Hair loss is a common occurrence for both men and women around the world. Thinning hair on the scalp, as well as bald spots with a lack of hair, is often caused by genetics on the part of the patient. However, there are also temporary causes of hair loss and they can include radiation treatment, stress and the hairstyle worn by the patient. The hair of a patient will typically start to grow back after these causes of temporary hair loss have ended so hair transplant surgery in normally not necessary in these cases. For patients that are suffering from hair loss due to genetics, they often turn to hair restoration methods such as FUE hair transplant or FUT hair transplant to restore the hair on the scalp and provide a full head of hair that is natural in appearance.
Unfortunately, there are other causes of hair loss that result in a permanent loss of hair on the scalp. Some people turn to wigs to hide their hair loss and others decide to invest in a hair restoration procedure to try and restore their lost hair. Take a look below at some examples of hair loss causes that can result in permanent hair loss for a patient.
Permanent Hair Loss Causes
Genetics – It has been estimated that up to 90% of hair loss cases are related to genetics. Back in 2005, there was a study that identified an androgen receptor gene that appeared to correlate with male pattern baldness. The gene is inherited from the mother since it lies on the X chromosome and this is an indication that the possibility of genetic hair loss can occur if a person has a maternal grandfather or maternal uncles that suffer from hair loss. The ideal treatment for genetic hair loss is a hair transplant surgery.
Hormones – As discussed in the section above, a genetic variation in the androgen receptor gene can cause a patient to suffer from male pattern baldness. Instead of a deficiency being related to this gene that cause baldness to happen, it appears to be an “over expression” of the gene, along with high levels of the hormone androgen dihydrotestosterone, that can cause the issue of baldness to occur. This matches with some of the observed side effects of balding in patients that have abused anabolic steroids as well as those that have been treated using testosterone hormone replacement therapy.
Skin Damage – Hair follicles are located in the skin of a person and the root of the hair is located at the base of the hair follicle. The hair grows thanks to blood vessels that supply the root and this allows the root to add additional cells to the hair. Because of the role of the skin in the hair growth process, damage to the skin located on the scalp can result in the loss of hair.
For example, mild abrasions or mild burns can physically remove the hair from the skin without damaging the hair follicle. On the other hand, the damage to the scalp might be severe enough that the hair follicle will stop producing hair on the scalp. Instead, scar tissue will start to replace healthy skin and hair follicles to the point that the area of the skin with the scars can lose the ability to grow hair.
More severe burns, such as chemical burns from hair products that bleach or perm the hair, can cause temporary or permanent hair loss. The long-term use of hair extensions and tight braids can also result in damage to the scalp that leads to temporary or permanent hair loss. Patients should visit an experienced doctor that is experienced in hair restoration techniques to determine their options to restore hair in the area with the damaged skin.
Autoimmune Disorders – The immune system of the body can sometimes attack itself and common examples of autoimmune disorders include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. There is an autoimmune disease known as alopecia areata that causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles which can result in inflammation as well as hair loss.
While the hair follicles might recover in some cases (after the flare-up from the immune system subsides), there are other times when the hair loss can be permanent even after the issue with the autoimmune system that caused the hair loss is under control. Patients can turn to hair restoration techniques to the address the issue of hair loss on the scalp.
Next Steps for Patients with Permanent Hair Loss
Patients that are suffering from any of the above hair loss conditions can schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified doctor that is experienced in providing natural results to the hairline that can last a lifetime. The doctor will examine the patient to determine the cause of the hair loss as well as discuss the overall goals and final results desired by the patient. Once the reason for the hair loss had been identified by the doctor, the plan for restoring the hair on the head of the patient can be formed and executed.