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Hair Loss
Hair Loss
Dr. Pham Hoang Trung

rungtoc1There are approximately 100 to 150 thousand hairs on our head. It is normal for us to lose 50 to 100 of them every day. If this number is higher, then we are suffering from hair loss. Normally, hair grows very steadily. They grow about half an inch (12,7 mm) a month. Starting from the root, the growth of a hair is divided into two phases. The first phase is the growing phase, lasting from 2 to 6 years, followed by the resting phase, lasting from 2 to 3 months. After the resting phase, hair normally falls out. From the root of a lost hair, a new one will grow out and a new growing phase starts all over again. The hair is composed of a protein called keratin (the same protein found in finger and toenails). This protein is formed at the root of the hair, where new hair cells are produced. This process also pushes the old cells out of the roots, forming a chain of dead keratin cells. These dead cells are none other than the hairs that we can see.

In men, hair starts falling off from the hairline on the forehead and also at the top of the head. In women, hair loss occurs all over the head, making their hair look thinner and thinner.

Hair loss is caused mostly by a hereditary factor. Parents who are bald or have thinning hair can have children with the same problem. This type of hair loss occurs when a hormone affects the outer skin of some hair roots, causing the hairs to grow thinner than usual. From then on, those hairs keep growing thinner and thinner while their roots gradually dry up. Eventually, the hairs stop growing altogether, which leads to the stage of baldness.

Temporary hair loss can be caused by other factors: a high fever, a grave illness, thyroid diseases, a lack of body iron, certain types of medication, an imbalance of hormones, or extreme stress. In those cases, hair only falls out during a short period and stops falling when the causes are no longer active. Women who experience hormone trouble after childbirth or a change in menstrual cycle also suffer from temporary hair loss.

The drugs that can cause temporary hair loss include those that contain chemicals to treat cancer, Retinoid (for pimples), hypertension medications (beta-adrenergic blockers), and contraceptive medications.
Temporary hair loss can also occur because of burns, chemotherapy, head injuries, or infection by chemicals used for pool cleaning, hair dye or perm. The ringworm disease, often found in children, is yet another cause for hair loss.

In addition to hereditary or temporary causes as mentioned above, the nutrition factor also plays an important role with respect to hair loss. In general lack of nutrition as well as a particular lack of nutritious elements for the hair roots will affect the growth cycle of hair. Only after a couple of months of lacking necessary nutritious elements, will hair start be falling out.


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