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Alopecia

Description

Alopecia, or hair loss, baldness or pattern baldness, is the partial or complete loss of hair from a specific area of the body and refers most commonly to hair lost from the scalp. Both men and women lose hair as they age, however men are far more likely to develop a typical pattern of baldness. 25% of men begin to go bald by the age of 30 and about two-thirds are either bald or show a balding pattern by the age of 60. This is known as male pattern baldness and is caused by changing hormones. Each person has around 100,000 hairs on their head. We all lose about 100 hairs each day. Each individual hair lives for approximately 4 years, growing at the rate of half an inch per month. At the end of its life, the hair falls out and is replaced by a new one within 6 months. Any break in this cycle of new hair leads to alopecia. It occurs most commonly on the scalp and usually develops gradually.

Causes of alopecia include:

Hereditary factors; if one of your parents suffered from alopecia there is an increased risk that you may suffer from it
Changes in levels of certain hormones in the body
Serious illness
Some medication such as steroids and anti-cancer drugs
Excessive shampooing and blow-drying
Emotional or physical stress
Burns or radiation therapy
Infections of the scalp such as psoriasis and ringworm

There is very little than can be done to treat male pattern baldness. Avoiding or lessening the contributory factors may go some way to slowing the loss of hair, but the effects are likely to be small.

Our Advice
  • There is little that can be done to prevent male pattern baldness. There are some products available to help promote hair growth in male pattern baldness.
  • Unexplained patchy baldness or sudden hair loss should be reported to your GP.
  • Our Pharmacist can provide advice on over the counter treatments for alopecia.