Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man – for most people, hair is an important part of their appearance as well as an expression of their charisma and personality. No wonder, then, that the loss of scalp hair or the rest of the body hair is perceived as worrying.
In our guide we want to go into the following questions in more detail:
- How do I know the different types of hair loss?
- When does hair loss possibly refer to negative factors such as stress, malnutrition or even an illness?
- How can I positively influence the problem through my own behavior?
Types of hair loss and their symptoms
With hair loss one can differentiate between 4 different main types, based on which the most common forms of hair loss can be summarized.
Hormonal and hereditary hair loss or androgenic alopecia
The hormonally hereditary hair loss is the most common form of hair loss, and most typically for men between 25 and 45 years of age. The loss of thick head hair is usually evident from the age of 25. Other typical stages follow:
- First of all, the hair on both temples goes back, so-called receding hairlines are formed
- A round bald head forms on the back of the head
- The result is the image of a remaining fringe of hair around the back of the head, known as a bald patch
- Total hairlessness (baldness)
Hormonal components play a crucial role in this type of hair loss. As messenger substances, hormones take on a number of important tasks in our body: They influence many crucial body functions such as our immune system, but also our emotions and therefore have a major influence on our emotional state. In what is probably the most common form of hair loss, a genetic predisposition ensures that the hair roots react particularly strongly to the influences of androgens, the male sex hormones.
The male hormone testosterone is converted in the body into the active form dihydrotestosterone, which then leads to changes in the particularly sensitive hair follicles.
The hair growth is therefore sparse and weaker or is ultimately prevented entirely.
A similar form of hair loss can occur in women, in principle at any age, but usually only after menopause. With hereditary predisposition, hair loss can start from the age of 30 even in women. A special pattern of hair loss can also be seen here, which is characterized by a thinning primarily in the crown area. An indication of this pathological form of hair loss can be a permanent hair loss of more than 100 hairs per day. At the same time, a thinning of the scalp hair can be observed from the parting.
Hereditary hormonal hair loss can be easily diagnosed by a doctor. Recognized early on, you can then take various countermeasures:
A supply of micronutrients supports the damaged hair roots. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B 5 ) or components of the hair protein keratin can promote hair growth again and strengthen the hair. In addition, limp and thin hair should be particularly cared for and protected. Avoid excessive stress and strain on the hair. These include:
- Constant brushing
- Frequent washing
- Rub dry thoroughly with a towel after washing
- Frequent hot blow drying
- Hairdressing with a hot flat iron or curling iron
Diffuse, non-disease-related hair loss or diffuse alopecia
Here there is no characteristic hair loss in certain areas. The head hair, on the other hand, thins evenly over the entire head. Any woman can suffer from diffuse hair loss . A number of factors could be blamed for this type of hair loss. The most common are:
- Malnutrition (e.g. iron deficiency or vitamin deficiency)
- Changed hormone levels
Stress in particular can be a typical trigger for diffuse hair loss. As a person affected, you can usually quickly see the connection between stress and symptoms, especially if the hair loss improves or disappears completely in stress-free times. Then ensure more relaxation and recovery in everyday life.
If you suffer from thinning hair , you should also check whether you are suffering from malnutrition. As the cause of diffuse hair loss, it may play a role in diets that are excessive in terms of time or method. A resumption of a healthy and balanced diet is then necessary and leads to the subsidence of diffuse hair loss.
Diffuse hair loss can also be observed during pregnancy. This can also be explained by a changed, but not pathological, hormonal level.
In summary, it can be said that you, the affected person, should consider all changes in hormonal levels when looking for causes. Starting or stopping taking a hormonal contraceptive pill sometimes leads to diffuse hair loss, which then subsides. Medication such as B. heparin injections can also trigger diffuse hair loss.
Especially in connection with diets, women should think of a low iron level in the blood, especially if you are pale and often exhausted and have torn corners of your mouth. Another approach, e.g. B. for a blood test, it is best to discuss this with your trusted doctor.
Diffuse hair loss is always defined by one or more external triggers that exist independently of heredity and usually disappears again as soon as the cause can be found and remedied. Even with this form of hair loss, you should avoid all stressful procedures for the scalp hair and scalp.
Circular hair loss or alopecia areata
With this type of hair loss, there is a clearly defined loss of head or body hair. There are one or more circular bald spots z. B. the size of a coin. This hair loss affects women much more often than men. What is also noticeable is that children or young people are often affected by circular hair loss . It has not yet been conclusively clarified what is the cause of the hair falling out. However, the body’s own immune system is suspected of having directed its defense mechanisms against its own hair roots due to an illness. The hair on affected areas:
- Are cancelled
- Do not grow back
- Wax only shortened (stubby hair)
In addition to the hair on the head, eyebrows, even eyelashes and other body hair, such as men’s beards, can also be affected. The course of hair loss varies: a typical course of the disease is characterized by a constant alternation of symptoms and freedom from symptoms. The hair on the affected areas often grows back after about 3 months. If you have symptoms like this, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist, i.e. a specialist in skin diseases. There is no standard treatment. In severe cases, preparations containing cortisone are administered. It is therefore always important to exclude possible autoimmune diseases such as neurodermatitis, hay fever, allergic asthma, lupus or Hashimoto as a trigger of hair loss or to treat them specifically.
More types of hair loss
In addition to the causes and types of hair loss mentioned above, other factors can lead to hair loss.
Hair loss from medication
Hair loss is a known side effect of drugs such as cytotoxic drugs that are prescribed for cancer and other serious diseases. But also on other drugs, such as
- Blood thinners
- Beta blockers
- Cholesterol lowering drugs
- Thyroid preparations
- Hormones (testosterone)
- Muscle building substances like anabolic steroids
can trigger hair loss. If in doubt, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Hair loss as a symptom of a serious illness
Even a simple infection can lead to increased hair loss. In addition, hair loss can occur as a symptom of some serious illnesses such as cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, syphilis or an overactive thyroid. If all the hints given so far about your hair loss do not apply, you should definitely speak to your doctor.
Hair loss due to friction or heat exposure
Typically, hair loss due to friction can be observed in men with hairy legs, for example: When wearing very tight trousers and stockings all the time, more hair falls out at the contact irritation points. Use cotton stockings that do not have a constricting waistband, but are chained and rather wide-cut pants to reduce friction. Hair loss can also occur selectively on the head due to constant wearing of caps, hats or headbands. Excessive heat exposure in women is usually triggered by the fact that they cause their hair to fall out with excessive blow-drying or heavy use of straightening irons.
Hair loss from radioactive exposure
The loss of hair after radioactive radiation, for example in cancer therapy, is known. However, patients are informed about this side effect. Hair loss can also occur through contamination with radioactive substances.
Dermotrichia syndrome, a very rare gene mutation, causes complete hairlessness from birth, among other things.