Most people are usually in denial when they claim they are not losing hair. Guess what? Everyone loses hair! Unfortunately, some kinds of hair loss can be traumatic and sometimes tells on one’s confidence.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are not allowed (by your hair) to rock certain hairstyles? Or you are unable to have your hair up in a ponytail? Or you just can’t easily run to the shopping mall without a wig or face-cap on? Or be out on a date-night with ‘Mr. Right’ wearing your natural hair so he can run his fingers through at the end of the night ?.
As a guy, have you ever been ashamed of your baldness?
The medical term for partial or complete loss of hair is ‘alopecia’. Alopecia is common in both men and women, old and young alike. Although it is more visible in older people, younger people may experience hair loss or thinning of the hair.
What Types of Doctors Treat Hair Loss?
Generally, doctors are perceived to be all-knowing of the human body system. However, there are some specialists who treat hair loss. To treat hair loss, a hair transplant surgeon, hair loss consultant, or a dermatologist should be consulted – these are specialists in the treatment of hair. Unlike general doctors, they provide more advanced diagnosis and treatment of hair thinning and loss. Sometimes, a scalp biopsy may be necessary to pinpoint the exact cause of hair loss.
Hair Loss Myths
We Africans have a lot of perceived misconceptions when it comes to hair loss. Some of these misconceptions are:
- Tight braids make the hair grow: This is false! Tight braids, in fact, do the opposite of what you think. Due to the tightness of the braids, it weakens the hair follicles and causes your hair to pull out. Little wonder why the hair pulls out after your beautiful ‘Ghana weaving’.
- Dirty hair makes hair grow: How and who came up with this belief? Hair growth flourishes from a clean and healthy scalp. Please don’t go to work with smelly hair. Dirty hair won’t grow. Instead, it will make people run away from you.
- Hair straighteners: Hair straighteners are hot styling tools ranging from hairdryer, curling wand and straighteners. These tools make the hair dry if used too often and dry hair causes hair breakage and thinning.
- Use of ointments: Although most people would testify to the fact that oils gotten from animals, like snakes, work wonders, oil use for hair growth has not been scientifically proven.
Causes of Hair Loss
There are different types of hair loss and finding a specific cause can be quite challenging. Most sudden hair loss may or may not be associated with poor dieting, systemic or internal disease. Hair may simply thin as a result of genetics or the overall ageing process.
- Hereditary: This is the most common cause of hair loss in the world today. This condition is referred to as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. It is more noticeable as you age and occurs in predictable patterns – thinning hair in women and a receding hairline in men.
- Medications and the use of supplements: Some medications have side effects affecting the hair. Drugs used to treat cancer, depression, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure can also result in hair loss.
- A very stressful or life-changing event: When some people go through emotional shock or meltdown, they tend to lose their hair suddenly. However, this is usually temporary as the hair, in most cases, grows back.
- Hairstyles and Treatment: Constant hairstyling or hairstyles that pull the hair tightly can cause hair loss, especially hairstyles such as tight braids and ponytails. This type of hair loss is normally called ‘Traction Alopecia’.
- Hormonal changes and medical disorders: Some hormonal changes like pregnancy, menopause, thyroid problems, and childbirth can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. Medical conditions such as lupus (where the immune system attacks hair follicles) and trichotillomania (a psychological disorder that involves individuals pulling out hair from the scalp, eyebrows and other areas of the body).
- Poor nutrition: Poor/unhealthy nutrition can cause hair loss. When you fail to feed your body with the required amounts of vitamins and other minerals, you can lose hair. Lack of vitamin D also makes new hair growth stunted. Vitamin D is responsible for stimulating new and old hair follicles.
Seeking Professional Help
While hair loss can be embarrassing, there are various modern treatment options available. This is why it is important to consult with professionals who can advise on best practices relating to your specific condition.
If any of the issues in this article resonates with you, rest assured there are solutions to your hair loss issues so you don’t need to fret or be discouraged.