Androgynous causes of hair loss refers to balding that occurs in men and women regardless of their gender. While some loss is dependent on gender, this chapter has dealt only with non-gender specific causes of hair loss. This chapter describes the following basic reasons for androgynous loss: nutrition, drugs, disease, medical treatments, hair treatments, scalp infections, telogen effluvium, cicatricial alopecia, alopecia areata, and trichotillomania. Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and over-all effect of these issues have been covered.
Good nutrition may slow or avoid hair loss that results from a poor diet; however, it will not reverse hereditary or genetic permanent balding. While supplements have been proven to be helpful to the body, overuse or deficiencies can cause hair loss (so don’t just load up on vitamins without some resesarch). The following healthy nutrients may prove harmful when taken incorrectly: selenium; minerals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, iron, aluminium, and copper; air pollutants; chemicals from cigarette smoke; vitamin A; B-complexes; Vitamin C; Vitamin e; and steroid-based foods.
Many commonly prescribed drugs cause hair loss. Some of these contain whey-based nutrients, the DHEA hormone, and Prednisone. Anabolic steroids, known for their physically enhancing attributes and illegal use, can be a major offender when it comes to hair. The section on drugs includes an extensive (though not exhaustive) list of drugs that have hair loss side effects, including the brand name, generic name, and the conditions they treat.
while 90% of balding involves a genetic source, specific diseases often cause the other 10%. Autoimmune diseases—such as alopecia areata, scleroderma, thyroid conditions and lupus—top the list of culprits.
- Alopecia areata causes what is known as spot baldness, since round spots of hair loss characterize this disease. Loss is swift, and bald spots may expand during the course of the condition.
- Scleroderma causes inflammation of skin cells, which results in a hardening and thickening due to excessive collagen, a naturally occurring substance related to a particular type of protein.
- Thyroid conditions that affect hair loss can be divided into two main types: hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) and hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone). Each condition has a unique set of symptoms and treatments. Either of these causes a great deal of stress in the patient, which often leads to another condition, telogen effluvium, where hair can fall out from stress.
- Of all people suffering from lupus, 50% will develop some hair loss in either the temple area or spread out over the scalp. Lupus causes inflamed organs in two ways: SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) and DLE (discoid lupus erythematosus). In systemic lupus can occur in any part of the body and cause temporary scarring, while discoid lupus occurs as smaller patching. The latter affects skin pigmentation rendering overly dark areas of the scalp or overly white areas.
Other diseases known to contribute to hair loss are: anaemia, diabetes, malnutrition, and psoriasis. However, any form of a chronic disease or sudden spikes in stress can throw the metabolism off and cause hair loss.
Some medical treatments that are extremely effective and can be life saving unfortunately also cause baldness. Chemotherapy treats cancer with powerful drugs by attacking all fast growing cells. Since hair cells are fast growing, the drugs attack these healthy cells as well as sick ones, but the hair loss is usually temporary. Recently, some more sophisticated cancer drugs have been used that do not attack healthy cells.
Radiation also saves lives, but its side effects also include hair loss. While radiation causes less harm to the body, certain factors, such as how the treatment is administered and what other drugs are in use at the time, determine how much hair is lost. Fortunately, hair loss is usually temporary. Ways of minimizing the scalp’s reaction to radiation treatments are discussed in this section.
Over the years, men and women have used many different hair treatments. While these cosmetic choices do enhance the physical beauty of the person, they can also do harm, sometimes irreparable harm, to the scalp and hair. Using products such as hair sprays, mousse gels, permanent hair dyes, and conditioners may contribute to balding–both permanent and temporary. These products attack the keratin (proteins) needed to keep hair intact. Luckily, the condition may be reversed in some cases, especially when diagnosed in time. Some tips to reversing the process have been mentioned.
Scalp infections often lead to hair loss and damage. Bacteria, fungi, viral, or parasitic infections lead the list of offenders. This section discussed three types of fungal infections common to the scalp: tinea capits, sebhorreic dermatitis, and piedra.
- tinea capits occurs almost exclusively in children and is commonly referred to as ringworm, although the condition has nothing to do with parasites.
- Sebhorreic dermatitis affects the head near the sebaceous glands, which excrete a natural substance that conditions the hair and causes a shiny finish to the hair strands.
- Piedra fungal infections may be confused with lice or a bacterial infection. This condition results in nodules of various densities.
A condition known as telogen effluvium causes hair loss in the telogen or resting stage of the hair shaft growth cycle. This condition manifests in sudden, widespread shedding of hair.
The main cause of this illness is stress, also known as shock loss, especially in sudden serious situations. Occasionally, hair transplants can cause this condition, but it is a temporary loss. Common causes of this condition have been reviewed. The hair will usually grow back within a year; however, telogen effluvium is the second most common cause of balding, second only to male and female pattern balding.
Cicatrical alopecia, known as scarring alopecia, is an illness whereby hair follicles are replaced with scar tissue. Scarring occurs under the scalp, so the condition is camouflaged beneath the skin. This hair loss cause is difficult to diagnose, and the help of a certified hair loss professional and/or a dermatologist may be needed. Some considerations to look into are the onset of the disease, family history, and skin components. The two types of Cicatrical alopecia—primary and secondary—can manifest as direct or indirect impact on the hair follicle.
Alopecia areata (AA) causes patches of hair loss that result in bald spots that grow over time. More serious cases manifest as alopecia totalis, where all scalp hair falls out; and alopecia universalis when all body hair is lost. Less serious cases display conditions called alopecia areata monolocularis where loss occurs in one specific place on the scalp and alopecia areata barbae, which causes occurs in patches in a man’s beard.
Trichotillomania (hair pulling), is a condition where the patient intentionally pulls and/or picks at healthy hair until permanent baldness occurs. The intensity of this illness can range from harmless and temporary to a serious psychiatric disorder. two types of patients who suffer from hair pulling are: 1) those who pull hair out but don’t understand why they do, and 2) those who get sensual pleasure or relief from pulling. Assessment criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of mental Disorders (DSM) are referenced here, as well as techniques for working with these patients.
This concludes Chapter 2, which covers androgynous causes of hair lost. Of course, male and female pattern baldness affects 90% of people with hair loss, and these conditions will now be discussed in Chapters 3 and 4.
Hopefully, this information has been worthwhile and may help you or a loved one suffering from either physical and/or psychological symptoms. much can be done to avoid or overcome these causes; however, it’s important to remember that, in most cases, early detection goes a long way toward healing. And finally, it is necessary to seek proper professional care when dealing with serious hair loss issues.