27 Mar 2020
Hair falling out can be extremely distressing if you are losing a large amount of hair, or if it looks like you are.
It is of course normal to shed up to 100 hairs per day. As there are 100,000 hair follicles or more on your scalp, this hair loss does not make a big difference to the appearance of your hair, unless you have long hair, in which case it might look like you are losing more.
Excessive daily hair shedding is not caused by genetic predisposition – male or female pattern baldness that tends to run in the family – but occurs as a result of a number of possible factors, including nutritional deficiency, a medical condition or stress. Let’s look at those causes and how to mitigate them.
Following a very strict diet can be linked to hair loss, as can crash dieting. The best advice is to follow a balanced diet, with meat, fish, fresh vegetables and fruit – the Mediterranean diet, for example.
Women who have a heavy period can experience chronic anaemia, which can in turn cause hair loss. A visit to your GP and a blood test will help you find out if you need to increase your iron intake.
A new mother will notice excessive hair shedding about two months after giving birth. This is quite normal and is only a temporary problem, lasting at most a few months.
People who are constantly under a great deal of stress can experience long-term hair shedding, so it’s important to find ways to mitigate the stress, such as meditation, yoga and mindfulness. A short-term stressful experience, such as losing your job, can lead to temporary hair falling out.
If you are experiencing hair loss, it’s important to avoid exposing your scalp to the sun as this can cause your hair loss to increase.
Some forms of birth control can affect normal hair growth, causing or exacerbating hair falling out. If you are using Norethindrone, Marvelon, Progestin implants/injections or Ortho Evra skin patches, discuss alternatives with your GP.
Wearing your hair tightly pulled back can eventually lead to hair loss. Harsh hair care products can also be a factor. Avoid tight hairstyles – tight ponytails, braiding, corn rows, hair extensions and dreads – especially if you are noticing patches of hair fall.
If you take multivitamins it’s important to be careful. Taking excessive amounts of some vitamins, such as vitamin A, can cause increased hair loss. So you may need to adjust your dosage.
Some drugs can cause hair loss. If you take antiepileptics, antivirals, anticoangulants, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antimalarials, antithyroid drugs, beta-blockers or retinoids, discuss alternatives with your practician.
Both active and passive smoking can cause this problem. Smoking has been proven to increase the levels of male hormones at the follicular level, worsening male or female pattern baldness. So give up smoking and stay away from smokers.
For more information on the causes of hair loss: aad.org
To arrange a consultation book an appointment with me, Dr Anastasia Therianou, expert in dermatological care for hair loss and mole problems!
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