It is considered normal if you are losing about 100 strands of hair from your head, a day. But losing more than that could mean your hair is getting thin, and it's high time to consult a dermatologist.
Typically, we consider balding as a normal condition in older men, but there may be several causes of hair loss that can happen to anyone, at any age, regardless of your gender.
What is Premature Baldness
To answer this question in a pretty straightforward manner, if you are losing a serious amount of hair in your teens and twenties, you are prematurely balding. You will be surprised to know that about half of the people consulting a doctor about hair loss are really young, mostly less than twenty-five years of age, and worried about premature balding.
Mostly in premature balding cases, it begins with the hair becoming thin. You will start noticing that finer hairs are left on your hairbrush after you comb your hair, and your scalp will also start being visible through your hair. If immediate care and precautions are taken this problem can be arrested and will be easiest to treat and reverse.
It is a natural process if you lose hair due to aging, especially after 40 years of age. In your adult-hood, you have approximately 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on your head and body, and about 10% of those will be in a dying stage. more than 100 of them fall out a day and may take up to six months to rejuvenate the follicle and produce a new strand. But you need not worry about that, because at any point of time, about 90% of the hair on a person's scalp keeps growing. The life cycle of each follicle can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. Over the course of time, the hair follicle becomes exhausted and shrinks making it gradually difficult to yield new hair.
About 30% of men, and a few women suffer from the male (or female) pattern of baldness, precisely premature hair loss. It's largely because of their heredity and we really cannot do much about it. In most cases, premature baldness is a pattern that is 'written into your genes'.
Causes and Symptoms of Premature Baldness
These days too many men find themselves getting bald well before the age of thirty, sometimes premature baldness starts as early as their twenties. This is commonly recognized as a premature male pattern of baldness that starts with a declining hairline and thinning scalp. You may be heading towards premature alopecia or premature baldness if you are experiencing the following symptoms -
- The hairline gradually starts thinning.
- Rapidly hair becomes thin on the frontal scalp.
- Bald patches on your scalp become visible through thinning hair.
- You experience a huge amount of hair loss, while you are combing your hair or washing it with shampoo.
- All over your scalp scaly patches start appearing.
Probable causes of premature balding are
1. Dihydrotestosterone or DHT
Out of several premature baldness causes, DHT plays the most vital role. After puberty, the body starts increasing the production of testosterone, which is broken down into the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) when it comes into contact with an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR). It is DHT that impedes the follicle's ability to produce new hair in the crown region and upper forehead.
DHT is a male sex hormone that helps men to develop male-body characteristics such as a deep voice, increased body hair. Though DHT may affect women as well, the number is much lesser when it is compared to men.
DHT plays a really important role in hair growth. However, if DHT production levels are high, it will affect hair follicles adversely and cause them to shrink. This is known as miniaturization. In due course, hair growth comes to an end as hair follicles die. Pattern baldness can be cured if early treatment is started. It may slow down the process of premature baldness.
2. Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, which means cells in your immune system mistakenly surround and attack your hair follicles (the part of your body that makes hair). Because of this one starts losing his/her hair in small patches. But in severe cases, it leads to total hair loss (alopecia totalis), or in extreme cases, one may lose entire body hair including eyelashes and pubic hair (alopecia universalis). Although, alopecia areata may affect irrespective of gender and age, though most patients are seen to be under 30.
Lupus is another long-term autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. In fact, hair loss may be the primary symptom of lupus. In this disease your immune system becomes hyperactive and it starts attacking the healthy cells of the body. If this happens you start noticing heavy hair fall due to skin inflammation and lesions on the scalp. This needs to be treated on time, otherwise, lupus can cause premature baldness.
4. Thyroid Disorders
If you are suffering from a prolonged thyroid disorder, you may experience a heavy amount of hair loss. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism both can be considered as major reasons behind premature baldness. This can be a reversible condition if the thyroid is treated on time. However, there are some anti-thyroid medicines that are also responsible for premature alopecia. Alternative treatment may be beneficial when certain types of medicines trigger premature hair fall.
Premature baldness may be lying within your family’s history. Hereditary-pattern baldness is not really a disease, but a natural condition caused by some combination of genetics, hormone levels, and the aging process. Almost every man and woman experiences some hair loss or hair thinning as they get older. However, a certain percentage of the population will experience a more obvious form of hereditary-related baldness. For men, Premature Baldness usually begins in the 20s and 30s, although in women the changes are most noticeable after their menopause.
Habits that Can Cause Premature Baldness
Aggressively combing wet hair
Wet hair becomes more fragile and prone to breakage. So, you should avoid combing your hair when it is wet because at that moment it is in its weakest state. Brushing, combing, or towel-drying your hair aggressively right after a head wash can injure hair follicles and result in hair loss. Rather you should try detangling your hair just by your fingers, be gentle while doing that as well.
Are you in love with taking long hot showers? If so, then you must stop doing that immediately. Excessively hot showers will damage your scalp and it will cause damage to the essential oils that help to protect the scalp. This will eventually result in dryness and inflammation. However, more studies are required, as there is no direct evidence that proves hot showers lead to hair loss or premature baldness.
Smoking and drinking
Some studies proved people who smoke and drink have a higher rate of hair loss than those who don't. Because cigarettes and alcoholic drinks contain certain toxins that can damage the hair follicles and cause hormonal problems and that causes an inability to maintain thick and voluminous hair. Besides, premature graying may also be a result of excessive smoking and drinking.
Over styling your hair
Especially if you are using hot styling tools every day - like hairdryers, curlers, and straighteners which can make your hair dry and frizzy, prone to breakage, and therefore more likely to fall. If you need to straighten your hair regularly then try to minimize the usage. Don’t do it every day, rather just do it twice a week or even less. Too much heat on your hair takes the moisture and the natural oil out of your hair leaving your hair dull and frizzy.
Treatment for Premature Baldness
- Medical Treatment
First of all, you need to get treated by a reputed doctor to understand the root cause of the problem of premature baldness. The doctor will examine your scalp and analyse the cause of baldness. Your thyroid and other hormone levels will also be checked by the doctor to come to a conclusion. The treatment is then based on the reason for your hair fall.
The doctors will suggest you supplements, such as iron, zinc, and biotin to control hair fall. In the case of alopecia areata, doctors may give you steroid injections, if required. If you are wondering how to regrow thinning hair, then prescribed hair serum may help you with that. There are many hair serum benefits like, it will repair hair damage, protect hair from pollution, and smoothens the hair.
- Hair Transplant Surgery -
Hair transplant will be the last option if you are facing premature baldness and not getting desired results from medical treatment. In this surgery, new hairs are transplanted on your scalp. The success rate is higher in hair transplant surgery than in any hair restoration product. But this is an extensively time-consuming and expensive procedure. Surgeons use micro punches to extract single follicles and move them to the bald area, leaving behind almost no signs of extraction. You must choose an expert hair transplant surgeon who can give you the desired result after surgery.
Home remedies can only slow down hair loss and do not really stop premature baldness. Various home remedies like henna, hibiscus, gooseberries, eggs, onion juice are great for controlling hair fall. You may make a paste of these ingredients and apply it on a periodical basis to your scalp. Rosemary oil, coconut oil, viviscal, and ginseng can also be used as these are known for maintaining good hair health.
Precautions & Tips For Premature Baldness
- If you notice any symptoms, you should consult a doctor without ignoring the signs of premature baldness. Medication started in the early stage of baldness will help you cure the condition more efficiently.
- You should keep hairstyling and heating tools far away to prevent hair damage.
- Use natural hair care products and avoid chemical-based products. Choose hair care products based on your scalp condition and the product that suits your hair type.
- Avoid smoking and drinking as much as you can, to keep your overall health in check.
- Underlying diseases like thyroid, or many autoimmune diseases may cause hair loss.
- If you are on medication and noticed a sudden hair fall, immediately consult with your doctor. It might be because of the side effects of the medicine. You should ask your doctor to suggest alternative medicine.
Female pattern baldness and male pattern baldness affect many young people. Scientific researches have produced several options for contending and slowing down baldness. Many artificial products are available on the market that can help you alter your image through scalp coloring, hair thickening, and growth stimulation.
In simple words, male pattern baldness is a process that cannot be cured. But by identifying early signs of the declining hairline or thinning scalp it is possible to significantly slow the process. Orally taken medication or hair transplants are costly and can prove sometimes ineffective. The most important consideration is to maintain your self-esteem and confidence by minimizing the poor image premature balding portrays.
The most recommended treatments are available on our site. Dealing with premature baldness may be difficult and it will require lots of mental strength. However, if it is diagnosed at an early stage, hair loss can be reversed. You are suggested to book an appointment for premature baldness treatment and check the best possible ways to prevent premature baldness by consulting with our dermatologist. Using the right products designed by our expert you will know how to regrow thinning hair. Getting the correct treatment at the right time is the key to prevent premature baldness. So, book an appointment today to get yourself tested and get the right kind of suggestion from our dermatologist, nutritionist and ayurvedic professionals to maintain good hair health in the long run.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.