Free Shipping on orders over $99

Hair loss

Men's Health, Women's Health, Immune, Hair loss, Pregnancy | May 22, 2019 | Author: Naturopath

pregnancy, men, women's health, autoimmune

Hair loss

The main causes of hair loss disorders involve an interruption in the hair growth cycle. These disorders usually involve a stress on the body in one form or another. This could be psychological stress, as in emotional, or physiological conditions such as: pregnancy, hormone imbalances, endocrine disorders, immunological or toxic. Other reasons can include aging and allergic reactions. The sudden and severe loss of hair without any obvious new hair growth can be worrying and can also have an effect on self esteem, so finding a solution is important.

Hair performs many functions including temperature regulation, protection and as a sexual attractant. Importantly hair plays a psychological role in an individual’s identity and self-worth. This is why when hair loss is occurring it can have an added psychological stress to the individual. Not only does stress cause hair loss, but the loss of hair can add to the stress.

Hair physiology

The hair follicle is a part of a unit called the pilosebaceous unit. This unit comprises the sebaceous gland, the arrector pili muscle and the hair follicle. Sebaceous glands secrete an oily, waxy substance called sebum which waterproofs and lubricates the skin. The arrector pili muscles are attached to the hair follicle and make the hair stand on end.

Hair Growth Facts

  • Hair growth on average is 0.35mm a day
  • Hair shed on average is 100 hairs daily (more occurs in hair care practices)
  • Humans have between 80,000 to 120,000 terminal hairs on their scalp

The Hair Cycle

The hair follicles cycles through 3 main phases: Anagen, catagen and telogen phases.

Anagen – is the growth phase and can range from 2 to 6 years in which primary hair growth happens. There may be 85 – 90% of hairs in the growth phase.

Catagen – is the stage characterised by follicular deterioration. 1 - 2 weeks.

Telogen – This is the resting phase and can last around 3 months.

After which the hair is dead, or inactive, and is shed (falls).

When there is a deviation from this natural pattern of growth it will involve a pathological condition such as telogen effluvium, alopecia areata or androgenetic alopecia.

Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disorder where the immune system attacks the hair follicle. The cause of this condition is thought related to environmental and genetic components. Low levels of vitamin D have been implicated in this disorder.

Androgenetic alopecia also known as male-pattern baldness affects both men and women. In women, there is risk of suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, related to hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance. Other characteristics of this condition include acne, weight gain and hirsutism (excess hair growth in other areas of the body).
Studies performed using an extract of the herb Serenoa repens (Saw palmetto), both topically and internally has been shown to inhibit both types of 5-α reductase and, when taken orally, has been shown to increase hair growth. 5-α reductase is an androgenic hormone implicated in this condition.

A telogen effluvium is when stress causes the hair into a premature resting phase and hair growth is slowed, resulting in sudden and extreme hair shed, which may continue for a couple of months and involve around 70% of the hair. Not new hair growths is noted.

Common Causes

Post-partum effluvium (hair loss after pregnancy)

One hypothesis for hair loss after pregnancy is a manifestation of a change experienced in the normal growth cycle occurring during pregnancy.

Post-partum effluvium In normal circumstances this condition will regulate itself with time and is never usually permanent. If treatment is necessary it is based on hormonal regulation.

Addressing any nutritional deficiency related to pregnancy and breastfeeding is important, especially vitamin D and Iron, which are required in greater quantities at this time.
Click Here for further reading

Nutritional deficiencies

Micronutrients are important for the normal functioning of the hair follicle cycle. Addressing any nutrient deficiency is important to support hair growth.

Iron deficiency has been implicated in hair loss alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium and diffuse hair loss in various studies. It is important to identify the reason for low iron levels before supplementing. Menstruating and pregnant women are most at risk of iron deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in some immune – related conditions of hair loss. Supplementing with low doses of vitamin D has shown to improve hair loss related to androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium.

Loss of blood supple to the follicle 

Blood vessels support the hair follicle by supplying nutrients, eliminating waste and growth. Poor blood supply to the head may be due to dermatitis, toxins in scalp sebum (DDT) and an excess amount of the hromone, di-hydro testotrone(DHT) - Male pattern baldness. Take care with what you are using on your scalp, ie hair products and address homonal issues.
Click Here for further reading

Conditions of the scalp

The scalp is the bed for the emerging hair and in many skin conditions, including normal aging, can influence hair growth and loss. This is due to the effect of oxidative stress. The commensal organism, Malassezia, has been recognized to be a source of oxidative damage. This fungus is naturally found on the surface of the skin of humans, but in some instances this opportunistic pathogen can increase its levels. Shampooing hair with specific products can help reduce its load. Addressing health conditions which have led the body’s inability to reduce oxidative stress is important.
Click Here for further reading

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction to ingredients used in hair products can result in a sudden massive loss of hair, usually withing two months.

Stress

Stress interrupts the function and the cyclic regulation of the hair follicle

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, the levels of which are increased when someone is under stress. Cortisol can reduce the synthesis and increase the degradation of the elements involved in the skin and the hair follicles.  
Click Here for further reading

Normal ageing

Whether it is in our "genes", signs of hormonal changes, or purely a result of our bodies getting tired, unfortunalely hair thinning is common from the age of 50 - 60. Following a nutricious diet, avoiding unneccessary stress, addressing any hormonal concerns and supplementing can help support  continued hair growth.
Click Here for further reading

Diagnosis 

Addressing hair loss involves diagnosing and treating the cause.

If after pregnancy, this can be normal, but checking iron and vitamin D status to rule out nutritional deficiency.

Hormonal imbalances – such as Androgenetic alopecia, PCOS

Endocrine disorders - such as Hypo/hyper thyroid

Nutritional deficiency – malabsorption, digestive problems, skin disorders, insufficient intake

Immune disorders – such as hashimoto’s thyroiditis, alopecia areata, celiac disease, systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Acute stress disorder – after a major life event 

Skin disorders – such as fungal infections, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, lichen planus. allergic reaction

Other helpful suggestions

Other helpful suggestionsNutrients. Supplementing with specific hair growth products or specific nutrients such as zinc, biotin, iodine, silica and fish oil have been shown to support hair growth.
Click Here for further reading

Scalp massage has been shown to help increase the thickness of hair.

Hair loss can be the result of a number of causes. Diagnosing and treating the causes is important to re-establish and regulate the hair growth cycle, and remove any barriers to having a healthy head of hair.

www.superpharmacy.com.au  Australia’s best online discount chemist

References

Stress and the Hair Growth Cycle: Cortisol-Induced Hair Growth Disruption https://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961616P1001X

Anatomy, Hair https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513312/

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/androgenetic-alopecia#

Assessment of the usefulness of dihydrotestosterone in the diagnostics of patients with androgenetic alopecia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4171668/

Treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with topical products containing Serenoa repens extract.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26010505

The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16635664

The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30547302

Scalp Condition Impacts Hair Growth and Retention via Oxidative Stress. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30783333

https://www.healthline.com/symptom/hair-loss

Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740347/

A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882/

backBack to Blog Home