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What are the Different Causes of Baldness?

Article Details
  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 06 March 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Baldness can be caused by things such as genetic code, stress, medications, vitamins, hormonal changes or aging. Exposure to X-rays, pollutants and caustic gases also can cause baldness, as can illness and one's lifestyle. The baldness of an individual might have a single cause or multiple ones, which can make it difficult to determine the factors responsible for hair loss. It usually is helpful to at least understand which causes of baldness lead to permanent hair loss and which ones lead to temporary hair loss so that the best treatment can be followed to correct the problem.

Inherited baldness resulting from the "baldness gene" leads to a permanent loss of hair in most cases. That loss, however, sometimes can be slowed and minimized if effective remedies that promote hair growth are begun before the work of genetic code begins. Exposure to X-rays, pollutants and caustic gases also figure among the causes of baldness that could lead to permanent hair loss, depending on what the pollutant or gas is, to how much of the substance the person has been exposed and for how long the individual has been exposed to it. Although over-the-counter medications can lead to hair loss, prescription drugs tend to affect hair growth much more often and to a greater degree than non-prescription ones. For example, chemotherapy drugs are the principle causes of baldness among cancer patients who take them.

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Most people would not ever suspect that taking vitamins is one of many causes of baldness, but the abuse of vitamins, particularly synthetic ones, can lead to the loss of hair just like a deficiency of a nutrient can. One of the symptoms of vitamin A toxicity, for example, is loss of hair to the point of baldness. Men and women experience hormonal changes, but these changes in women tend to cause hair loss much more often than they do in men. This is evident in the fact that many females notice a significant increase in the rate at which their hair grows when taking birth control pills, which are female hormones.

Although aging is considered to be among the causes of baldness, it might be more correct to say that the mature population simply suffers hair loss and other things as a consequence of years of following an unhealthy lifestyle. When speaking of lifestyle, a number of factors should be considered when investigating the causes of baldness, including stress levels, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and use of unnatural hair products. The growth processes that take place within the body rely on the presence of an adequate amount of nutrients, without which they cannot take place as needed. Certain illnesses such as scarlet fever or typhoid fever also can cause one's hair to fall out.

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