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LOSING A LOT OF HAIR: REACTIVE HAIR LOSS

Treating severe and sudden hair loss

When severe hair loss occurs suddenly, it is often reactive hair loss.

Unlike androgenetic alopecia, which is genetic, reactional hair loss, as its name indicates, occurs in response to an external factor. It can be stress, pregnancy, breastfeeding, a change of season, fatigue, illness, iron deficiency…

It usually appears 2 to 3 months after the event.

This type of hair loss can affect the entire head and is more common in women.

What events can cause severe hair loss?

There are three main causes of reactive hair loss.

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Reactive hair loss due to stress

Stress, severe fatigue and emotional shock can cause chain reactions in the body, including stress-related hair loss. They have an impact at the cellular level and on the hair follicles. They have harmful effects on the scalp and can alter hair growth.

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Reactionary hair loss following childbirth

Hair loss after pregnancy is quite common in women.

A few months after giving birth, which is an event that affect women both physically and mentally, a number of women notice that they easily lose more than 100 hairs per day, which strikes them as abnormal. This hair loss in women may be due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, particularly due to an imbalance in male hormones.

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Hair loss due to illness

There are many links between hair loss and illness.

Hair loss can itself have pathological causes, as in the case of androgenetic alopecia.

It can also be a side effect of taking a prescribed treatment for an illness.

What are the physiological causes of reactive hair loss?

Reactive hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium, is when a significant number of hair follicles enter prematurely into the hair loss phase. This third and last phase of the hair life cycle is also called the telogen phase.

Reactive hair loss is a temporary phenomenon.

To treat this type of hair loss, it is necessary to quickly reactivate hair growth by initiating a new hair cycle and slowing down hair loss.

There are a number of potential triggers in an individual's life:

  • stress
  • pregnancy and childbirth
  • the change of season
  • an emotional shock
  • a restricted or poor diet (e.g. iron deficiency)
  • fatigue
  • illness
  • taking certain medications
  • over-processing of the hair
  • stress placed on the scalp due to excessive styling

Stress, fatigue, illness, pregnancy, deficiencies… all these factors have harmful effects on the life of hair.

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There are 3 main physiological causes.

Poor circulation

Growth factors responsible for the development of the circulation of the follicular papilla are essential in the regulation of hair growth.

Poor scalp circulation can lead to a lack of nutrients reaching the hair bulbs. These elements are essential for hair growth. A deficiency can therefore trigger hair loss.

It is thus necessary to ensure good microcirculation at the scalp to ensure these elements are present.

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Nutritional deficiency

We have seen that microcirculation carries essential elements to the hair bulb.

Even if blood circulation is very good, it still needs to have growth elements to transport to the hair bulb!

It goes without saying that a lack of nutrients, energy and trace elements makes it more difficult to grow healthy hair. A deficiency therefore leads to the hair entering prematurely into the telogen phase.

It is therefore essential to provide the hair with these essential elements in another way. We can, for example, use food supplements to provide amino acids, vitamins…

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The inflammatory syndrome

Psychological or physical stress or a disorder of the body will generate an imbalance that translates into stress at a cellular level.

Cells on the scalp subjected to this stress will release neurotransmitters, including substance P. They will then trigger an acute inflammatory knock-on effect.

A pro-inflammatory agent, TNF-a, is released. It inhibits the hair cycle: the hair then suddenly and prematurely enters the telogen phase.

This triggers a sudden and drastic hair loss.

Are there any treatments to stop severe reactive hair loss?

As we have just seen, reactional hair loss has three underlying physiological causes.

It can be difficult to identify which of these is the main culprit. It is also impossible to determine whether it acts alone or in combination with other factors.

To slow down reactionary hair loss and obtain visible results, it is therefore preferable to target these three causes simultaneously.

For this type of hair loss, it is, of course, useless to consider a hair transplant. Today, there are anti-hair loss treatments made with natural active ingredients that are effective and aren't harsh on the skin.

Massaging the scalp can be very effective in increasing the effects of an anti-hair loss treatment. These extra gestures should not be neglected.

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