If you’re one of those unfortunate people or know someone who suffers from alopecia, there’s no need to worry. While some forms of alopecia can be difficult to treat, many of them can actually be treated or managed quite easily, and this article will try to help you do just that.
Here is everything you’ll need to know about alopecia and how to manage it.
What Causes Alopecia?
Not all cases of Alopecia is a symptom of some problematic or life-threatening health issue. Sometimes, to lose hair simply means you’re dealing with a lot of stress, you’re not eating healthy enough or because of a simple immune response. Here are some of the most common reasons why certain people are suffering from alopecia.
Stress and Mental Pressures
One form of alopecia is alopecia areata, which basically happens when your immune system becomes too hyperactive and starts attacking your hair follicles. This form of hair loss is primarily triggered by stress, usually in the form of mental pressures, but some physical pressures as well.
Alopecia areata is most noticeable on your head, but it’s not uncommon for other bits of your body to lose hair as well. It’s also usually temporary, so once you’ve solved whatever is stressing you out, the hair will grow back within a few days to a few weeks.
Hormonal Imbalance and Disorders
An imbalance in your body’s hormone production can also cause you to lose hair. This is especially common amongst women, especially the ones who are undergoing menopause. One particular hormone, dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is produced by the body as a byproduct of testosterone. Since women who undergo menopause start producing less estrogen, their testosterone levels tend to overwhelm the body, hence producing an excess amount of DHT.
DHT causes hair loss by forcing your hair follicles to shrink, which then causes your body to stop growing hair, and cause the remaining ones to fall out.
Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are required by the body to function at an optimal level. While they’re not essential to the point of you dying if you go a couple of days without them, if you’re deficient in any of these nutrients, your body will be severely affected. Certain body functions, especially the growth of new hair will be severely diminished if you lack certain nutrients.
Protein, in particular, is very important for the structural integrity of your hair.
Exposure to Radiation
One of the more dangerous health issues that are associated with hair loss is the exposure to radioactive materials. Radiation can have lethal effects on your entire body, but the first casualties are usually your hair follicles. This is why some people who undergo chemotherapy, a type of radiation therapy, lose hair.
If you’re suffering from a condition that requires radiation therapy, such as cancer, thyroid diseases, certain blood disorders, and even noncancerous growths, then you’ll only experience hair loss in the area where the therapy was used on.
Certain Systemic Diseases
Systemic diseases are diseases that affect multiple areas of a specific part of your body, or the entirety of your body itself. These types of diseases, such as Lupus and Grave’s Disease cause such a strain on the body that it can actually cause hair loss. As a matter of fact, hair loss could be one of the first signs that you are suffering from a form of systemic disease.
Certain autoimmune diseases, especially the ones that affect the skin, such as Psoriasis, can cause inflammation on the skin, and eventually cause alopecia. Autoimmune diseases are a type of systemic disease that is related to a person’s immune system. Most of these diseases are triggered by stress and sometimes flare up with little prior notice.
Sometimes, certain environmental factors cause so much stress in our body that they can actually cause you to lose hair. A sudden spike in dryness in the air or a sudden spike in heat can dry your hair out, causing them to be brittle, and eventually fall out. Seasonal alopecia is particularly problematic during summer and early fall. It’s actually theorized that this is the body’s way of keeping yourself cool during hot days, so it actually sheds hair in order to keep yourself cool.
Sudden Weight Loss
If you’ve been trying to get a bikini body, then you’ve probably been trying to lose weight through exercise and diet. Unfortunately, losing an excessive amount of weight too quickly can cause a host of health problems, which includes hair loss. Limiting your diet, while very helpful at keeping your weight in check, has the potential to lessen the amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help you grow healthy hair.
Quit Smoking and Drinking
Alcohol abuse and excessive smoking are habits that are unhealthy for your body overall. The effects are so profound that it’s quite easy to spot whether someone is a smoker just by looking at their skin. Smoking and drinking alcohol introduces a host of toxins in your body that inhibit its ability to absorb nutrients. Smoking itself is known to deplete vitamin C, which helps with healthy hair growth. It also inhibits blood circulation to your skin and consequently, your hair follicles, producing less than optimal hair growth.
Get Enough Rest and Stay Optimistic
Your body produces the stress hormone known as cortisol when you’re not getting enough sleep. Cortisol causes your body to freak out, impeding its ability to function normally, including the ability to maintain your hair follicles effectively.
Aside from taking the recommended amount of sleep, that is, 8 hours a day, you should also do what you can to relax. Stress is a huge trigger for alopecia, especially if you’re suffering from certain autoimmune diseases.
Eat More Fruits, Vegetables and Other Healthy Food
In order to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiency, you should also mix up your diet. Eat healthier foods, like dark green vegetables and fruits that aren’t too sugary. Making sure that your body has everything it needs to help keep your hair well-nourished is an excellent way to maintain healthy hair.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to increase the amount of protein you take, since protein helps your body produce stronger, more robust hair. Avoiding salty foods is also something you should start doing. Sodium has the unfortunate effect of building up in your hair follicles. This build-up of sodium impedes the absorption of other nutrients, which pretty much speeds up the effects of alopecia.
Stop Using Harsh Hair Care Products
Washing your hair too much, or using hair care products that do their job a little too well can actually wash away your body’s natural oils, along with nutrients that are locked inside your hair. If you can’t avoid washing your hair every day, then make use of shampoos or hair care products that have essential oils or ones that are nutrient-rich.
You should also avoid products that could potentially damage or over-stimulate your scalp. Over-stimulating your scalp can cause injury to your hair follicles, hence impeding hair growth, and eventually causing you to lose hair.
Keep Your Hairdryer As Far As Possible From Your Head
Using the hairdryer for too long or closer than 20 cm from your head has the potential to dry your hair out too much. This can cause your hair to be brittle and prone to breaking. This can also cause damage to your hair follicles, which as you already know causes your hair to fall out. If you can avoid using a hairdryer, then you should.
Reduce Perming and Dyeing
Styling your hair way too much, despite making your hair look pretty, can actually cause alopecia. Perming and dyeing your hair involves the use of harsh chemicals, as well as putting your hair and scalp through intense heat. This combination, while not too damaging at first, can eventually damage the integrity of your hair follicles.
If you still want to style your hair, it’s best to do so naturally, using natural products, or if that isn’t an option for you, then limit your hairstyling as much as you can. Try to reserve perming or dyeing for the occasional events.
Massage Your Scalp Whenever You Wash Your Hair
Whenever you’re washing your hair or simply combing it, make a habit of massaging your scalp. This encourages blood flow to your scalp, and consequently, to your hair follicles, encouraging the healthy growth of hair. If done correctly, you’ll not only see a reduction in hair fall, you should also notice your hair becoming less brittle.