Shiny hair or baldness?


Shiny, beautiful, well-groomed hair has always been an adornment of its owner and a sign of health.

But the conditions of our habitat (polluted ecology, stress, lack of vitamins, etc.) lead to the destruction of hair follicles and the hair gradually leaves the head. Baldness starts. It can be inherited or be age-related.

Illness, long-term medication use and emotional stress also have a detrimental effect on hair quality and growth. Sometimes at the same time, the hairline can thin out — the so-called baldness, but this is only a temporary phenomenon, the result of a shortened hair life cycle, the premature entry of the follicle into the rest phase. Trichologists — modern hair experts — state: the problem of diseased hair is getting younger. True, the disease may rather lead not to hair loss, but to the fact that they become thinner, brittle and less shiny. If a serious illness causes a large number of hairs to enter the resting phase at the same time, this will be immediately noticeable as they will thin out and even bald patches may appear. However, new hair will grow back after a few months. Sometimes pregnancy can also accompany with a similar effect. It often happens that after the birth of a child, the mother’s hair begins to fall out. When they grow back — and this can take up to 2 years — they may look completely different from before, for example, become wavy or straight instead of curly.

There are many reasons for hair loss:

  • bad heredity;
  • internal chronic pathologies — hormonal dysfunctions, diseases of the endocrine system, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, childbirth, menopause, birth control pills, some other diseases, as well as radiation and drug therapy, taking certain medications;
  • chronic stress (during strong excitement, vasospasm occurs, blood drains from the head, hair nutrition is disturbed and approximately 10% to 15% of hair follicles die), physical and emotional overwork;
  • adverse effects of environmental factors (especially increased radiation);
  • temperature changes (use of a hair dryer, thermal curlers, electric tongs, walks in the cold without a hat or in the heat without a hat);
  • the action of chemical reagents (unprofessional perm, dyeing, bleaching at home), very often lovers of frequent experiments with their hair are at risk. The only consolation is that these factors cause temporary baldness, which can be stopped after the root cause is eliminated and with the help of a properly selected course of treatment;
  • circulatory disorders due to tight hats, caps, etc.;
  • the use of hard and chlorinated water for shampooing (the resulting limescale dries and irritates the scalp and hair, clogs pores, disrupts the water-fat and acid-base balance, impedes the supply of oxygen and nutrients);
  • abuse of alcohol and nicotine;
  • unbalanced diet, lack of sufficient vitamins and minerals in the diet. (for hair growth, a good diet with enough protein and iron is very important);
  • temporary shedding can begin during a strict diet (200 to 400 calories per day) or in vegetarians.

A diet low in fat and sufficient in protein has a beneficial effect on hair growth: lean chicken and beef, as well as legumes. Take care of the sufficient amount of iron, which can be obtained from beef, nuts, pomegranates and cereals with special additives.

Hair loss (alopecia) is almost always a sign of a malfunction of the body: people suffering from any chronic disease cannot boast of the luxury of healthy hair. Therefore, the fight against hair loss must begin with a medical examination. First of all, you need to consult an endocrinologist, immunologist and trichologist. And it is better to contact specialized centers where there is everything necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Trichologists have found that each person has about a million hair follicles on their head, but hair grows from only 100-150 thousand. Sometimes it is more effective not to fight for the preservation of falling hair, but to stimulate the activity of follicles that have not worked so far. An individually selected vitamin and mineral complex will enhance the effect of the main course of hair treatment. A mineralogram helps to identify the composition of the missing vitamins and trace elements.

With the onset of baldness, you should not immediately despair, looking at the disheveled hair. Understand the causes of baldness, diagnose your body. After all, hair loss associated with diseases, physical exhaustion or pregnancy can be solved. Or maybe a small bald spot suits you, revealing your “Socratic” forehead.

On a more serious note, it should be noted why baldness tends to affect men, and usually in certain areas. Science calls baldness of any degree alopecia (from the Greek alopex — “fox”, which, as you know, suffers from an ugly molt every year). You should know that there are three main types of alopecia — androgenic, or male, alopecia areata and traumatic. All-knowing statistics claim that, on average, the problem of alopecia is very relevant for 40-50% of men and 20-30% of women of the entire planet. Men and women lose hair differently. First, in men, hair begins to fall out from the top of the head (doctors call it the «cardinal’s cap») or from the forehead («corners of the privy councilor»), while in women the hair falls out evenly from the entire surface of the head («melting hairstyle»).

The most common form of alopecia is androgenetic alopecia, which occurs in approximately 95% of balding men and women, when the body produces an increased amount of 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that converts the male hormone (testosterone) into dihydrotestosterone. As a result, the development phase of the hair follicle is shortened and it can only produce a barely visible vellus hair. At the same time, the life cycle of the hair itself is shortened, as a result of which it gradually becomes thinner and falls out. Women also have male hormones in their blood. An increase in their level as a result of some kind of hormonal failure can cause alopecia. On the surface of the follicles (the main part of the hair follicle) there are receptors that equally readily accept molecules of both male (testosterone) and female (estradiol) hormones. Women’s are simply necessary for the cage to maintain hair. Male ones bring death to the follicle, even if they hit only one of the receptors. That is, the more receptors and the less estradiol in the blood, the more likely it is to go bald. The amount of both is genetically determined. Very often, the gene that triggers the process of baldness is inherited from the father or maternally from the grandfather. Baldness “obtained” by inheritance can already appear in youth: genes are to blame for 70% of cases of early baldness. And suffer from this, according to statistics, 10% of men and 5% of women. Hair follicles on the head have more receptors than on other parts of the body. At the same time, as men age, the production of male hormones is activated. At the same time, hair follicles in the crown and forehead area die due to the interaction of male hormones with hair follicle receptors. And the bulbs of the occipital and temporal regions are deprived of such receptors. Well, with women who are much less prone to alopecia than men, everything is clear: the amount of estradiol they have is much higher.

External manifestations of androgenetic alopecia are quite characteristic. In men, it develops, as a rule, closer to 20 years, in women — in 20-30 years. Hair loss is noted, which occurs in waves, alternating with periods of remission. Often this is combined with an increase in the activity of the sebaceous glands, which causes patients to wash their hair more often, which further increases hair loss. The hair gradually becomes thinner, becomes more colorless. Due to the shortening of the anagen phase, the length of the hair also becomes shorter.

According to the generally accepted classification, both in men and women, androgenetic alopecia is distinguished according to the male and female types of IV and I-III degrees, respectively.

With male pattern alopecia, thinning of triangular-shaped hair is noted in the temporal regions (I degree), then in the forehead and back of the head (II degree). III degree corresponds to diffuse thinning of hair in the central parietal region, with its progression, the hair remains only in a small area between the frontal and central parietal region (IV degree); this area disappears over time (V degree). A gradual development of total alopecia is possible, but this is usually not observed in women. The female type of androgenetic alopecia differs in clinical manifestations. It is characterized by the presence of a center of hair thinning in the central parietal region, which has an oval outline. An important sign is the absence of baldness at the temples and above the forehead. I degree corresponds to mild, II degree — moderately, III — severe alopecia. It is believed that in women, the development of II degree of baldness indicates the presence of hyperandrogenism, usually due to changes in the ovaries; III degree is observed, as a rule, in pre- or postmenopause, at an earlier age — in the presence of pathology of both the ovaries and adrenal glands.

There is also diffuse hair loss, which, as a rule, is an early stage of anrogenetic baldness, or age-related baldness. It is more commonly telogen effluvium (although anagen diffuse baldness is also rare). It should also be noted that there are physiological variants of telogen hair loss: this is hair loss during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth; this is hair thinning in girls aged 16-19 years; This is senile or presenile hair loss in old age. However, in all these cases, it is necessary to be sure that we are not dealing with the initial stage of androgenetic alopecia.

The so-called nested, or rapid, alopecia is much less common than androgenic — about 10% of cases of all cases of baldness. However, it is she who delivers the greatest trouble with the sudden appearance, as well as uneven hair loss. The gene of the sixth chromosome is guilty of bald spots. Why — science does not know. But it is an unexpected change in the sixth chromosome, which can happen to anyone, that provokes lymphocytes (cells, useful and even vital) to attack the cells of the follicles.

Traumatic alopecia is a consequence of burns, mechanical damage to the hairline, intensive chemotherapy used in the treatment of cancer, etc.

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