Most people on an average will shed about 30 to 100 hairs per day. However, people who are experiencing significant hair loss may very well be able to trace the problem to one of six common reasons. Hair loss can be caused by (1) psoriasis, (2) seborrhoeic dermatitis (eczema), (3) over chemical treatment (relaxers, dyes, shampoo), (4) stress, (5) pre-mature thinning of the hair ( alopecia), and (6) Traction Alopecia.
Psoriasis is the presence of thick plaques of scale on the scalp which interfere with normal hair growth patterns as well as irritation to scalp. Hair recovery can only occur when this skin condition is resolved.
Eczema of the scalp classified as seborrhoeic dermatitis causes temporary hair loss due to damage to the hair follicles and hair follicle beds. Proper management of atopic dermatitis should eventually result in normal hair growth.
Many people experience hair loss after undergoing a harsh chemical process such as a perm or color. In many cases people use too strong of a chemical treatment and this process results in significant hair loss. However, most of the time these chemical treatments do not result in complete hair loss so protein treatments, hair conditioners, and a good hair cut will remove most of the damage.
Cases of severe stress can literally cause handfuls of hair loss at a time. Some men and women who experience stressful conditions will experience hair loss represented by thinning all over the head or in spots called "alopecia areata". Alopecia Areata means to loose hair in spots or areas of the scalp resembling circular patches. While this type of hair loss is shocking, in most cases it is not permanent. After the stress is removed, most sufferers of this type of hair loss re-grow all of the hair that they lost.
Alopecia or Pre-Mature Hair Thinning
In men and women over 40 hair loss, thinning of hair (pattern balding) or technically known as "alopecia" appears to be caused by the increase production of the hormone metabolite dihydrotestosterone (DHT) formed from the hormone testosterone in the prostate. Testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. The presence of high levels of DHT in the prostate in men results in a health problem known as "benign prostatic hyperplasia" or BPH. Ultimately, DHT leaks into the body's circulation system making its way to the scalp resulting in thinning of the hair and potential balding. Over time, the action of DHT causes the hair follicle to degrade and shortens the time when hair grows (anagen phase). Though the follicle is technically still alive it will grow smaller and smaller. With a steadily shorter anagen growing cycle, more hairs are shed, the hairs becoming thinner and thinner until they are too fine to survive daily wear and tear.
Estradiol, a form of estrogen found in higher than normal concentrations in women over 40 years of age but also in men as well is now known to activate pathways similar to the androgen DHT in the development of BPH. Estradiol is produced from testosterone by a process called aromatization, after the enzyme aromatase. Like DHT estradiol may very well exert a negative effect hair growth in both men and women. In women this is commonly known as "female -pattern-baldness.
Traction Alopecia results in gradual temporary or permanent hair loss caused by frequent pulling or twisting of the hair follicle. The constant force of tugging being exerted on the hair and scalp occurs in hairstyles such as braiding and hair weaves resulting in damage to hair and hair follicle beds. Because of the popular trend in women to desire longer hairstyles traction alopecia is increasingly becoming a common cause of hair loss in women. Ironically, traction alopecia can be avoided if proper care is taken when wearing braids or hair weaves.