Causes of Baldness:
All of us loose hair. A loss of upto 100 hair a day is normal, as this hair loss is replaced. Excessive hair loss which is not replaced leads to baldness. Baldness or alopecia, as your doctor would call it, has several causes:
- The commonest form of baldness that affects men. It is called male pattern baldness. The hair loss in this condition depends on two factors, namely the presence of androgens (male sex hormones), and a genetic tendency to develop baldness. One out of every ten men is likely to develop some degree of alopecia by the age of 25; by the age of 35, 4 out 10 men show some baldness; and by the age of 50, nearly half of all men are bald.
- Many systemic diseases can cause diffuse hair loss. Any prolonged debilitation (thyroid, viral fevers, malaria, operations, accidents and even child-birth) can be followed by diffuse loss of hair. Mental stress must be included as a cause of this type of baldness. Nutritional deficiencies, crash dieting and anorexia nervosa are all also associated with hair loss. Anaemia is an important cause of hair loss in women.
- The third type of baldness is called alopecia areata. Patches of baldness first appear on the scalp, but can spread to the eyebrows and eyelashes as well. In men the beard area may be involved. Fortunately most of the time, the problem resolves on its own. This pattern of alopecia is more commonly seen in men and is sometimes associated with leucoderma and diabetes.
- Some diseases of the scalp like fungal and bacterial infections on scalp can also cause baldness.
- Finally physical trauma also results in hair loss; this type of hair loss affects women more often than it affects men. Tight hair styles, too much exposure to hot air can also be a cause to some extent.
- The easiest and the cheapest solution is to grow the remaining hair, and to restyle it to cover the bald areas. Conditioning the hair would give body to the hair, but these methods can be resorted to only in mild cases of baldness.
- Another but rather expensive solution is hair transplantation. Hair when transplanted from a hair producing area to a bald area of the scalp continues to function and grow normally for a lifetime. If done with skill this method seems to work fairly well.
Superflous hair or hirsutism maybe due to heredity or ethnic causes. A mild hirsutism might be seen in women after menopause.
- Bleaching: Bleaching is one way of making existing hair less conspicuous-it is good for down, rather than for thick coarse hair. It is the most commonly used method for camouflaging facial hair. But blaching might cause irritations in some.
- Shaving: It is a fallacy that hair grows faster and becomes coarser after shaving. Yes, after shaving hair does reappear with great rapidity (within 24 hrs), because shaving cuts the hair just at the surface.
- Pumice Stone: Abrasives in the form of pumice stones and special emery covered mitts and pads, are frequently used to remove unwanted hair. Though this method is cheap, its effects are temporary. This method is most effectively used on moderately coarse hair of the legs and arms and is not practical for use on the face.
- Chemical Depilation: Depilatory agents such as creams, lotions and sprays used in the method of depilation may cause irritation and dryness of the skin and thus should never be used on broken skin. However conduct a patch test before using any of the depilatory agents.
- Waxing: This is one of the oldest methods of removing hair. However, the wax should be warmed to the right temperature (neither too hot nor too cold) and applied by an expert. If doing at home use cold waxing method instead. Waxing reduces hair growth if done frequently and is the best method of hair removal
- Plucking and Threading: These methods are usually reserved for eye-brows, hair on the upper lip and chin and for removing odd hair around the nipples. These methods do not increase hair growth.
- Electrolysis: Electric epilation is considered a safe and a cosmetically acceptable method of removing unwanted hair permanently. It is a useful way of getting rid of facial hair, but for hairy arms and legs it might prove too expensive and time-consuming.