HAIR LOSS: TRUTHS AND MYTHS

WHAT YOU CAN BELIEVE ABOUT HAIR LOSS

To end your hair loss, reading about the origins of the problem is imperative. It will help you to assess your own situation, identify the reasons why you in particular suffer from a specific type of hair loss, and what you can do to address the problem. Besides, you will acquaint yourself with the many half-truths and myths about hair loss. That in itself may save you a lot of money avoiding expensive “hair growers” that do not work at all. This discussion comprises two important components of the problem: first, trustworthy, factual reading material on hair loss and secondly, the half-baked explanations about hair loss, and the myths that have developed over time. In a following section modern methods to treat the problem will be analysed.

Let us first make one point clear. To lose hair is not abnormal. This is part of the growth cycle of hair in every person. In fact, hair experts say that up to 100 hairs per day can be lost without worrying about the matter. It is when there is no replacement of fallen hair and thinning areas begin to show, that the warning lights come on. Then it is time for you to act.

Researchers have found that normally three factors are involved in hair loss. They are: excessive dihydrotestosterone (DHT) where male baldness is concerned; Pseudo-oestrogen chemicals; and lack of vital nutrients.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

Understanding why you become bald is the key to ending your hair loss. It is all about the actions and interactions of hormones in your body. Free testosterone ( a male hormone) is broken down by an enzyme, called 5-alpha reductase, into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent form of testosterone. This enzyme is produced only in specific tissues of males. The “radical”  chemical DHT binds to the hair follicle receptors, blocking essential nutrients from accessing the hair. The hair gradually becomes thinner and eventually dies. It is what’s called the “peach fuzz” look on young men with hair loss.

This is  why only men get male pattern baldness and women don’t. Hair loss in women is more evenly distributed with a thinning over the whole scalp. Also, effective DHT inhibiting treatment was only effective on younger men with hair loss and not older men or women. Excessive DHT is therefore not the only reason for losing your hair.

Pseudo-Oestrogen chemicals

This condition mostly affects women and has also to do with the binding of chemicals to hair follicle receptors. The confirmation of a theory was to be found in Chinese women.  For centuries it was unheard of for women in China to experience hair loss at any age. Over the last 20 years increasing number of Chinese women in the industrialized areas of China are experiencing hair loss. This has been put down to chemicals from the industrial process that mimic the chemical effects of oestrogen. These pseudo-oestrogen chemicals bind tighter to the hair follicle receptors than normal oestrogen does, starving the hair follicle of vital nutrients – similar to the way DHT does.

This also seems to be the reason for hair loss in obese men. Fat cells in obese and balding men contain more of the enzyme aromatase (responsible for converting testosterone into oestrogen). Also bacteria in fat cells produce oestrogen-like chemicals.

Lack of vital nutrients

When considering ways to end your hair loss, you should take into account that the hair needs a variety of nutrients to sustain itself.

Experiments on mice have shown the effect of a deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals. Scientists removed the genes in mice responsible for the regulation of the hair and scalp. These genes are in turn normally regulated by vitamin D. The result was rickets and hair loss with dermal cysts appearing quite early on. When scientists injected naturally “nude” mice with vitamin D, they started sprouting hair at an alarming rate.

In the case of women hair loss, shortage of iron and the essential amino acid L-lysine has been associated with losing one’s hair. Supplementing their diets with this has proven to be very beneficial for women who are losing their hair.

 

MYTHS ABOUT HAIR LOSS (STOP YOUR HAIR LOSS WITHOUT FALLING FOR THESE TALL STORIES) 

Through the ages millions of people (mostly men) have gone to their graves completely bald or with thinning hair. While medical science has achieved miracles in replacing or transplanting organs, it has made no definite breakthrough with hair restoration. And although some authoritative findings have been made about the reasons for baldness, hair loss myths are more well-known than hair loss facts. Since hair loss is such a common and unwelcome condition, the public has been bombarded with hair loss myths to promote sales of hair loss prevention products. Many companies have jumped on the hair loss bandwagon because of our own enormous desires to eliminate hair loss from our lives, not to mention the unlimited amount of money that we (the public) are willing to spend on this quest. This makes the hair loss market ripe for perpetuating myths that will increase sales. But, for the most part, they are just that: myths.

Some of the more common hair loss myths are as follows:

Hair loss myth number oneMale Pattern Baldness (MPB) comes from the mother’s side of the family and skips a generation. Not true. There is no one single gene that causes baldness. Most researches believe that MPB is a result of several different genes, inherited from both parents, interacting with each other to cause hair loss.

Hair loss myth number two: Pattern baldness affects only men. Also wrong. Just ask any woman suffering from pattern baldness. In fact, hair loss is just as common in women as it is in men. The only real difference is that it usually occurs in a less virulent form and is easier to hide. Also, women’s hair tends to thin out over the entire scalp area, whereas men’s hair thins in patches and primarily at the forehead.

Hair loss myth number three: Poor blood flow to the scalp area causes hair loss. This is a misconception that has been perpetuated by companies selling hair loss products for years. Dermatologists will tell you that bald scalps have just as much blood flow as scalps full of hair. It is because of this blood flow to the bald scalp that hair transplants work so well.

Hair loss myth number four: If you haven’t lost your hair by 40, you aren’t going to. Again, not true. Age has nothing to do with it. If you are genetically predisposed to lose your hair, you are going to. Just be grateful you made it to 40 with your hair still intact.

Hair loss myth number 5: Stress makes your hair fall out. Although this statement is partly true, it really takes a very traumatic event to cause so much stress that your hair will fall out as a result. The daily stress that  we experience is unlikely to cause your falling out on a large scale.

And so we can go on and add new urban legends. But the point is: most of the facts we think we know about hair loss are actually hair loss myths. If you are suffering from hair loss, consult your doctor. He (or she) should be able to give you a factual reason for your hair loss and advise you as to what types of treatments may would work in your specific case.

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