Losing one's hair can have a major emotional impact and cause much anguish in the long run. Studies indicate that perceptions of bald or balding men compared to men that have hair is that they are less physically attractive, less assertive, less successful and older. Although hair loss in women is not as common as it is in men, it can also result in the same perceptions of less attractive, less successful and older.
Abnormal hair loss is called alopecia. There are many different types of alopecia, including androgenic alopecia, alopecia areata and postpartum alopecia. Androgenic alopecia is the result of genetics, age and hormonal changes. In men it is known as male pattern baldness which usually progressed to the familiar horseshoe-shaped hair. In women it shows up as a generalized thinning over the entire crown area.
Alopecia areata is characterized by the sudden falling out of hair in round patches or baldness in spots. It can occur on the scalp or anywhere else on the body. It is an autoimmune disease that causes the affected hair follicles to be mistakenly attacked by a person's own immune system. Alopecia areata usually starts with one or more small, round, smooth bald patches on the scalp and can progress to total hair loss.
Postpartum alopecia is the temporary hair loss that women can experience at the conclusion of a pregnancy. Usually the growth cycle of the hair will return within one year after the baby is born.
There are many different options for people suffering from hair loss today. One is medication. A popular topical medication is Minoxidil, which is sold over the counter. Minoxidil is applied to the scalp twice a day and can be effective for some. There is also prescription medication for men that may be more effective than Minoxidil. But many prescription medications have side effects such as weight gain and loss of sexual function.
The second option is hair transplant surgery. Transplants, also known as hair plugs, are the most common permanent hair replacement technique. In the procedure, a small section of hair is removed from an area where there is a lot of hair. The entire hair follicle, papilla and bulb is removed and transplanted to the new location. Typical costs for this type of surgery ranges from $8,000-$20,000 and up.
The third option is to use wigs, toupees, hair weaving, hair extensions or hair integrations. Wigs and toupees can be custom designed using either human hair or synthetic hair. They have come a long way and can create a very natural looking style. Hair weaving involves sewing pieces of human or synthetic hair into the natural hair to create a fuller, long hair style look. Hair extensions are similar to hair weaving since you are attaching human or synthetic hair to the natural hair. Except hair extensions are attached by one of several different methods using adhesives, locs, links or clips. Hair integrations are custom designed nets with hair attached or even man-made skin with hair attached that are attached, typically using medical grade adhesives directly to the scalp to create a fuller hair style.
There can be complications to hair weaving, hair extensions and hair integrations. If they are not attached properly, by a trained hair stylist, the hair loss situation of the client can become worse, resulting in permanent hair loss with the extension hair pulling the natural hair out. Always consult with a professionally trained hair stylist that has experience with hair loss situations.
In short, hair loss may have a major emotional impact on many people. But as technology advances there are many more options for men and women suffering from hair loss.