Hair loss is a normal part of life for everyone - as long as it stays normal, gradual hair loss. What about those times when we experience abnormal hair loss or more permanent hair loss?
Normal Hair Loss
Normally, about 90% of your hair is growing and 10% is "resting." The resting hair sits for 2-3 months and then falls out and starts bringing in new growth. This is why you can usually pull a few strands out of your head in the shower every day - it's the hair that's leaving to make room for new growth.
Abnormal Hair Loss
There is some abnormal hair loss that is, technically, normal. For example, many women experience hair loss about three months after giving birth. This is normal because the heightened hormone levels produced by pregnancy cause some hair to continue growing even if it wouldn't otherwise. When those hormone levels return to normal, that hair falls out and returns to its normal cycle. Some people also experience major hair loss after surgery or illness. While this may not be completely normal hair loss, the fact that the body loses hair after experiencing stress is normal.
On the other hand, strange hair loss can also be a sign of something more serious. Hormone problems like overactive thyroid glands, or imbalanced androgen or estrogen levels can cause excessive hair loss. Some children lose hair because of fungal infections of the scalp. Hair loss can even occur as an early sign of diabetes or because of a reaction to a certain medicine.
Some hair loss can actually occur because of bad hair care. Wearing hair in really tight hair styles (tight braids, cornrows) or using lots of chemicals (perms, hot oil treatments) can cause hair loss that can actually become permanent if it persists. Hair follicles can actually scar and stop growing hair there at all. (Just another reason to be kind to your hair.)
Male- and Female-Pattern Baldness
What about normal, more permanent hair loss? Unlike some of the abnormal causes of baldness, permanent-pattern baldness is luck of the draw - if you get the genes for it, you're pretty much sunk (with a few possible exceptions that we'll get to in a minute). This kind of baldness usually starts in the front (receding hair line) or at the top of the head, either in a bald spot or as all-over thinning. Although female-pattern baldness is less common, it does occur, usually as a general thinning rather than as a receding hairline.
There are a couple of possible methods of treating baldness. For men, there is a presciption option called finasteride, or more commonly, Propecia. Most people try the non-prescription drug minoxidil, which is usually sold as rogaine 3 month supply. This is effective for about 80% of those with male-pattern baldness, but it takes at least 2-4 months to know for sure whether or not it will work. Typically, Rogaine is most effective for bald spots at the top/back of the head and is less effective for receding hair lines. Rogaine for women can also be effective for general thinning, but it may take even longer than Men's Rogaine to be able to tell whether it is going to help.
For the more normal kinds of hair loss, your only worry is that you'll have to keep it all off the bathroom floor. If you have abnormal hair loss, it's probably a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure it isn't hair loss fraught with portent. If it's permanent-pattern baldness, good luck. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones who doesn't care or for whom Rogaine works.About the Author:
Megan works in the marketing division of Overstock Drugstore. She enjoys researching and writing articles because it helps her to understand the people and products her company works with a little better. Megan ultimately would like to be a librarian.