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Reasons For Hair Loss In Women: Permanent And Temporary.

Updated: Oct 12, 2023


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If there's something that all the ladies worldwide are possessive about, it is their hair. Hair is considered a natural extension of themselves, which speaks significantly about who they are. Oh! What lengths do we women go to to keep our hair in perfect health and size? Especially if it’s about hair loss for women. Now there is a flipside to this matter. Let us not shy away from the part where we bring women with no hair or who are losing their hair into the picture. What about them? It takes a courageous woman to expose her bald head to public scrutiny yet not be deterred by it. Mind you; this boldness is not attained in a day. What lies behind such acceptance is the unlimited struggles and trauma associated with hair loss. You know where we are going with this, right? This is about all that came to pass during this year's Oscars. The whole sequence of events once again brought the baldness ( we call it boldness) of Jada Pinkett Smith and her journey of hair loss and alopecia into the limelight. We are not taking sides here, and we are not making any lofty claims. But what we want to focus on is the fact that hair loss is a painful experience for women and how the complexity of it all makes it a sensitive topic. Apparently, hair loss in women causes a more significant impact than in men because it is less socially acceptable.


What is hair loss in Women?


Hair loss in women refers to the sudden and excessive shedding of hair. Typically, people lose 50 to 100 strands of hair daily, and it is a natural process where hair falls out, and new ones grow in. But when there is a disturbance in this balance, and hair falls out excessively while less hair grows, it results in hair loss. This is also called "alopecia" medically and should not be confused with regular hair shedding.



THE BASICS OF THE LIFE CYCLE OF HAIR


Before we begin with the causes of hair loss in women, let us first get our basics right. When it comes to hair loss and how much of it is normal, it is ok to lose 50-100 hair strands in a day. Let's just say Hair shedding is a part of our lives. This is hardly noticeable, and ordinarily, new hair replaces the lost hair; nothing to worry about over here; after all, you have got hundreds of thousands of hairs in your head. Now, we all know that hair grows from the root, located at the bottom of the follicle. The root is nourished by blood vessels, which allows hair to grow. Hair growth is upward and toward the skin, passing via oil glands that keep them glossy and silky. Hair can become greasy if there is too much oil in it. The hair on our head grows at roughly a half-inch every month and can last anywhere from 2 to 6 years (termination phase varies). That's roughly how long the growing phase lasts. The hair then stops growing for a while before falling out. The hair goes into a resting phase, and then the cycle begins anew. This growth happens in stages, and each strand may be in a different set of the hair growth cycle at any given time.


Thus, The natural process of growing, transitioning, and resting that follows the natural cycle of hair growth are:


Anagen: the period of high activity in the cells during the growth phase, when hair is formed that can last up to six years depending on the individual.


Catagen: a three-week transition period during which growth ceases. The club hair, or hair about to shed, begins to take shape during this stage. 3% of all hair is in this state at any given time.


Telogen: the dormant phase, which can last up to three months. This phase marks the end of the club hair, which will shed up to 100 club hairs per day.


TYPES OF HAIR LOSS or ALOPECIA


Alopecia is a term used to describe a variety of hair loss diseases that causes hair loss for women. The predominant symptom is hair loss and/or failure to regrow. The hair loss could be in patches or nearly-full hair loss on the head, or complete hair loss on the head). Hair loss can become permanent when there is scarring alopecia on the scalp. There is permanent hair loss when scarring is present on the scalp because scar tissue blocks the hair follicle opening. Let us have a look at them one by one.


Temporary causes of Hair Loss in women


Though we can often mistake temporary hair loss or non-scarring alopecia to be permanent, that is not the case. Temporary hair loss in women is caused suddenly and is frequently attributed to stress or the start of a new medication. Birth control pills, antidepressants, cancer treatments, diet pills, and other drugs can all have this effect. Hair regrowth is not a major concern with non-scarring alopecia because follicles are still present on the scalp. When the body is out of balance, non-scarring alopecia develops. Once our body's imbalance is restored, the hair loss usually stops. Once the source of the hair loss is detected through blood tests and the imbalance is treated, non-scarring alopecia takes approximately three months to correct.


Androgenic Alopecia


Androgenic alopecia is a hereditary disorder in which enzymes in the body convert the hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, often known as DHT, resulting in male and female pattern baldness or hair loss. The hair follicle shrinks as a result of this hormone. Androgenic alopecia manifests itself in us, women, as gradual thinning at the part line, followed by increasing diffuse hair loss radiating from the top of the head. Both men and women have different symptoms when it comes to it.


Alopecia Areata


Some people with alopecia areata lose hair from their brows, eyelashes, or other parts of their body and their scalp. This autoimmune condition causes your immune system to attack hair follicles, resulting in small to large areas of baldness. Some people even lose their hair completely. However, the good news is that with the right treatment for hair loss, all the hair that was lost due to alopecia areata usually regrows within six months to a year.


Alopecia Universalis and Alopecia Totalis


The signs and symptoms of this type of androgenic alopecia are more severe and abrupt. While the causes of hair loss in women by Alopecia Totalis are unclear, it is believed to be related to stress or an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. When a person suffers from Alopecia Totalis, they lose all the hair on their head (scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair). Alopecia Universalis refers to no or little hair growing anywhere on the body: scalp, the head, arms, legs and pubic area etc.


Cicatricial Alopecia


Scar tissue develops after the hair follicles are destroyed in this form of hair loss for women. It is divided into primary and secondary types. The primary kind of alopecia appears due to inflammation in the hair follicles inhibiting cell growth. Secondary cicatricial alopecia is caused by external sources, including severe burns, infections, tumors, radiation, and other physical causes.


Traction Alopecia


Women with this form of alopecia experience hair breakage and scalp scarring when their scalps are exposed to excessive resistance, such as braiding, weaving, or wearing high tension styling. Chemical treatments like relaxers, bleach, and colouring procedures can also cause traction alopecia and can be permanent, temporary, or both.


Prevention for hair loss in women


Female pattern baldness is sometimes genetic, so it can't always be prevented. However, we can keep our hair healthy and avoid breakage or damage. Here are some tips:

  1. Don't overdo hair treatments like perming, straightening, or extensions.

  2. Eat a diet with lots of protein, vitamins, and iron.

  3. Wear a hat to protect your hair from the sun.

  4. Be gentle when brushing wet hair – use a comb or your fingers instead.


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Conclusion


Now that we know in-depth about the different types and causes of hair loss in women, they may vary in pattern and severity and need to be treated accordingly. This means that it needs to be addressed medically by a certified trichologist or a dermatologist. Hair loss caused by female pattern baldness and other types of alopecia can be treated in various ways, so talk to your doctor about the best hair loss treatment for you. Topical medicines, Light therapy, plasma treatments, hormone therapy, and, in certain circumstances, hair transplants are further options. Also, you might want to stop using the chemical-ridden hair care products that you use and settle in for all-natural hair loss shampoos and conditioners. To see the full effects, you may need to use one or a combination of treatments for months or years. The emotional repercussions of hair loss need to be prioritized too. Complete hair loss can be a trauma that needs to be dealt with sensibly. Though more and more women are now socially accepting of their baldness, our society still needs to learn to applaud them for their bravery and us women need to stand for one another as a whole!


 
About The Author: Paula Bland

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The founder of TLP, Paula Bland, is a medically qualified Nurse Practitioner, Hair aesthetician and also a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner known for her highly effective hair consultation. Paula has a non-traditional approach to hair care and advocates a chemical-free, natural, and holistic approach. The Love of People is her brainchild, and its products reflect her approach to hair health and have helped women with naturally curly hair manage their curls in a chemical-free and organic way.



 

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