The 3 different conditions that cause your hair to fall out – and when to worry | The Sun
YOU probably don't realise it, but many of us can shed between 30 and 150 strands of hair throughout the day.
This kind of hair loss is pretty normal and not something to worry your head over.
It tends to vary according to your washing and brushing routines, butaccording to the British Association of Dermatologists, lost strands automatically regrow "so that the total number of hairs on our head remains constant".
Your follicles go through a natural cycle of growing, resting and shedding.
But sometimes, hair loss can be caused by more serious factors. And in some cases, it can permanent.
Anything from illness to stress, weight loss or iron deficiency could the cause of your thinner tresses.
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There are three specific conditions that could be making your hair fall out – and their signs are easy to spot.
Here's how to know if you're suffering from them and when to see a doctor.
Alopecia is a general medical term for hair loss, according to the NHS.
There are a number of different forms of alopecia, which cause different kinds of symptoms and patterns of hair loss.
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According to Alopecia UK, they include:
- androgenetic alopecia, also known as male and female pattern hair loss – it causes hair loss at the top and front of the head in men and overall thinning for women
- alopecia areata, which is thought to an autoimmune condition that causes hair to fall out in round or oval patches on the scalp, beard and other places that grow hair – it doesn't cause permanent hair loss, though it can take months or years to tresses to regrow
- traction alopecia, which is caused by strain on the hair follicles from tight hairstyles, relaxers or extensions – it can cause patches of thin or broken hair as well as scarring or spots, redness and itching on the scalp
- central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia – also known as scarring alopecia- can be common in women of African descent and causes hair loss in the middle of the scalp that spreads, along with itching, pain or tenderness, a spongy texture to the scalp, and flaking or redness of the affected areas
- frontal fibrosing alopecia, which is a type of scarring hair loss that affects the frontal region of the scalp such as the forehead and sideburns – it most often affects post-menopausal women, but it can also affect men and younger women
A condition called telogen effluvium can dramatically increase the amount of hairs you shed each day from the normal 30 to 150.
According to the British Dermatologist Association, the condition causes a disturbance to your normal hair growth cycle, making more follicles shift to the shedding phase – also known as the telogen phase.
"Normally only 10 per cent of the scalp hair is in the telogen phase, but in telogen effluvium this increases to 30 per cent or more," it explained.
Anything from severe trauma or illness,to a stressful or major life event, marked weight loss and extreme dieting, a severe skin problem affecting the scalp, a new medication or withdrawal of a hormone treatment can trigger the condition.
Changes to your hair growth pattern can crop up to three months after such a trigger.
There's also a condition called anagen effluvium, which causes hair in its growing phase to fall our rapidly.
Both conditions aren't permanent and can improve when whatever is causing it does.
Folliculitis is an infection of your hair follicles, the little openings in your skin when strands sprout out.
It can be develop if your follicles are injured, for example from shaving.
It's usually mild and may go away within a few days, but some types of serious folliculitis infections could cause permanent hair loss and leave bald patches where the hair doesn't grow back.
You'll know you have the condition if you notice pimple like sores around your hair follicles, itching, oozing and crusty sores.
Best to swap out your razor if you think you have folliculitis and it's a good idea to speak to an expert.
How to seek support for hair loss
Though it's often not permanent, losing hair can be upsetting – especially if you feel like your locks are an important part of who you are.
If your hair loss is causing you distress, the NHS advises you speak to your GP as they may be able to help you get some counselling.
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It's also worth seeking out a support group to connect to people going through the same thing as you.
You can look for support groups on the Alopecia UK website.
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