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Hair today, gone tomorrow

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Medical Health

Author: Holly Hannigan, Posted: Friday, 24th January 2020, 09:00

Hair loss is something that can happen at any age, though we usually associate it with the aging process or post pregnancy for women. However, there are many other health conditions and situations where people experience hair loss, including Alopecia, side effects of medication, auto-immune diseases, stress and iron deficiency.

Alopecia is hair loss caused by inflammation that usually causes small round patches of baldness on the scalp and can sometimes affect the whole body. This means eyelashes, eyebrows and body hair can all be lost. There is no way of knowing how much hair regrowth will occur. Some usually happens over the course of a year, although severe loss of over half of the hair often never fully recovers.

Many medications can cause hair loss

Chemotherapy drugs are well known for the side effect of hair loss, however more common medications such as amphetamines, beta-blockers, antidepressants, birth control pills, blood thinners, HRT and steroids also have this effect.

Autoimmune diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Lupus, Graves Disease and Hashimoto’s Disease have all been found to cause hair loss.

As someone who suffers with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, I was lucky to not suffer too severely with this symptom. However, it has increased over the years through courses of steroids and I now get a brush full of hair each time, and handfuls when I wash it due to being a side effect of my current long-term medication to control my condition.

I have adapted to this by only washing my hair twice a week and using the miracle of dry shampoo in-between. I also changed my beautiful bright red or purple hair to a brown with golden highlights Ombrè to limit the amount of hair dying I do, which causes more damage each time.

Hair is often such a statement of someone’s personality and something they take pride in, particularly women. So, when it begins falling out in clumps, leaving bald patches, it can be very distressing and causes psychological problems.

There are support groups for alopecia, as the irony of stress being a factor that can cause hair loss is that as soon as it starts you become more stressed about it and so it becomes worse.

How to limit or cope with hair loss

To try and help hair loss, use a lightweight shampoo and conditioner, avoid tight hairstyles, eat a balanced diet and reduce stress as much as possible through mindfulness, relaxation and whatever works to keep you positive.

If the hair loss is extreme and unavoidable there are stylish hair scarves and bands to create new looks, and wigs are so much more comfortable and realistic these days.

Everyone loses up to 100 hairs per day, but if you lose significantly more or have noticeable bald patches, see your GP in case it’s an indicator of something more serious.

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