Growing older is a reality that all of us must face but aging gracefully has become almost essential in this society that is obsessed with certain qualities all regarding the way a person looks. Don't judge a book by its cover may have been a fine saying for other decades or centuries but in these times it rings a bit false for we are widely judged ONLY on appearance and nothing else. For many aging males, it's not unusual to have a middle age spread, hair in places where you don't want it to be and losing the hair that you do want on top of your head. Some males are able through genetics to retain a full head of hair well into their eighties but this is not commonly the case. At about the age of thirty, sixty percent of men will start going through the first stages of thinning hair. Roughly eighty percent of men will have advanced hair loss by the age of fifty.
11 Main Variations and Causes of Hair Loss
Medical condition for losing hair is called Alopecia. Let’s review different variations of alopecia to get the clear picture of this condition.
1. Androgenic Alopecia. It is generally known as male pattern baldness, Androgenetic alopecia occurs according to a definite pattern, beginning above your temples, while your hairline recedes in the form of a typical ‘M’ shape. You also experience extensive hair loss on the top of your head, which can be either partial or total. Depending on the level of testosterone – the androgenic hormone in your body – male pattern hair loss can be linked to a combination of hormonal and genetic factors.
2. Alopecia Areata. This is a more indiscriminate irregular loss of hair; it might hit completely different regions of the head. You will find this more typically in youngsters, and young adults than older people. Usually it is a momentary loss of hair, triggered by hormone modifications, similar to in young adults and expecting women. Whereas extremely embarrassing it is usually less than a year before the hair returns.
3. Cicatricial Alopecia. That is a form of permanent baldness, which occurs due to inflammation. On this condition, the soreness could damage the hair’s follicle and then afterwards, grew to become scars. Due to these scars, the newest hair is averted from coming out. Scarring damage alopecia may be due to certain skin disorders like lupus erythematosus as well as lichen planus in which specialists are yet to discover what the main source of the soreness is.
4. Alopecia Mucinosa generally presents, but not exclusively, as erythematous plaques or flat patches without hair primarily on the scalp and face. This can also present on the body as a follicular mucinosis and may represent a systemic disease.
5. Alopecia Totalis. This situation often starts and doesn’t stop till all hair on the top is no more.
6. Alopecia Universalis. This situation may trigger full loss of all bodily hair.
7. Telogen Effluvium. Usually triggered by certain drugs, this can be a thinning of the hair. It might trigger thinning or lose of all bodily hair. Often this merely lasts for a few months. You should be careful of a number of the medications you are taking.
8. Trichotillomania, which is classified as an impulse control disorder by DSM-IV, is the compulsive urge to pull out one's own hair leading to noticeable hair loss, distress, and social or functional impairment. It is often chronic and difficult to treat.
9. Hair Loss on account of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, caused by treatment for cancer. This can be a side effect from the cancer treatment. Many physicians suggest wigs till the hair returns.
10. Hair Loss resulting from Hairdressing Chemical compounds and Treatments. Hair straighteners and hot curling irons can cause hair to turn out to be brittle and break off. This is usually not long lasting, when the chemicals or processes stop the hair returns. Sometimes, this type of alopecia is referred as Traction Alopecia.
11. Turban Alopecia is a type of traction alopecia that is seen in people who wear tight turbans, such as Sikhs. Turban Alopecia can also occur as a result of knotting and braiding long hair which results in hair being pulled continuously for long periods of time. This can cause hair loss with the same mechanism as many other types of traction alopecia – chronic pull on hair follicles can destroy them permanently.
Male Menopause and Hair Loss
While reviewing alopecia as andropause symptom, hair loss is and thinning is considered to be a result of significant imbalance of male testosterone hormone in the body, the same medical problems source, which is widely responsible for most other andropause related issues.
Instead of infusing the hair with healthy testosterone, enzymes break it down to a simpler form known as dihydrotestosterone. An excess of this hormone has the effect of decreasing the size of hair follicles which eventually break down and make your hair fall off sporadically. The medical condition that is best associated with hair loss in Andropause sufferers is hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a by-product of decreasing levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is responsible for regulating our aging process.
Andropause sufferers’ hormones have a profound effect on the rate and consistency of hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone (considered by medical circles the strongest, most potent form of testosterone) is responsible for building and growing body hair in men (at normal levels – an excess causes hair degeneration.) This includes body hair, pubic hair, head hair, armpit hair – any hair. DHT is directly produced in the skin, made to work by supporting enzymes that break it down for distribution throughout the body.
DHT levels are present more in certain areas of the body than in others – explaining why we may have a full crop of hair on our heads and little bushes of hair on our chests and backs. Realize, women also have DHT in their bodies but produce less of it. That explains why women don’t have body hair (at least, most of the women). Case in point: an excess of DHT is prevalent in Andropause sufferers, explaining the reason for hair loss. The enzyme used to break down testosterone to dihydrotestosterone is ¨over activated¨ – working too hard and too fast.
Since, as mentioned earlier, dihydrotestosterone is present more in certain areas of the body than in others, men’s hair can fall into funny patterns. How hair grows is a wondrous thing in itself that needs to be recognized. Typically, hair grows at a rate of a quarter inch every 2 weeks. Andropause sufferers have their ¨hair growth cycles¨ disrupted when there is erratic growth of some hair strands where ¨new¨ hair pushed ¨old¨ hair out. Because Andropause is a period of hormonal imbalance, a lack of hormonal stability and poor homeostasis (holistic balance) in the body pushes things out of whack.
Secondary causes of hair loss in men, suffering Andropause, is stress. More specifically, stress raises the levels of cortisol and cortisone (known as stress hormones) in the body. Eating non-nutritional foods also speeds up hair loss.
What to Do?
Pretty much any activity that speeds up the aging process will speed up your hair loss. There are simple to propose, but not so simple to follow-up, recommendations to decrease the negative impact of your hormonal balance changes.
1. Reevaluate your nutrition: avoid foods like caffeinated beverages and junk foods. Herbal preparations that contain zinc, magnesium, iron, vitamin E and other substances in various combinations can help. Eat protein rich meals. Our hair strands are made up mainly of protein, so it follows that you should consume protein by eating meals that are full of lean meat, seafood and soy products. In addition, seafood is a great source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and Vitamin D. Both of these nutritional supplements have proven to reduce hair loss in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
2. Avoid extreme diets, which can intensify the hormonal changes in your body.
3. Give up on smoking tobacco. There are many reasons to stop this addictive pattern, and losing your hair out of proportion is just one of them.
4. Review your medications and discuss with your doctor, if they may cause any side effects, linked to the hair loss.
5. Engage yourself in outdoor activities and physical exercises so as to get rid of tension and anxiety and lead a stress-free life. Stress is really a large element in thinning hair. Stress triggers an ailment known as telogen effluvium which may cause massive hair loss in a very short period of time.
6. Avoid infections as possible and treat them promptly as needed.
7. Be reasonable with your hairstyling or haircoloring products. Try to avoid damaging the hair with hot hair dryers and heated hair straighteners and avoid chemically treating the hair with dyes, tints and bleaches.
8. Do not wash your hair with shampoo on a daily basis, even your shampoo manufacturer claims that it is perfectly safe. Assuming a specific ingredient is causing a negative response in your hair, making a change to something less synthetic could possibly aid you in ending loss of hair.
9. Brushing your hair or massaging your hair can work to stimulate the growth of new hair. Try using lavender essential oils when doing this as they are known to enhance the overall effect. As little as three minutes a day can make a world of difference in your hair growth efforts. You should brush your hair frequently but avoid being harsh.
10. Hair loss might be preventable and reversible with certain herbs. You may be able to apply them onto the hair directly, and they might be found in some hair conditioners and shampoos. Aloe Vera is one of these, and it's used for many different reasons. This plant contains powerful enzymes that are very effective at combating male pattern baldness. Nettle root is another herb that can help fight hair loss, and this can be taken internally as a tea or in capsule form. Hair growth may also be simulated by drinking green tea. High amounts of antioxidants can be found in green tea, so it's very good for your hair and your whole body. These are simply a couple of herbs and plants that may help you with your hair loss and you can ingest them or apply them externally.
11. Keep the hair short to help prevent mechanical breakage and have it layered to give the appearance of more volume. Also, taking your hair short on the sides and back is almost always the best way to minimize the appearance of thinning hair on top. Here's my rule of thumb: If you see scalp on top, take the sides short enough to reveal an equal amount of scalp. This will provide balance. Growing hair long only serves to highlight the fact that the top is thinning. Work with your barber or stylist to find a short style that suits you.
12. If nothing helps to stop the process, probably, the best and the strongest advice is to accept the fact, accept yourself, and like yourself as you are. Don't try to hide your baldness, accept and embrace it. The best way to cope with baldness is to face it in an optimistic way. Be in control and try not to be upset that you are losing your hair forever. There are Hollywood stars that made it big even with a bald head. Sean Connery is one of them. Bruce Willis is sexy. Look at Michael Rosenbaum who played Lex Luthor in Smallville. He’s sexy. It’s not really the hair that’s important it’s what’s inside of you. If you feel good, then you will look good. If you feel that being bald is ugly, then you will look ugly.
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