How You Can Help Prevent Hair Loss and Alopecia

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Hair goes through a growing cycle where some old hair is shed as new hair grows, so everyone is losing a bit of hair all the time.  That is normal.  But when more hair is falling out than is growing in and sections of the scalp become bald, that’s a different story entirely.

Hair loss can be caused by many different things, but all the various types of hair loss can be put into two broad categories: preventable and not preventable.

Hair Loss that Can’t Be Prevented

Most hair loss happens for reasons that are beyond our control.  Certain medical conditions such as lupus involve hair loss, and some forms of alopecia are genetic.  Chemotherapy and some medications can cause hair loss.  While some unpreventable types of hair loss can be treated, mostly we have to focus on minimizing and disguising the hair loss.  Our genes are beyond our control, although a healthy, low stress lifestyle can help many things.

Preventing Hair Loss

Some types of hair loss can indeed be prevented, and it’s important to be aware of what puts clients at risk of preventable hair loss.  The most common types of preventable hair loss at this time are due to chemical injury of the scalp and traction alopecia.

With the popularity of hair extensions and weaved hair styles a large number of females have developed hair loss as a consequence of bonding glue and other chemicals coming in contact with their scalp. The exact mechanism by which the hair follicles become injured has not been specified but thousands upon thousands of ladies have unfortunately had this experience.  Unfortunately, for some reason once this process of hair loss is turned on, eliminating the chemicals does not turn it off.  So, an individual can continue to shed hair and develop extensive areas of balding long after the chemical exposure has ended.

With traction, the hair is pulled tightly into styles, whether it is an elaborate braiding style or a simply ponytail.  The tension not only pulls hair out, it causes scarring.  When the hair follicles become seriously scarred, they simply cannot grow more hair.  Often traction alopecia begins in childhood.  It’s important to listen when children say a hair style hurts.  While it might loosen and feel better the next day, the damage is done.  Braided styles should be alternated with free, natural hair days to preserve the hair’s health.  Interestingly, individuals who have their hair yanked out during a fight for example can also end up with areas of baldness where the hair never grows back as well, even though it was a onetime event.

Certain bacterial and fungal infections can also cause hair loss.  Ringworm, a fungal infection, is a common form of preventable, treatable infectious hair loss.  It is extremely contagious, which is a good reason to be able to recognize it.  Bacterial infections develop as a consequence of scratching an itchy scalp or in association with excessive heat and perspiration. Early recognition and treatment of the conditions can prevent permanent hair loss

Advise your clients to get any areas of scalp inflammation, pimples, bumps, tenderness or bald patches evaluated as early as possible to prevent developing irreversible baldness.

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