Italian dermatology specialist Pucci Romano has just released the book “À Flor da Pele”, where she reveals how to interpret the “language” of what is the largest organ of the human body and from where we extract the point dedicated to hair loss in women
The number of women suffering from hair loss is constantly increasing. Daily stress and tensions, environmental pollution and the wrong cosmetic treatments are some of the causes. In women, hair loss can have important psychological consequences, not only because the hair influences the aesthetic pleasantness of the face, but also because losing it means to compromise one’s own femininity. The Torah , the holy book of the Jewish religion, says that “a woman’s hair and voice are her seduction”
There are certainly predisposing and hereditary factors, but also specific periods of life, such as menopause. The lack of estrogens caused by menopause conditions the vigor of the hair follicles because, for a certain period, before the hormonal balance is reached, the production of androgen hormones prevails. In general, hair loss in women is transient and with the correct diagnosis and adequate therapy, hair regrowth is ensured. Excluding cases of exclusive medical competence, it is possible to improve the scalp’s habitat: cleaning, sebum control and dandruff, must be the first things to do to give a new breath to the piliferous bulbs.
Hair should be treated with all the respect we give to any other part of the body. They suffer when we take little care of them, when we stress them with excessive treatments such as permanents, paintings or sunbathing, when we do not eat properly or when we are anxious.
Technically, abnormal hair loss, caused by stressful events, both physical and psychic, is called the term telogen effluvium , that is, a temporary increase in the number of hairs falling out at the end of the growth phase. Such a process is the consequence of an accelerated transition from the anagen phase to the catagen phase and, finally, to the telogen phase. Hair loss involves the scalp in its entirety, including the sides and back of the head. The hair does not fall permanently, growing again when the phenomenon ends.
Hair loss can be of two types:
Acute – It manifests with a significant loss, in a short time, in which the follicles with a regular regrowth cycle enter prematurely in the telogen phase. These episodes can be induced by taking some medications (anticoagulants, drugs for the thyroid, for the nervous system, antihypertensive agents, etc.) or by problems such as anorexia, tumors or serious metabolic disorders.
Chronic – It is not uncommon for women to suffer from intense and persistent hair loss, without an identified cause. This type of hair loss is distinguished from temporary phenomena given the length of time and the tendency to happen at different times of the year. It is very stressful and is interpreted by women as a risk of early baldness. Generally, however, these are reversible episodes, although they can lead to a specific weakening of the hair. With greater reason, therefore, it can be essential that hair and scalp are taken care of and protected. A careful analysis of the hair is essential to correctly identify its causes.
It is common to believe that the amount of hair falling out is the main parameter to assess the health of the hair. In reality, what counts is the quality of regrowth. If the hair maintains a mass and quality almost constant over time, there is no need to worry about the amount of hair that you see falling, since the hair that falls is replaced by new ones. If not, it means that there is a health problem at this level.
The causes of the fall can be several:
1 – Infectious diseases – Can lead to increased hair loss 8-10 weeks after the episode; usually, the loss is moderate and always reversible. Fever causes increased metabolic activity, which is likely to interfere with the ability of follicle matrix cells to replicate and prevent them from proliferating normally.
2 – Postpartum phase –During the pregnancy period, the anagen phase is prolonged and, as a consequence, the percentage of hair increases progressively until it reaches about 10% more in the final trimester. Pregnancy is a state of grace for the hair! After delivery, however, the trend reverses and many hairs enter the catagen and, later, telogen phase. Between the child’s first and fourth month, the mother’s hair loss increases. The phenomenon will continue for several months and may even be more intense if the mother is breastfeeding, anemic or has high levels of stress. But it is not a cause for concern: full recovery takes between four and twelve months. Hair loss in the postpartum period is more pronounced in the frontal area and in the temporal regions, but it can also be generalized:
3 – Needy food and drastic diets – It is considered that 30% of women who lose hair before the age of fifty have a poor diet (in particular, little fruit and vegetables, and too much sugar). The choice to resort to a drastic diet, especially among young women, is not unusual; Overweight teenagers frequently undergo diets based on fruits and vegetables, totally unbalanced and often without protein. Women with very strict food tastes, however, in certain cases, do not ingest enough vitamins and trace elements. In these conditions, the health of the hair can be compromised and cause a non-physiological fall.
4 – Thyroid disorders – Today we know with certainty that there is a significant correlation between the level and duration of thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism) and the severity of the phenomenon of hair loss in women. In dealing with the disorder in time, the problem is completely reversible; if, on the contrary, the thyroid alteration lasts for a long time it can cause the atrophy of some follicular units. Often, the first symptom of a thyroid disorder is precisely at this level: itchy scalp, abundant hair loss, dull color and opacity are signs that should alert us. The thyroid modulates and regulates many functions and its well-being is fundamental for health in general and for that of skin and hair in particular.
5 – Surgical interventions and anesthesia – Women undergoing surgical interventions with prolonged anesthesia or great blood loss can be affected by intense hair loss. Regrowth usually occurs within four months.
6 – Psychological stress, anxiety and depression – They are often causes of telogen effluvium . A grief, a separation can trigger a massive hair loss, which demonstrates, once again, the strict relationship between the skin and the nervous system.
7 – Taking medication – ACE-inhibiting drugs for hypertension, cholesterol-lowering statins, vitamin excesses (especially vitamin A) and interruption of the contraceptive pill may be other causes of great hair loss