Characteristics of baldness

This article was endorsed by Néstor Zumaya Cárdenas - M.D & Medical Surgeon from the National Autonomous University of Mexico

What is baldness or alopecia?

Baldness, hair loss, or alopecia is produced by the fall of one’s hair and its inability to renew, so that the scalp becomes partly or completely devoid of it.

Whom does baldness mainly affect to?

Hair growth arrest primarily affects men. More and more cases of women with this problem occur nowadays, although they are not as drastic in women as they use to be in men.

Symptoms of baldness

The main symptoms of alopecia are:

  • Hair loss
  • Hair thinning
  • Hair devoid plaque formation
  • Hair with low vitality
  • Etc.

Causes of baldness

Alopecia in men is common as you get older

There are many causes that can lead to hair loss. Among all of them, we can mention the following:

  • Genetic causes: Often baldness has a genetic cause. In most men hair loss occurs, wholly or partly, because of the existence of hormones (dihydrotestosterone) that control the hair follicles. These are not able to produce new hairs after the previous ones fell, giving rise to androgenic alopecia. There is an increasing proportion of women that suffer the same problem, showing thinner and less abundant hair.
  • Diseases: There are some skin diseases that can cause alopecia, such as ringworm. Hormonal disorders, such as it happens in hyperthyroidism or menopause weaken the hair, making it thinner. A low production of thyroids (hypothyroidism) produces too thick hair. Other common diseases for hair loss are, for example, secondary syphilis or the low presence of iron in the blood (anemia) etc

Hair diseases that can cause baldness

Certain hair problems can cause their loss if they are not adequately solved. Among all of them the most important are:

  • Seborrhea and dandruff.
  • A too dry hair  does not directly cause it to fall out, but, indirectly, it can contribute to it falling more easily since dry hair makes it difficult to handle it and requires more aggressive procedures to comb, straighten, etc.

Other diseases that can cause baldness or alopecia

There are diseases that cause alopecia. Between them:

  • Poor circulation in the scalp: Since the hair has to receive the adequate supply of nutrients through the blood, problems with the blood supply to the scalp caused by poor circulation are the first physical factor causing hair loss. Poor circulation does not adequately nourish the hair follicle and ends up damaging it. The hair falls out and is no longer renewed, leading to baldness or alopecia.
  • Certain skin diseases, including, for example, ringworm.
  • Hormonal disorders, such as hyperthyroidism that weakens the hair, making it thinner. Otherwise, a low production of the thyroid (hypothyroidism) leads to the hair being too thick.

Other possible reasons for hair loss

  • Psychological causes: Stress, personal distress or unpleasant emotional states are often usual producers of alopecia.
  • Chemicals: The use of certain chemicals, such as chemotherapy for cancer treatment, unsuitable shampoos, too rich in detergents, that make our hair to become more and more oily, or other aggressive components can attack it and provoke baldness.
  • Unknown causes: Sometimes hair loss occurs for non apparent reasons.

Diet and hair loss

A poor diet can lead to our body not having the necessary amount of certain components for the perfect condition of the hair.

It has been proven that a deficiency of certain principles can cause hair loss. Among them, the most important are the following:

  • Minerals: iron, copper, zinc and silica,
  • Vitamins: Lack of certain vitamins can cause hair loss, especially vitamin B and specifically pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) or biotin (Vitamin B7) (See: biotin for hair)
  • Proteins: Similarly, a lack of protein or fat, very typical in subjects who follow strict weight loss diets, or very common in low-income countries, can lead to the same result.

Diagnostic and treatment of baldness

The diagnosis of hair loss should be made by your doctor or dermatologist through a review of the scalp.

A series of additional tests of the hair can show that it is a definitive loss, thus it is possible to rule out possible temporary losses or the simple renewal of the hair, which occurs in a normal and normal way in all people.

Among the most usual treatments, minoxidil has proved to be the most effective treatment for alopecia androgenic, specially for young men that realize their hair line is receding.

Some ointments on men’s scalp with products containing testosterone can be useful to avoid dihydrotestosterone formation which is mainly responsible for men baldness.

When some of these treatments are not effective, hair transplants can be a final solution.

More information about baldness.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 August, 2020

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