What's the science behind balding?
On average we lose 100 hairs per day. One person loses 40 hairs a day and another loses up to 150 hairs. These numbers are normal and in most cases the hairs simply grow back. However, when you notice an increasing loss of hair, or you see balding spots, you might be dealing with a certain type of hair loss.
Hereditary hair loss
Alopecia is the Latin name for hair loss. Alopecia comes in many different forms. There is also a distinction between hair loss in men, women and children. The most common cause of hair loss in both men and women is hereditary hair loss, also known as Androgenetic Alopecia. Hair loss can also be caused by medication, burns and scars or by a hair disease. Common hair diseases are Alopecia Areata and Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia. With a hair disease, the hair is attacked by the body and does not grow back. Below we list the most common ones.
Hereditary hair loss – alopecia androgenetica
A normal hair growth cycle lasts two to five years and follows three phases: first hair growth is active, then a period of rest follows, after which the hair finally falls out. Excessive natural hair loss occurs when the growth phase is disrupted. The substance dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is often the disruptor and a major cause of hereditary hair loss. The hormones affect the hair, as determined by your genes. The hairs on both sides and the back of the head will not fall out. This is also called the crown. These hairs are not sensitive to the hormone DHT.
Hairs above the crown can be sensitive to DHT. This hereditary kind of hair loss affects about 80% of men who suffer from hair loss. A typical characteristic of hereditary hair loss is that hair becomes thinner and thinner (hair miniaturisation) until only a fuzzy hair remains: the last stage before the hair finally falls out and does not grow back.
The course of hereditary hair loss has different patterns.
- Receding hairline
- Receding inlets and hair loss in the crown area
- Hair loss over the entire top of the head
Miniaturisation of hair
Male hormones, especially dihydrotestosterone (DHT), bind to receptors on hair follicles. This causes large hair follicles to gradually become smaller and the anagen phase (growth phase) to shorten. The follicles continue to exist but develop ever shorter and thinner hairs. This is how Androgenetic Alopecia gradually develops. The miniaturisation of the hair is typical: each hair cycle ends with thinner hair.
The impact of hair loss
Being or becoming bald can seriously affect your life. To give you an idea, in this video the impact of hair loss on men and women is described by drs. Kristel van Herwijnen.
Patterns of baldness
Although male hormones are the main cause of Androgenetic Alopecia, it occurs in both men and women. In men, it can be recognised by hair loss at the crown or at the hairline. This process can start as early as puberty. In women, androgenetic alopecia usually starts as thinner hair, often starting from the hairline.
Androgenetic Alopecia is not strictly speaking a disease or disorder, but an ageing phenomenon that is largely genetically determined. Variations in the dna that cause hairloss have been discovered in the androgen receptor.
Becoming bald can be quite unpleasant
People who experience baldness usually experience it as very unpleasant. For instance, (young) women with whom baldness is clearly visible. It can also be very stressful for men whose baldness starts at an early age. Baldness often has a major impact on quality of life.
Hereditary baldness is easy to diagnose for a professional, as it follows a consistent pattern. If this is not the case, hair loss can have various other causes, such as hair disease, hormones, cosmetics and various other external factors. For this reason, comprehensive analysis and making the right diagnosis is always the first step in treatment.
Patchy hair loss - Alopecia Areata
Areatic baldness is actually more of a skin disease. Mostly, bald patches manifest themselves on the scalp. But sometimes other body parts are affected as well. In a small percentage of people, all the hair on the head falls out; this is known as Total Alopecia Areata. Pigmentation is often lost, with the colour completely disappearing from the hair around the balding area.
Alopecia Areata is an immune system disorder. It is not a infectious hair disease. The body wrongly recognises the hair as foreign and rejects it. In itself it is harmless, but the loss of hair and the uncertainty of its course make a patient with Alopecia Areata very insecure. This hair disease often appears unexpectedly. Stress can often accelerate hair loss.
Diffuse hair loss - Alopecia Areata
When hair becomes thinner over the entire head, it is called Diffuse Alopecia. In the beginning it is particularly noticeable when you run your hand through the hair and take in an above-average number of hairs. This can be acute, chronic or hereditary. It may be due to a very stressful period, for example. A few months later you may notice that your hair suddenly becomes thinner. As quickly as it appears, it can also disappear again. Other causes that can cause acute diffuse hair loss are a very strict diet, stopping contraception or anaesthesia from surgery.
When the hair loss lasts longer than 6 months, it can be called chronic. In most cases a cause can be found in underlying symptoms. Women in particular can suffer from hereditary diffuse hair loss. Unlike men, all hairs on the head become thinner and thinner. As age increases, the hairs become thinner. It often happens that the same pattern runs in families.
There is a solution
For many types of baldness, a hair transplant is a permanent solution. Of all the options for hair transplantation, a treatment with the innovative Hair Stem Cell Transplantation method gives the best, most natural result.
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A good preliminary diagnosis is important for the choice of treatment. During a no-obligation consultation with one of our medical doctors, we go into detail about your personal situation and wishes. On the basis of this intake, we will provide you with customised advice, an individual treatment and prevention plan and a no-obligation price quotation.
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