Everyone loses hair; it is normal to lose about 50-100 hairs every day. However, if you experience bald patches or large amounts of thinning, you may be experiencing hair loss that requires a visit to the dermatologist for proper diagnosis and possible treatment. Dr. Holy in Phoenix specializes in treating skin, nails and hair. Most hair loss causes can be stopped or treated following proper diagnosis.
The following describes some hair loss causes:
Hair disorders: Hereditary thinning or baldness (also called androgenetic alopecia): this is the most common cause of hair loss. It affects men and women, affecting millions of people in the United States. There are other, less common, forms of alopecia:
- Alopecia areata: Researchers believe that this is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks its own hair. This causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. People with alopecia areata are often in excellent health. Most people see their hair re-grow.
- Cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This rare disease develops in otherwise healthy people. The disease destroys a person’s hair follicles. Scar tissue forms where the follicles once were, so the hair cannot re-grow. Treatment tries to stop the inflammation which destroys the hair follicles.
- Central centrifugal cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs most often in women of African descent. It begins in the center of the scalp. As it progresses, the hair loss radiates out from the center of the scalp. The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.
Disease: Hair loss can be the first sign of an underlying disease. About 30 diseases, including thyroid disease and anemia, cause hair loss. By treating the disease, hair loss often can be stopped or reversed.
Illness: Significant hair loss can occur after an illness. A major surgery, high fever, severe infection or even the flu can cause hair loss.
Hair Loss Causes Part Two continued next week.