The average person has 5 million hairs. Hair grows all over your body except on your lips, palms, and the soles of your feet. It takes about a month for healthy hair to grow half an inch. Most hairs grow for up to six years and then fall out. New hairs grow in their place. Hair helps keep you warm. It also protects your eyes, ears and nose from small particles in the air. Common problem with the hair and scalp include hair loss, infections, and flaking.
- Male Pattern Baldness
- Female Pattern Baldness
- Premature Hair Loss
- Post - Natal Hair Loss
- Grey Hair
- Patches Baldness
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Scalp Aging
What is Male Pattern Baldness?
One of the most common types of hair loss prevalent in men is Male Pattern Baldness. The typical pattern usually starts at the frontal hairline where the hair recedes followed by the hair slowly thinning on the crown.
When Male Pattern Baldness is present, the hairline gradually recedes at the crown and begins to thin forming a shape mainly either an "M", "O", "A" or "O+M" shape on the scalp. The surrounding existing hair also become finer and shorter as time progresses.
The final stages of progression lead to a horse shoe pattern around the sides of the head, due to the top of the hair line meeting the thinned crown. Most men are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness and it is the effect of hormones (dihydrotestosterone (DHT)) on the hair follicle that causes this to occur.
What is Female Pattern Baldness?
The most common type of hair loss in women is known as Female Pattern Baldness. The typical pattern is an overall thinning on the crown and is somewhat different to how male pattern baldness develops. In comparison to Male Pattern Baldness, hair loss in women is not as easily visible or identifiable as compared to men.
The hair thins all over the head, but the frontal hairline is maintained. There may be a moderate loss of hair on the crown, but this rarely progresses to total or near baldness as it may in men.
Furthermore, it may not have any obvious hereditary association, and may not occur in a recognizable 'female-pattern baldness' of diffuse thinning over the top of the scalp.
At the first signs of hair loss a woman may not be sure if the loss is going to be temporary or permanent, such as in the cases of pregnancy of even illnesses that can be associated to female pattern baldness.
What is Premature Hair Loss?
Premature hair loss is identified when hairs gradually drop during adolescence. Although premature hair loss is sometimes acknowledged as a symbol of intelligence or wealth numerous teenagers worry about this problem.
The age group which commonly faces this problem ranges from ages 20 and over. The occurrence of premature hair loss can be sudden and dramatic, and in serious cases result in total hair loss by the age of 30 plus.
Premature hair loss usually begins at the hairline. The forehead hairline gradually goes backward or the hairs on the crown become thinner and thinner and finally lead to baldness. People who suffer from premature hair loss find that the hair follicles shrink gradually and are finally replaced by fine hairs. Furthermore the scalp grows thin, causing the hair root to be weak allowing hair to drop off easily.
Severity of premature hair loss will increase by age. Therefore, patients with premature hair loss are encouraged to seek for EARLY treatment to avoid loss of hair follicles.
What is Post - Natal Hair Loss?
A women’s hair during pregnancy is at one of its best, especially during the fourth month where the hair can be bushy and thick. The hair is shinier, more manageable, less greasy and is less prone to dandruff and scalp problems. This improvement in the hair is due to the increase in oestrogen, the female sex hormone.
However, once the baby is born there can be a sudden loss of hair because of the oestrogen levels reverting back to its normal levels. This dramatic hair loss is a result of a prolonged duration where the hair would normally have fallen out during the nine months of pregnancy. Such is the situation that, the hair now falls out from the second to sixth month after the birth of the baby.
It is shown that an estimated 40% of all women with children suffer from post-natal hair loss and that it can be a very frightening and upsetting experience. Although new hair is not produced, follicles remain alive suggesting there is possibility of new hair growth. Hair loss is also shown to be found in breast feeding women.
What is Dandruff?
Dandruff is the excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp which can be caused by internal and external causes. Internal causes such as hormonal imbalance, poor health or hygiene, lack of rest and emotional stress or even improper nutrition are likely contributions to the development of dandruff.
Furthermore, external causes such as excessive use of hair sprays, or frequent change in weather and temperature can damage the scalp surface and increase the rate of dandruff. Bacteria are also known to further aggravate the situation, especially in cases where a person has dandruff.
In reality, dandruff is not contagious as it is only dead skin cells however it is possible that for both types of persons with a dry or oily scalp to contract dandruff.
What is Grey Hair?
Grey hair occurs when bulbar melanogenetic cells produce less melanin then it normally would. Hair colour is determined by the quantity, distribution and types of melanin within each hair.
There are 2 types of melanin: Eumelanin and Phaeomelanin, whereby our hair colour is based on the combination. Eumelanin is a dark red, brown to black and is normally more dominant among Asians hair, as compared to Phaeomelanin a light yellow to red found mostly in Eurasians. A number of people do not experience total greyness or whiteness of hair but grey hair with a tint of light brown. This is due to the bulbar melanogenetic cells producing melanin however at an insufficient level.
Some causes that lead to greying hair are as follows: Genetic predisposition, Aging, Anemia or poor blood circulation, insufficient nutrients, Vitamin B1 and B12 deficiency, Hormonal Imbalance and others.
What is Patches Baldness?
Patches baldness or otherwise known as alopecia is a general term referring to hair loss which usually affects both men and women during their middle aged life. However alopecia has many different types each with a different cause and effect on the body. There are mainly 3 types of alopecia each ranging in level of severity, alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.
Alopecia starts mainly at the front and top of the head as in common male pattern baldness. It may be patchy as in a condition called Alopecia Areata or it can involve the entire head as in Alopecia Totalis. In the most serious form, it can even involve the entire body as in Alopecia Universalis.
Medical studies have concluded that these three types of alopecia are a result of an abnormality within the immune system where the immune system attacks certain tissues in the body. In the case of alopecia affected hair follicles are mistakenly attacked by a person's own immune system (white blood cells), resulting in the halt of the hair growth stage. As a result, the affected follicles become very small, drastically slow down in production, and grow no hair visible above the surface for months or years. The scalp is the most commonly affected area, but the beard or any hair-bearing site can be affected alone or together with the scalp.
What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic Dermatitis is a type of hair loss due to overproduction of sebum and excessive oiliness of the scalp. It is mostly highly found in young men starting from puberty up until the ages around 40 and over. Due to follicle shrink, the hair on the forehead and on both sides becomes thin and as a result this affects the appearance of the crown region.
There are 2 types of seborrheic hair loss each different in its own characteristics.
The dry type (also known as the block type) tends to have sebum containing more saturated fatty acid thus making the sebum sticky. This results in a congested follicle and the hair becoming dry and fragile. Moreover, flaky dandruff is prevalent making the scalp seriously itchy which can also cause sore and red patches.
On the other hand, the oily type (also known as the secretion type) is the opposite where the sebum contains more unsaturated fatty acid thus the sebum is thin. This produces an oily scalp along with hair and oily dandruff.
Some relief for seborrheic hair loss can include stress management, regular exercise, consuming less oily and deep fried food and maintaining a well balanced diet and lifestyle.
What is Scalp Aging?
As the name suggest, our scalps can get older and become thinner losing much of its elasticity. Over time the scalp has fewer hair follicles and this leads to hair thinning and balding. The number of blood vessels in the dermis begins to drop whilst at the same time the hair often loses its color.
The scalp is the fastest aging skin compared to any other skin on the body. It is known that the scalp ages 12 times faster than body skin and 6 times faster than facial skin. On average the speed of hair growth on a normal scalp, is roughly 1.25 cm per month. However on an aging scalp the speed of hair growth might slow down to an estimated 80% but grow as little as 0.25 cm per month.
Scalp aging can be caused by a number of reasons such as, decreasing levels of collagen, poor blood circulation, kidney or liver problem or even low supply of nutrients.