Hair is often referred to as a woman’s crowning glory. Aside from a woman’s face, her hair is the most visible part of her body. No wonder, most women make such a big fuss over their hair. While going completely bald is already socially accepted even among women, there was once a time when women had to grow long hair. Almost like their very own “pet,” women take care of their hair with great care. They spend enormous amounts of money and time just to retain the smoothness and shine of their hair, which can be straight, wavy, long, or short.
As part of the hair care regimen, most women place considerable attention to choosing their shampoo and conditioner. There are now different shampoo formulas and conditioners for all hair types. There are products that were specifically prepared for oily hair, dry hair, damaged hair, and normal hair. There are also anti-dandruff shampoos, baby shampoos, and a host of other hair products that are used to moisturize, smoothen, and strengthen hair.
Surely, there is more to hair that just the shiny images that we see in t.v. commercials. Hair is defined as a filamentous outgrowth of protein. The hair follicles grow out from the epidermis but the roots are planted deep in the dermis. Hair comes in different colors, contour, and diameter.
In society, hair is very important because it somehow denotes a person’s health, age, virility, and social status. Throughout the ages, it has played an important role in the lives of people — from the lowly peasant, to the middle class, to the men and women of royalty. During the pre-modern era, each social class had its own particular hairstyle. One’s hairstyle can lead to rejection or acceptance in certain groups or social classes. It can enhance a person’s appearance, self-confidence, and even contribute to career advancement.
Given the weight of importance on hair, many people have developed a fear of losing hair. Unfortunately, losing hair is but a natural human process much like the falling of tree leaves. Hair loss that involves the shedding of at least 100 strands a day may be considered a serious hair problem. Losing about 50 hair strands a day, however, is quite normal. Thinning of hair may lead a patch or bald spot on the scalp. Normal hair grows in cycles and consists of three stages: growing, resting, and falling.
Hair loss, as a physical problem, has three general types, as indicated below,
l Alopecia Areata – This refers to a loss of hair that results in a patch or bald spot.
l Androgenetic Alopecia – It is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. It is caused by a combination of four factors: age, testosterone, hormone levels, and heredity.
l Chronic Illness – Iron deficiencies, thyroid diseases, connective tissue disease, and syphilis may cause hair loss.
l Telogen Effluvium – This type of hair loss is caused by high fever, crash dieting, acute illness including physical and emotional stress.
l Scalp Diseases – Fungal and bacterial infections also cause hair loss.
l Drugs – Certain anti-cancer and anti-coagulant drugs can also cause hair loss.
l Excessive hairstyling – Hairstyling like the pony tail or braiding can stretch the hair and pull them out from the follicles.
Loss of hair should not be seen as simply an aesthetic issue. It could be the sign of a more serious illness. It is wise to consult a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
l You are already losing hair rapidly even if you are only in your early twenties or in your teenage years.
l You are experiencing pain or intense itching.
l The skin on your scalp appears to be red or scaly.
l You are experiencing weight gain, fatigue, and intolerance for cold temperature.
The good news is that there are several hair loss treatments available in the market. The key is to try to control your stress and anxiety over your hair loss. With the variety of hair loss treatments and hair care products, no one should feel down about losing the “crowning glory.”