And here it is, the final installment of Donna Kim-Brand’s series on “Common Causes for Hair Loss”:

Auto-Immune Disease & Lupus

There has recently been an increase in alopecia areata, hair loss caused by variety of auto-immune conditions. When your immune system is triggered by a condition such as lupus, it reacts with over-zealous protection by treating your hair as a foreign body and attacking the hair follicles. Hair loss shows up in round patches all over your head. In this case, damage may be permanent due to scarring.

Treatment options include steroid injections or topical treatments such as Rogaine. But since hair regrowth is not assured, you may resort to changing your hair style or revert to short hair to camouflage the hair loss.

Chemotherapy

One of the most recognized causes of hair loss is treatment of cancer with chemotherapy. The strong chemical cocktails used to knock out the disease wreak havoc on your hair cells, literally destroying them as they attempt to grow.

A fascinating result of the hair regrowth that tends to follow once chemotherapy treatment is over is that the hair grows back in a different texture or color than before. For many, this is an outward representation that as a cancer survivor, they are a ‘changed person’.

Ironically, since hair loss is an expected result of chemotherapy, people tend to be better prepared and less devastated when it happens during treatment. Perhaps, the underlying cause puts hair loss into perspective.

Antidepressants, Blood Thinners & Medications

The list of medications which could trigger hair loss is quite extensive- blood pressure drugs known as Beta-blockers, commonly used blood thinners, anti-depressant drugs, lithium used to treat bipolar disease, methotrexate for rheumatic and skin conditions, and even anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen are all suspects.

In this case, you and your doctor may have to experiment with lowering the dosage or changing up the offending medications while still treating the underlying problem. Please do not attempt to handle these causes of hair loss on your own.

Trichtillomania

Trichotillomania is a condition causing people, most often young females, to pull their hair so severely it comes out in gobs. It is considered an ‘impulse control disorder’ that is often treated with a combination of behavior modification therapy and antidepressants.  So, again, you should seek appropriate medical help if this extreme behavior is evident.

Aging

Like it or not, thinning hair is a not-uncommon side effect of aging experienced as women enter their 50’s and 60’s. The most likely cause relates to hormones as the body adjusts to post-menopausal norms.

So after ruling out any other causes based on overall health or specific hair issues, you are best advised to look for ways to live with the new situation. Beef up your hat and scarf collection, or try a new hairstyle that masks hair loss or wigs to cover it up altogether. Along with being more gentle with hair and scalp treatments to prevent breakage, keep up a healthy diet that makes your hair shine naturally.

Or, as more women seem to be doing these days for whatever reason, take the step of shaving your head and step out in the world with your new, sexy bald head. Some would say that ‘bald is the new bold’.

Overstyling

Considering all the previously mentioned causes of hair loss, overstyling can seem a bit trite. However, since we tend to style our hair daily, it needs to be introduced as one of the easier conditions to rectify….as long as we are open to creating new habits.

Tightly pulling braids or hair-weaves along with chemical dyes, relaxers or hot treatments and too much heat for too long near the scalp during styling are the main offenders. So, just stop doing those before you cause permanent damage to the hair roots! Find new, less rigorous ways to style your hair, and look for more gentle or natural treatments. Use hair conditioners to reduce pulling during comb-outs after a wash, and try air drying your hair more often.

Conclusion

We have explored a variety of causes of hair loss and the subsequent range of treatment options. For some, hair loss is the symptom of an underlying illness or nutritional imbalance that when treated, allows hair to regrow in time along with your return to good health. Some of these situations are better handled along with appropriate medical experts.

Other causes are directly related to how you treat your hair or body, and you can quickly fend off more damage by making simple changes in your behavior.

Yet other causes of hair loss are built into your genetic makeup and you will simply have to live with the condition.

In any case, we at Hair Chatter invite you to remember that you have options, you are not alone, and that help is available.  And, by the way, you are beautiful just as you are!

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