It is completely normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. However, losing more than this is a sign of alopecia, or hair loss.
This can occur in females, as well as males.
If it seems like your hair is becoming thinner by the day or if you obvious bald patches, then you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist or medical doctor to determine the main cause.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON TYPES OF HAIR LOSS?
Pattern Hair Loss/Androgenic Alopecia – This type of hair loss commonly occurs with age. It is usually seen in men, but some women can suffer from it as well. Pattern hair loss is genetic, and can be passed down through both your mother’s and father’s sides of the family. On women, the most obvious signs of this type of hair loss include obvious thinning on the front part of the scalp, especially where the hair is parted in this area. On men, it usually occurs at the temples, or at the top of the scalp. This type of hair loss can be treated with prescription medications like Propecia or spironolactone; although over the counter treatments like Rogaine foam have been known to work as well. If none of these treatments work, then a hair transplant may need to be done.
Medical-related Hair Loss – Hair loss can be caused by certain medical issues, such as hormonal imbalances, anemia and thyroid problems. Unlike pattern hair loss, this form results in the loss of hair all over the entire scalp. It can occur very quickly – in some cases overnight – instead of slowly over time. In order to treat this form of hair loss, a dermatologist or medical doctor must request some simple blood work to determine the cause. Once the cause has been singled out, a series of supplements and prescriptions can correct the problem. However, it might take up to a year for your hair to fully recover and go back to its former thickness.
Stress-related Hair Loss/Telogen Effluvium – This form of hair loss usually occurs after a woman has given birth, although any type of extremely stressful event can cause it. Some of the known stressors that can cause this type of hair loss include a change in medications, surgery, sudden weight loss, following a crash diet, very high fevers, and extreme emotional stress, such as the loss of a loved one. Like medical related hair loss, this version can cause the hair all over your entire scalp to thin. Unfortunately, there are no treats for stress related hair loss, besides a full recovery from the stressor.
Autoimmune Hair Loss/Alopecia Areata – Alopecia areata is characterized by either round patches of baldness on the scalp or face (facial hair) or total hair loss over the entire body. In the former version, these bald patches may grow back and then disappear again over a period of time in an unpredictable manner. The latter version is more extreme, and results in the loss of your eyebrows, eyelashes and all body hair over a very short period of time. This version is harder to treat; however, the milder versions of alopecia areata can be treated with steroid injections.
Traction Alopecia – Traction alopecia is caused by repeatedly wearing the same type of tight hairstyle, for example, a ponytail, for many years. The tension that is put on the hair follicles by repeated styling causes the hair to fall out in the affected areas, most commonly the front of the scalp near the temples. While this type of hair loss can affect anyone, it is commonly seen in those who wear tight braids or hair extensions. The only way to combat this type of hair loss is by removing the tension on the hair follicles, which involves switching your hairstyles on a regular basis. However, this will only stop the hairs from falling out, and will not help them grow back.
WHAT KIND OF TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE FOR HAIR LOSS?
There are a number of shampoos available that claim to help with hair loss, however, according to dermatologists, Rogaine (minoxidil) in both its solution and foam formats, is the only thing that has clinical data to prove that it works in some cases. The main thing that the shampoos do is plump up the hair shaft, making it look fuller. An over the counter supplement, Biotin, has been also proven to help in certain cases.
If the hair loss is caused by specific medical conditions, doctors or dermatologists can prescribe medications or supplements to cure the condition and therefore, the hair loss. However, the best thing that you can do is see a dermatologist to determine the cause.