Hair loss: causes, treatment and home remedies to prevent it
Hair is especially important for one's self-esteem but unfortunately your body can react with hair loss to various stressors from the external and internal environment. What are they and how to deal with hair loss using home remedies?
Author: Rositsa Tashkova, Master of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
By their 40th year, half of men lose some of their hair due to hereditary factors, and in women this happens by their 70th year. This process is called alopecia or... balding.
But this is just one of the many reasons why your hair may start falling out more intensely than usual. What does it mean more intensely than usual? Under normal conditions, about 100 hairs fall from your head a day. Significantly more than that is an occasion to look for the cause, and if the fall of the hair started suddenly or even whole "handfuls" of hair fall, then it is time to consult a doctor.
What are the causes of hair loss
Hair is especially important for one's self-esteem but unfortunately your body can react with hair loss to various stressors from the external and internal environment.
Among the causes of hair loss are:
- under the influence of some medications - in cancer, antidepressants, against high blood pressure, for arthritis;
- as a result of chemotherapy and radiotherapy;
- in case of infection of the scalp (for example, fungal infection or mycosis of the scalp, also called Tinea capitis);
- in alopecia areata - it is considered an autoimmune disease;
- in trichotillomania - conscious or unconscious pulling of hair, which can lead to bald spots on the scalp, chopped hair of different lengths;
- as a result of physical or emotional stress;
- due to deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals;
- hormonal problems associated with the thyroid gland;
- after childbirth and in menopause;
- in serious diseases such as: renal failure, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver disease, diabetes;
- in aggressive hair procedures, braids, wearing hair in a tight tail, etc.
Hair loss may be due to thyroid problems
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, that is, decreased or increased thyroid function, can lead to hair loss. [ref.1] These conditions also lead to other unusual problems, including depressive conditions, constant fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, etc.
Thyroid function can be checked by visiting a doctor and laboratory tests of the levels of TSH, fT3, fT4 hormones, as well as TAT and MAT antibodies to confirm or reject a possible autoimmune process. Treating the problem usually solves the one with hair loss.
Read more in the article Should you follow a gluten-free diet if you have Hashimoto thyroiditis.
Hair loss due to deficiency of vitamins and minerals
When hair loss is due to a deficiency of minerals, most often it is a deficiency of zinc and iron [ref.2], but insufficient intake of some of the following vitamins, minerals and nutrients can also be the cause of hair loss:
- vitamin D
- vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- vitamin B7 (biotin)
- vitamin C
- vitamin A
Getting a sufficient amount of these vitamins and minerals, if you suffer from deficiency, will also stop hair loss.
Read more in the article 6 health benefits of beer yeast - an affordable remedy for better tone.
Taking certain medicines may cause hair loss
Hair loss can be a side effect of taking certain medications, among which:
- thyroid medicines,
- some oral contraceptives,
- beta-blockers (in cardiovascular disease),
- anticonvulsants (in epilepsy, against convulsions),
- anticoagulants (against blood clotting),
- medicines to lower cholesterol,
- Accutane for the treatment of acne.
If you are taking a medicine that belongs to any of these categories, hair loss may be due to it.
Hair loss may be a result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy
During chemotherapy or radiation therapy, a process called anagen effluvium can occur, that is, a rapid fall of large amounts of hair during the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. [ref.3]
In this case, cooling the scalp during the procedure may help. Hair often recovers for 3 to 6 months after stopping chemo- or radiation therapy. Sometimes it grows different from before - curly or straight or with a different colour.
Read more in the article Medicinal plants that relieve the excruciating side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Pregnancy and childbirth may result in hair loss
Often following childbirth, women observe increased hair loss, which is due to a decrease in estrogen levels. This type of hair loss is a temporary condition and usually passes within a year or faster.
Since during the pregnancy itself the hair falls out less than usual, then after childbirth all the hairs that should have fallen in the previous 9 months leave you now, which gives the impression of heavy hair loss.
Read more in the article Pregnancy by weeks and months - development of the baby, changes in the mother's body, childbirth.
Home remedies for hair loss treatment
When hair loss is not due to another disease and there are no medications that affect it, you can help your hair to return to normal by home and cosmetic means:
- use shampoo and conditioner for volume;
- use products intended for thin and weak hair;
- avoid aggressive conditioners or conditioning shampoos, as they can be too heavy for thin hair and create the opposite of the desired effect;
- apply balm only on the ends of the hair to avoid the weighing and sagging of the hair;
- wash your hair often, but with a light shampoo;
- make yourself a mask with olive oil or coconut oil;
- rub into the scalp a few drops of rosemary, lavender, mint and/or lemongrass essential oil mixed with 2 spoons of carrier oil (for example, from jojoba or grape seeds), 10 minutes before washing the hair; [ref.4]
- massage the scalp for 4-5 minutes each day;
- avoid the procedures that heat the hair - straightening, drying with a hair dryer on a high temperature, perm, etc.;
- avoid tight pony tails and braids;
- eat a helathy and rich diet, at least 3 days a week consume basil, parsley and green salad;
- avoid stress - both physical and emotional;
- take multivitamins if you have any deficiency;
- take ginseng or try hair products that contain it.
Hair loss can be due to many causes and it is important not to be overlooked, as it may be a sign that the body gives you. There are many ways to help yourself - by visiting a doctor and using home remedies, when no medical reason is found, by leading a healthy and relaxed lifestyle.
- Zinc deficiency associated with hypothyroidism: an overlooked cause of severe alopecia, 2013, International Journal of Trichology
- Clinicoepidemiological Observational Study of Acquired Alopecias in Females Correlating with Anemia and Thyroid Function, 2016, Dermatology Research and Practice
- Chemotherapy-induced alopecia: advice and support for hair loss, 2013, British Journal of Nursing
- The Use of Natural Ingredients in the Treatment of Alopecias with an Emphasis on Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia: A Systematic Review, 2020, Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology
👩 🔬 Rositsa Tashkova-Kacharova has a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology and a Master's degree in Microbiology and Microbiological Control. She completed her Master's thesis at the University of Nantes, France. At that time she painted a Christmas tree of bacteria and inspired the announcement of the first competition for drawing with microorganisms Agar Art. For 3 years she was the editor of the journal Bulgarian Science and continues to write about science and medicine.