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What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is the medical term used for a condition in which there is a generalized excessive loss of hair on our head beyond the normal numbers. On a usual day, loosing 100 stands of hair is medically absolutely normal. That’s because each of our hair goes through a cycle. “The circle of life” of a hair consists of a growing phase called the Anagen phase which lasts for about 3-5 years in which the hair keeps growing. This is followed by a Catagen phase lasting for about 4-5 weeks in which the hair stops growing and then it goes into a Telogen phase lasting for about 3-4 months in which the hair follicle goes into rest. Finally, the hair strand falls off, known as the Exogen phase. This is when we notice the hair falling off. Once the hair strand falls off, the follicle starts producing another hair strand and that continues in the same manner. This is a life long process unless conditions do not favor the growth of hair and they do not grow.

Why do people lose hair then?

There are innumerable reasons for hair loss. Medically they can be categorized as being :

Scarring alopecia or Non-scarring alopecia.

In the scarring type of alopecia, there is a disease or trauma to the hair follicles of the scalp that leads to the death of the hair follicle, and the follicle is replaced by a scar. Subsequent growth of hair from these areas is practically impossible. Some examples of this type of alopecia include when the scalp hair is effected by bacterial infections or mechanical injuries or burns etc.

In the Non-scarring type of alopecia, generalized conditions in our body lead to severe hair fall, and most of the time once the condition is taken care of, hair starts growing back again. Some examples of the non-scarring type of alopecia include the genetic pattern baldness, which is the most common cause of hair loss today worldwide and is caused due to a combo of our genes and hormones. The other reasons may include multivitamin deficiency, pregnancy, mental and physical stress, some medications, chemotherapy, and many more. Reversal of hair loss with proper treatment is absolutely possible in this kind of hair loss.

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