Hair Loss - What Causes It?
Hair loss is normal for everyone due to normal daily routines such as combing, brushing, and shampooing. In fact, it is normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day. However, to lose an increased amount, especially early in life, is probably due to heredity or possibly disease, stress, medications, or even hair styles.
The most common cause of hair loss is genetics -- you inherit the tendency to lose hair from either or both of your parents. This is called male-pattern or female-pattern hair loss, or alopecia. (Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss.) About half of all people have this type of hair loss by about 50 years of age.
Other common causes of hair loss might include:
- Ringworm of the scalp, common in children.
- Mental stress or physical stress, such as surgery, illness, or high fever.
- Chemotherapy, used to treat cancer cells.
- Wearing your hair pulled back too tightly, as in tight braids or ponytails.
- Age. As you age, you grow less hair. It is also thins and break more easily.
- Your hair loss is sudden, rather than gradual.
- You notice hair shedding in large amounts after combing, or it falls out in clumps or large amounts.
- You are concerned that a medication may be causing your hair loss.
- You have a rash, or any change on your scalp with hair loss.
- You see signs of bacterial infection on your scalp, such as increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat. Seek treatment if you notice red streaks extending from the area or if you have a fever of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or higher with no other cause.
Hair Loss - Treatment and Medications
Common hair loss treatment includes Minoxidil, (Rogaine) which is available without a prescription and is rubbed on twice daily. Finasteride (Propecia) can be acquired only by prescription and is in pill form taken daily.
Hair loss that is caused by medications, stress, and lack of protein or iron, or hair style may be prevented. Avoiding certain medications, reducing stress, getting adequate protein and iron in your diet, and using hairstyles that do not damage your hair may reduce or prevent hair loss. Inherited hair loss cannot be prevented.
Hair Loss – Dealing Emotionally
“As a young boy, I always had a nice thick head of hair and I hoped that it would always stay that way. As I started getting older, into my twenties, I started noticing this growing, expanding round spot on the top of my head. Several of my family members were bald on top, so I figured I would eventually be bald as well. I felt sad; my beautiful full head of hair was slowly depleting.
I also noticed a change in my attitude toward others who were losing their hair. I had compassion on them and felt less defeated in my own hair loss. So many people were losing their hair due to serious medical treatments like chemotherapy. I finally had perspective on my situation.
I realized that a person’s worth is not determined by the hair on his/her heads or appearance. The Bible tells us that we were created in the image of God. Each person is different but unique.
God loves us regardless of our looks. “. . .Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
When God looks at your heart, what does He see?
The Bible says, “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?” God sees us with an eternal perspective. He is more concerned with our eternal destiny than on our physical appearances. When He sees your eternal destiny, what does He see?
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