Blonde, red, brown or black, straight, curly or wavy - our hair is a symbol of beauty and health. But what happens when hair starts to fall out? Here you can find out more about hair loss: causes, tips and interesting facts.
Hair - much more than just a beauty symbol
Hair is not only a natural decoration, but also fulfills important tasks: They protect the scalp from sunlight, body hair helps regulate temperature, eyelashes protect the eyes and nose hairs prevent dirt and pathogens from entering the body. Healthy hair is therefore an important part of a healthy body. Every single hair has a hair root, which is located deep in the skin and produces or makes the hair grow. Actually, this is a horny thread.
It is quite natural that we lose hair every day, because it goes through different stages of growth. The hair on the head can grow for several years until it is shed. Then the hair follicle takes a short break before a new hair grows. Hair loss goes beyond the natural loss through the different growth phases.
Hair loss: one symptom, many causes
If you notice bald patches on your head or find whole tufts of hair in your brush, you could be suffering from hair loss. But what are the reasons for this? There are three different types of hair loss, which have different causes:
Congenital hair loss (androgenetic alopecia): One of the most common forms, affecting more men than women. Here, the hair roots of the scalp react hypersensitively to male hormones. This gradually leads to hair no longer growing.
Circular hair loss (alopecia areata): This is characterized by circular hair loss, which usually occurs before the age of 30. In alopecia, the immune system is misdirected and attacks the hair roots. There are different manifestations of this form of hair loss. Some affected people lose hair all over the body, others suffer only a short time from circular hair loss in one place.
Diffuse hair loss (thinning of the hair): There are many different causes for this. Among the most common are malnutrition and a hormonal shift. Examples include thyroid dysfunction, polycystic ovary syndrome, pregnancy or menopause in women. But stress is also discussed as a cause of hair loss. In addition, high pressure from a tight braid, overall improper care such as frequent hair coloring or a lot of heat, medications such as chemotherapy or inflammatory diseases of the scalp such as a fungal infection can damage hair growth.
Hair loss in women vs. hair loss in men
There are certainly other causes of hair loss, but what is already apparent from these examples is that men and women differ in the reasons for hair loss, especially when hormonal changes are the trigger. With increasing age, men are much more likely to develop receding hairlines or even baldness. By the age of 50, about half of all men lose their hair. Later it is even more.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from thyroid disorders and associated hair loss. In addition, they can suffer from diffuse hair loss for a short time in certain situations, such as after pregnancy or when stopping the contraceptive pill. The autoimmune disease alopecia areata also occurs more frequently in girls and young women. For women, hair loss is often associated with significantly greater suffering.
What you can do against hair loss
How you can counteract thinning hair depends on the cause. In the case of hereditary hair loss, it is also a matter of attitude whether you want to take countermeasures at all or whether you feel comfortable with your new hairstyle. For your physical health, this hair loss is harmless. However, some people, especially if they are affected at a young age, suffer psychologically. For them, a foam or solution with the active ingredient minoxidil can be useful. There are other medications or hair transplantation, which in principle can be considered for treatment, but can also be associated with side effects.
In the case of alopecia areata, various medications such as cortisone can also be used. If you suspect circular hair loss, seek advice from a doctor for the best treatment.
In the case of diffuse hair loss, it is particularly important to find the exact trigger. This is the best way to combat your symptoms. One of the causes is an iron deficiency. In this case, iron supplements and, in the long term, a change in diet can help. A lack of vitamin B12, which is often associated with a vegan diet, can also have hair loss as a symptom. In addition, it has been proven that biotin contributes to normal hair maintenance. The trace mineral selenium is also known for its involvement in hair health. Again, a deficiency can lead to hair loss. In addition, the two amino acids lysine and proline are associated with healthy hair.
In addition to a healthy diet and a good supply of vital substances, reducing stress can also be helpful in diffuse hair loss. How you manage this is very individual. Certain herbal substances, so-called adaptogens, can improve your sensitivity to stress. But also breathing exercises, yoga and your inner attitude have an influence on your stress level and thus also on hair loss. In addition, you should pay attention to a gentle hair care. Less use of heat, i.e. if you have hair loss, you should refrain from using a straightening iron or curling iron and blow-dry your hair with cold air. You should also refrain from coloring your hair.
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FAQ about hair loss
What is normal and what is hair loss? There are many questions on this topic. We have listed some of these questions with their answers.
How much hair does a person lose per day?
A healthy person loses about 60 to 100 hairs per day. Those who suffer from hair loss lose significantly more hair.
How do you recognize hereditary hair loss?
In men, this is characterized by receding hairline or incipient baldness at the back of the head. Women lose their hair from the middle parting.
How do you recognize diffuse hair loss?
After combing, you have a whole tuft of hair in your brush. Your hair becomes thinner overall.
How fast does hair grow?
Each hair grows about one centimeter per month.
How long can hair grow?
Before a hair falls out, it grows for about three to six years. Thus, they usually become between 36 and 72 centimeters long. However, exactly how long hair becomes is very individual and depends on many factors.
What vitamins are good for hair?
A varied diet is overall good for your health, skin and hair. Vitamin B12, biotin and folic acid are among the vitamins that are especially important for healthy hair. You should also pay attention to the minerals iron, zinc and copper.
How long does it take for hair to recover from hair loss?
The hair roots can recover from circular and diffuse hair loss. After the hair falls out, the hair root needs some time to recover. That is, until new hair grows, a few weeks may pass.