Baldness Is More than Just Genetics, Studies Reveal

How common is hair loss in the Philippines? The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development revealed that about half of Filipino men would develop the problem before they reach 40 years old. Most will have male-pattern baldness.

While women can also develop baldness or hair loss, it usually affects men because of genetics. And that can leave hundreds feeling defeated and frustrated.

Science, though, has already made huge strides in learning more about this hair-raising issue (pun intended). These include possible treatments like effective shampoo for hair loss and other problems.

Other Possible Reasons for Baldness

Besides genetics, studies showed a correlation between nutritional deficiencies and hair loss, such as baldness. One of these is iron.

According to a 2017 research, people with hair loss also seem to have lower levels of this mineral. Although the exact reason is still unclear, experts cite that:

  • Iron is an essential factor for producing an enzyme that regulates the production of hair follicles.
  • Numerous genes are present in the hair follicle cells, and iron can potentially influence their activities or expressions.

Other nutrients that might have an impact on hair growth (or the lack thereof) include:

  • Zinc
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Fatty acids like omega-3
  • Folic acid
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E

Aging can also increase the risk of hair loss. As a person ages, the rate of collagen production also declines. Collagen is a protein that maintains the suppleness of the skin. However, it also contains amino acids and proteins that can help nourish the hair and protect the follicles from damage.

Stress is also another factor and is usually connected to telogen effluvium, which is temporary hair loss. It could trigger the hair follicles to enter into the resting phase, wherein they become looser and fall off from the scalp.

Meanwhile, an overactive immune system can cause an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata. In this situation, the immune cells end up attacking the organs, such as the follicles, preventing them from producing strands.

Certain behaviors can also encourage hair loss. These include hair pulling, friction when rubbing objects like a towel, or excessive brushing.

Treatments Available

Fortunately, people with hair loss, especially male-pattern baldness, can pursue various treatments:

1. Hair Transplants

Hair transplants, such as follicular unit transplant (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FEU), are the costliest and might have the longest recoveries. However, the results are more likely to be long-lasting and sometimes permanent. The hair could grow within three to four months, although initially, the person might experience shedding.

2. Medicinal Plants and Oils

More studies show that individual plants and their oils could promote hair growth. One of these is moringa oleifera, which is more known in the Philippines as malunggay.

A nutrient powerhouse, it contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins C, E, and D. It is also an excellent source for folic acid, another nutrient the hair needs.

Another option is argan oil, which usually comes from Morocco. It contains phenols, which are antioxidants that fight free radicals that, in turn, cause DNA damage. It also helps strengthen the hair strands, so they’re less prone to breakage.

3. Medications

Two popular hair loss drugs are finasteride and minoxidil, which have different mechanisms of action. Finasteride blocks the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen that speeds up losing hair. On the other hand, minoxidil is a vasodilator, which opens up the blood vessels so that nutrients reach the scalp faster.

With all these choices, one thing is clear: there’s hope in hair loss, including male-pattern baldness. And no, genetics isn’t always the one to blame.

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