Your hair is made up of layers. The outermost layer of the hair is called the cuticle. It is made of flattened cells that overlap like the tiles on a roof and it protects the inner layer (called the cortex) from damage. If your hair appears shiny and healthy, and soft and manageable, it is because the protective cells of the cuticle are undamaged and lie flat.
Some of the common causes of hair loss are dandruff, excessive oiliness of the scalp, illness, thyroid imbalance, stress, nutritional deficiency, as well as hair damage caused by repeated hair colouring, dyeing, bleaching, straightening, perming etc.
Nutritional deficiency is probably one of the most common causes of hair loss. That is why diet is so important.
Hormonal or hereditary factors can also trigger off hair loss. In fact, hair loss, progressing to balding, is more common among men than women. It is called 'male pattern baldness'. Doctors believe that the male sex hormone testosterone is an important factor in male pattern baldness. It is a good idea to consult a dermatologist (skin specialist) or trichologist (hair specialist) to determine the cause of hair loss. Alopecia areata, which is characterised by bald patches, can strike men, women and even children. In many cases, the patches merge and lead to baldness. For alopecia too, it is necessary to seek professional advice.
Environmental factors, like sunlight, air pollution and wind can damage the cuticle. Hair becomes more susceptible to breakage due to excessive use of harsh chemicals and colourants, aggressive brushing or insufficient moisturising. When the cells wear out, they separate and your hair becomes dry and vulnerable to breakage and split ends.
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