Baldness – Causes & Prevention

What Causes Baldness?

Compared with girls, teen age boys have a few hair problems, but nature has a way of evening things up. Many boys watch their thick crop of hair grow thin in spite of tonics, massages, and advice from sympathetic but bald-headed fathers.

Most baldness is hereditary, and cannot be changed. Fortunately for girls, ordinary baldness is usually a male characteristic and seldom occurs in women. If baldness runs in your family, take especially good care of your hair. But doesn’t be surprised if it falls out in spite of anything you do. High fever may cause temporary loss of hair but in these cases, hair will return as soon as the follicles recover from the effects of the illness. Loss of hair may also occur as a result of internal diseases and conditions, including underactive thyroid activity and severe anemia. Doctors are seeing more and more cases of hair loss among girls and young women today as a result of backcombing, ratting, and stretching the hair too tightly over curlers.

Alopecia – Temporary Hair Loss

Recent studies seem to indicate that emotional stress and tension may be related to another cause of temporary loss of hair. When a person is tense, his blood vessels constrict, or become smaller, this reduces the circulation to the scalp. The hair roots suffer from lack of nourishment, and growth of hair is slowed down or stopped temporarily. In some cases, the loss of hair is spotty and patches of baldness appear, often in several places. We refer to this condition like alopecia areata. In others, the loss of hair is more general and we speak of it as alopecia totatlis. Hair loss related to emotional tension will usually correct itself when the tension is relieved.

What Causes Graying Hair?

Early graying like baldness, may run in families. But unlike baldness, it is common to both men and women. Hair color is due to pigment formed by certain cells of the hair follicles. If these cells die, the hair keeps on growing but lack color. This commonly happens during old age but may occur at any age.

While most cases of early graying are hereditary, grayness may result from illness or emotional strain. The process does not take place overnight, although you may have heard that it does. Hair already grown does not lose its color. Normally, color forming cells die gradually and graying increases over a period of years. However, there are cases in which hair becomes gray temporarily or permanently within a very short length of time. There is no satisfactory treatment for graying of the hair at this time. 

Preventing Male Baldness

Unfortunately there are a few scientifically proven method of treating baldness. Baldness management is one of the biggest industries in the world but ironically a few treatment can really help to grow hair naturally. The market is flooded with hair treatment conditioners, shampoos, vitamins and other products, claiming to grow hair or at least retain the existing ones, but there is no definite evidence showing any mark improvement other than psychological satisfaction.

To slow down hair loss, there are principally four effective solutions or medications – Minoxidil, Propecia and Avodart, which are basically maintenance type medication and need to use for long term.

Minoxidil is the most prevalent medication used by doctors to prescribe for hair loss. This topical medication is available over the counter and available as a 2% solution, 4% solution, an extra-strength 5% solution. Minoxidil helps to retain hairs and in some cases it grows a little hair. There are a few side effects, most of them are psychological such as long term use, and it also work less on the front of the head which bothers men mostly.

Another drug finasteride uses only in men with androgenic hair loss. It is a class of 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and believed to reduce hair by blocking the action of natural hormones in scalp hair follicles. Possibly and very unlikely side-effects are impotence, lack of libido. It’s also an expensive medication and doesn’t cover by health insurance.

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