The amount of hair a person will have is affected by genetics, as all babies are born with a defined number of follicles. On average, people may have 80,000 to 150,000 hair follicles on their scalp. People with different hair colour also seem to have different numbers of hair follicles, but this does not seem to determine the overall thickness of hair. Blonds have the most follicles, but the thinnest hair. Redheads have the fewest, but have thicker and coarser hair. People with dark hair are somewhere in the middle.
The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Hair loss does not usually occur overnight. Most people normally lose 50 to 100 hairs per day. There are a variety of causes of excessive hair loss, including hereditary thinning or baldness and improper hair care. Certain medical conditions and treatments may also be related to hair loss. For example, anemia, thyroid problems, chronic kidney problems, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy can all cause hair loss. Hair thinning or baldness due to genetics is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Improper use of chemical treatments, hairstyles that pull on hair, and shampooing or combing hair too often may also damage hair and contribute to hair loss.
Although there is no cure, there are a few medications (including minoxidil lotion and finasteride) that may help. Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether one of these medications may be right for you. Another option for permanent hair loss is hair transplantation. This process involves taking small portions of scalp (each with a few hairs attached) and planting them in areas where there is less hair. It is important to keep in mind that hair transplantation involves possible surgical risks.
Dermatologists (physicians who specialize in skin problems) are also trained to diagnose scalp conditions. Your healthcare professional can help find the cause of your hair loss and whether or not it can be treated with medications.
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