Men’s Hair Loss Causes FAQ
With aging, the average man experiences a normal amount of hair loss, which is characterized as about 100 hairs per day. Advanced men’s hair loss is different than someone’s typical shedding.
With advanced hair loss, hair follicles become deactivated and fall out at an increased rate. At the same time, the body is not allowing those hairs to be replaced. This causes baldness in spots that expose the scalp. Researchers have categorized the four main causes of hair loss: genetics, stress, autoimmune response and chemical damage.
The causes of baldness that are the most common include Androgenetic Alopecia, a medical term for genetically-related hair loss.
Although the exact cause of male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness is unknown, researchers do see this natural, age-related change in the body tied directly to the body’s androgen hormones. The more androgen hormones a person has, the more hair loss occurs. The opposite is also true.
It is estimated that 95% of hair loss is related to genetics. Older male relatives, especially maternal relatives, give individuals a general idea of how their own hair loss will progress. The condition generally begins in a person’s early teenage years and gradually progresses with age.
Stress can trigger the hair follicles to convert from their typical growth phase to a resting phase where the follicle lets go of current hair and doesn’t replace it. The condition, known as Telogen Effluvium, is second only to Androgentic Alopecia in causing hair loss. When the stress is eliminated, the hair follicle allows a replacement hair to grow.
A subset of stress on the body is stress on the hair itself. Traction Alopecia is hair loss due to pulling on it, such as hair styles which pull the hair back tightly and hold it under tension. Trichotillomania, on the other hand, is a compulsive disorder which causes the individual to pull their own hair out.
Patches of baldness in circular patterns—especially on the top, rear of the scalp—is known as Alopecia Areata. Affecting about one in every 100 people in the U.S., Alopecia Areata is seen as an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own antibodies attack the hair follicles. When the antibodies attack the hair follicle, the hair falls out.
More than one quarter of those experiencing this type of autoimmune hair loss will re-grow hair. About 33%, though, can experience a relapse of this condition.
Chemotherapy Related Hair Loss
Because of certain medications, disease treatments and other chemicals, Anagen Effluvium is a form of hair loss in which the hair follicle is destroyed. Most commonly, this is seen in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
The drugs and chemicals are injected into the body to kill bad cells that cause diseases, but what scientists think is happening is that, in doing so, some good cells are destroyed, such as those feeding the hair follicles. When the disease treatment stops, hair commonly grows back.
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