fear being rejected by other people because of their appearance. Some people may feel unattractive and less confident. This can also lead to social discrimination, which may be experienced each day in the workplace or any public place; the teasing and humiliation that other people inflict as a result of the hair loss.
Also, it is frustrating when you can’t have the hairstyle that you’ve always wanted.
All of these become sources of stress, which adds more to the contributing factors, leading to further hair loss!
To help you deal with hair loss problems, here are 5 natural remedies:
5 Natural Remedies for Excessive Hair Loss
Hearing about products that can instantly help in preventing hair loss or regrowing hair sounds fascinating. There are times when we don’t even know what’s in these products that can help us, but we just jump to conclusions and try them. Sometimes we end up frustrated and traumatised with the results, yet we continue the habit, shifting from one product to another. Instead of using chemical-based products, why don’t you try some effective natural remedies? Here are 5 do-it-yourself natural remedies for excessive hair loss problems:
Excessive Hair Loss Natural Remedy #1: Apply a mixture of egg white and olive oil
Create a mixture of egg white and olive oil using the ratio 1:1, which means use the egg white of 1 egg for each teaspoon of olive oil. Mix them well, until the consistency is paste-like. Apply the mixture onto your hair and scalp and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse your hair and scalp thoroughly with a mild shampoo and cool water.
Eggs are rich in sulphur, a mineral that promotes collagen production. Collagen is the major structural protein of hair. This means sulphur has directly contributes to the growth and overall health of your hair, particularly its strength and elasticity.
Combining egg whites with olive oil provides a synergistic effect for healthier hair. Aside from its moisturizing and conditioning effect, olive oil has antifungal properties as well. Remember that fungal infection can be a cause of excessive hair loss.
Excessive Hair Loss Natural Remedy #2: Use coconut milk
Add a little water to grated coconut. Squeeze out its milk and then you can immediately apply it on areas with notable hair loss or thinning. Leave it overnight and rinse it off with water the next morning.
Coconut milk is the classic natural hair conditioner that promotes hair growth. It contains essential fat, proteins, potassium and iron, which are necessary in strengthening the hair from the roots up to the tips and in protecting you from further hair loss.
Excessive Hair Loss Natural Remedy #3: Eat foods rich in vitamin C, Iron and vitamin B12.
Hair loss can be caused by nutritional deficiency, particularly when you lack vitamin C, B12 and iron. It has been noted in studies that individuals who are deficient in any of these three nutrients experience excessive hair loss. The solution is increasing your intake of food sources that are rich in these nutrients.
Vitamin C helps in collagen formation. Foods that are abundant in vitamin C include citrus fruits (i.e. orange, grapefruit), cantaloupe, guava, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes and red or green peppers.
Moreover, if your vitamin B12 deficiency is causing your hair loss, eat more organ meats, eggs, poultry, meats, dairy and shellfish. Bear in mind that plant foods do not contain B12 unless fortified.
For hair loss caused by lack of iron, you should have animal and plant food sources. Chicken and beef liver, clams, oysters, sardines, cooked beef, chicken or pork are all good sources of iron. You may also eat beans, tofu, pumpkin, apricots, baked potatoes, broccoli, peanuts, raisins, prunes, pasta and rice.
Excessive Hair Loss Natural Remedy #4: Regrow hair with the help of onion
When using onion as a natural hair loss remedy, you will need to extract its juice. So chop it into small pieces and squeeze it like grated coconut. Apply the onion juice to your scalp and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Then, rinse your scalp and hair with water and a mild shampoo.
Onion is an effective natural remedy for excessive hair loss because of its high sulphur content, which aids in collagen production, just like eggs.
Excessive Hair Loss Natural Remedy #5: Try some stress reduction techniques
As mentioned earlier, stress can cause generalised hair loss. Therefore, you need to find a stress reduction technique that works best for you. How do you manage your stress?
One of the most convenient stress reduction techniques is abdominal breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale downwards into the belly, so your abdomen expands. Then, exhale longer and notice your belly going back to normal. You can check more details and a demonstration HERE
Regular exercise can also help release the tension in your muscles. Jogging, walking, aerobics, and Tai Qigong are just some of the fitness activities you may try to relieve stress.
Moreover, other people find it relaxing to take a warm shower, have a full body massage, listen to classical and soulful music, play video games, read books – whatever is on your own ‘relaxation list.’
You may like to also try these 3 Effective Ways to Reduce Stress, click HERE
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