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Causes Of Hair Loss
What causes hair loss?
Hair loss can be distressing. It can often be caused by several factors, including issues such as stress, weight loss, iron deficiency and cancer treatment. Losing hair isn't usually something to be worried about, but the reasons for hair loss could be a sign of a potential medical condition or illness.
Whether hair loss runs in your family or is the result of an underlying condition, we've listed some of the signs to look out for, the potential causes, and how you can deal with it.
What are the signs and symptoms of hair loss?
Hair loss can come in a variety of forms. It can begin gradually falling out or it can come on suddenly. It could also affect your whole body rather than just your scalp. The sooner you're able to identify that you're suffering from hair loss and seek treatment, the better.
Look out for the following signs and symptoms which could indicate hair loss:
Gradual thinning: Thinning of hair at the top of your head is a common form of hair loss and often affects people as they age. Hair can begin to recede around the temples or the crown, or partings can begin to widen.
Bald patches: Hair loss can sometimes leave circular bald patches on the scalp. The affected area may become itchy or painful, often before the hair falls out.
Sudden fallout: Stress or shock can sometimes cause hair loss. The follicles loosen, meaning clumps of hair may fall out when you brush or wash it. This is often temporary despite it causing overall thinning.
Full-body hair loss: If you've received medical treatment, such as chemotherapy, this often leads to hair loss all over your body. However, the hair usually grows back following successful treatment.
What illnesses can cause hair loss?
Hair loss can often be the result of a more serious medical condition or illness, whether you're suffering or in the recovery stage. It's an upsetting realisation and can add to the stress and anxiety about your condition.
Some of the most common illnesses that can cause hair loss include:
Alopecia: This autoimmune disease affects both the skin and scalp and causes hair to fall out in small patches
Eating disorders: Anorexia and bulimia can cause stress to the body, removing important nutrients that help hair grow healthily
Thyroid conditions: If thyroid problems are left untreated or are severe, this can cause hair loss across your scalp and body
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS can lead to thin, limp hair that is prone to damage due to excess androgenic hormones that are caused by the condition
Cancer: Cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, can cause hair loss all over the body, including your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows and armpits. Depending on the dosage, it can cause anything from simple thinning to complete baldness
How can I stop hair loss?
There is no baldness or hair loss cure. Most hair loss cases don't need specific treatment, as it is either temporary or merely a sign of ageing.
Hair loss caused by an illness or medical condition usually stops and grows back once you have recovered.
However, there are a few ways in which you can try to prevent hair loss if it's causing you distress. There are various treatments for hair loss you can try, but none are 100% effective.
Propecia is a prescription men's hair loss treatment. It can help reduce hair loss and promote growth on your head. However, it does not affect hair growth on other areas of the body.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen, otherwise referred to as a sex hormone. It contributes to the development of body hair, but sex hormones are believed to play and underlying role in pattern baldness.
Hair loss can be caused by hypersensitivity to DHT. Propecia acts as a DHT blocker to reduce these levels in the body and reverse balding.
You should only take one hair loss tablet daily and it can take between 3-6 months to see the results. If you stop taking Propecia, your hair will revert to its previous state in 6-12 months.
If you'd like to learn more, take a look at the Propecia patient information leaflet. This treatment includes the active ingredient finasteride. It's important to note that Propecia and finasteride - its generic form - should not be consumed by those assigned as female at birth (especially if pregnant) and children. You can learn more about finasteride via official literature.
Minoxidil is a treatment for hair loss and related conditions, including alopecia, and can be used by any adult.
Th treatment comes in a lotion, solution or foam form to be applied directly to the scalp. It works by causing the hair to enter the growing stage. You must use this treatment twice a day for at least eight weeks to notice any difference.
Minoxidil is particularly effective for people under the age of 40 who have experienced recent hair loss. It does not affect receding hairlines.
Be sure to read the instructions carefully and avoid any contact with the eyes or broken skin. To learn more, take a look at the minoxidil patient information leaflet.
Other treatments for hair loss
Supplements and vitamins for hair loss can be purchased from a range of high street stores. If you are suffering from a vitamin deficiency which is causing hair loss, taking a supplement that includes that vitamin could help. However, they will not work if you do not have a deficiency.
Steroids can also be applied to bald patches via injection or a cream. The specifics of the treatment will depend on your condition.
How do I cope with hair loss?
It's important not to forget the psychological impacts that hair loss can have. Perhaps you feel embarrassed, anxious or have lost your confidence as a result. Even if you're experiencing temporary hair loss, it can be hard to come to terms with.
We've listed a few useful tips to help you deal with the reality of losing your hair:
- Disguising hair loss: If you do feel self-conscious, there are multiple ways to disguise or cover up hair loss. You could consider into a particular product that suits you, from wigs to hair extensions and scarves
- Talk about it: Try not to keep the emotions you're feeling bottled up inside of you. Consider discussing your hair loss with close family and friends so they can offer their support
- Support groups: Joining a support group is a great way to meet people who are going through similar experiences to you. Talking with others who are suffering from hair loss can help you share ideas on how to live with it while helping you feel less alone. Take a look at where your local Alopecia UK support group is located.
- Patience: Please remember that the majority of cases are temporary and your hair is likely to grow back. Don't be convinced by products that claim to fix your hair loss, as there is currently no cure
Hair loss treatments from Rightdose
Our aim is to ensure everyone can receive treatment directly to their door, without the need to take a trip to the local pharmacy.
We have a wide range of treatments available. If you need prescription treatment for hair loss, our team of specialists is on hand to help you.
We understand that people have busy schedules or may be too embarrassed to get treatment, therefore avoiding it at all costs. That's why we offer free, discreet delivery straight to your doorstep on all orders over £25.
If you would like to speak to someone in person, feel free to pop into one of our pharmacies. We have an expert team of qualified pharmacists, technicians and dispensers to ensure you receive the best hair loss treatment that's suitable to your needs.
If you do experience sudden hair loss, your hair comes out in clumps, you have an itching or burning scalp or you're worried, please contact your GP.