Hair loss: causes and treatment

Strong and full hair is synonymous with youth and attractiveness - is correspondingly large for many the psychological burden when the hair fails. In Germany, every second man and at least every tenth woman is affected - be it by hereditary or pathological hair loss. Often there are hopes that "miracle drugs" and other therapies can stop the loss of hair, and permanent hair transplantation is effective, but there are other, at least temporarily, effective remedies.

The hair structure

Our hair is made of keratin, so at first they are nothing but horns with pigments - and yet the most beautiful natural jewelry that we own. Man has between 100, 000 and 150, 000 hairs on his head, between 80 and 100 of them fall off daily and grow again.

Hair growth and hair loss

Human hair does not stop growing at a certain length, but sprouts about one centimeter per month. A hair can grow for about seven years before it fails and then re-grows. Unfortunately, this is not true for everyone. Hair loss - alopecia - is a common problem.

Anyone who loses more than 100 hairs daily over a longer period suffers from this disorder. Basically, a distinction is made between two different forms, hereditary and morbid hair loss. Both occur in both men and women - albeit at different frequencies.

Genetic hair loss

Hormonal hereditary hair loss - the so-called androgenetic alopecia - is the most common form of hair loss, affecting mainly men. Cause are the "male genes", which ensure that with many representatives of the male sex the hair follicles with increasing age more sensitively to the hormone Dihydrotestosteron (DHT) react. This androgen is a male sex hormone, which is not only responsible for the thinning splendor on the head, but also for the beard growth as well as the male-typical growth on the chest and in the pubic area.

The increasing sensitivity to DHT with age is genetically preprogrammed and leads to a reduction of the hair follicle - the nonspecific structure that surrounds the hair root. The hair follicle itself is surrounded by an outer and an inner Haarwurzelscheide. When the hair root sheath finally settles, the hair falls out and does not grow any more.

Hair loss starts at the receding hairline

The changes in hair growth usually begin in the 3rd decade of life. Normally, they begin creeping on the "receding hairline". These grow backwards, later the tonsure area of ​​the back of the head is affected. The loss continues for years until only a more or less poor hair ring remains. Typical of this form of hair loss in men. But women can also be affected as they also produce DHT (albeit much less so than men). Often, the affected women generally show a more masculine hair type. The hair loss in men ultimately leads to baldness in the woman, the hair on the other hand, only clears.

Different regions of the head are differentially sensitive to DHT. Insensitive, for example, the hair in the hair area at the back of the head. Therefore, hair transplants are always removed from this area and transplanted to the head.

Morbid hair loss

In the case of circular hair loss (alopecia areata), round, bald areas usually form at various points of the head. The cause of the circular hair loss is probably an autoimmune reaction of the body against the hair follicles. In Germany, about one million people are affected. At the beginning of the disease, the hair first loses its pigment and turns gray. Characteristic are circular or oval shaped bald spots on the scalp. In the margins of these places one finds the characteristic hairs of the hair, which are only half a centimeter long and little pigmented; occasionally they are split in the end.

Mainly the back of the head and the lateral region of the hairy head are affected, less often eyelashes, beard and the remaining body hair. Very rarely there is a complete loss of body hair - this special case is called Alopecia universalis. The bald spots, however, are not painful and do not itch.

Hair loss during pregnancy

Also metabolic diseases, medications and iron deficiency, hormonal disorders and extreme mental stress can negatively affect the hair metabolism and lead to the so-called diffuse hair loss. Similarly, in rare cases, malnutrition can cause the loss of hair. Finally there is the physiological hair loss. It is rare and occurs after pregnancy or menopause, which is related to a sudden drop in the female hormone estrogen. When estrogen levels return to normal, hair loss usually ceases after some time.

Stop the hair loss

Before resorting to every conceivable means to stimulate hair growth, a dermatologist should be consulted. The reasons for hair loss are manifold and underlying organic disorders should be ruled out. The treatment of hair loss is often difficult. In the case of plant-related hair loss, there are meanwhile means by which the hair loss can be stopped in certain cases.

Once scaled-down or dead hair follicles, however, can not be "revived" - miracle drugs that promise to sprout new hair on a hairless bald, promise more than they can hold.

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