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Hair is an important part of the skin. It is a sexual and social communicant. It is a tool for adornment and decoration. The skin, which covers the skull and bears the hair is called scalp. The scalp provides all the nutrition via blood supply to the hair. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. It has an outer protective layer called cuticle, which protects the hair from external damages. The root of the hair is called hair follicle. It is situated deep in the skin. It is like a miniature factory, which rapidly produces hair cells. There are about 1 to 1.5 lakh of hairs in the normal scalp. Hair grows an average of 1cm per month. Hairs can grow up to 85cms in length. Normally 90 to 95% of the hairs are growing and 5 to 10% are resting. The growth phase lasts for 6 years. The resting phase lasts for three months. By this hair cycling hair replaces itself once in three months. Hair serves many important functions such as sun protection, insulation against cold and mechanical protection. The properties of hair like the color, shape, length and density have racial and genetic variation. Asian hair is round, thick, dense and grows to maximum length.

What are the causes of hair loss?

Various types of hair loss can occur with various causes. Patchy hair loss is called alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disease. Diffuse hair loss can be due to dandruff, nutritional deficiency, and hormone imbalance, stress and external hair damaging practices. Androgenetic alopecia can lead to patterned baldness, which is rare in women. The most common causes of hair loss is worry about hair loss!

How can hair loss be treated?

A careful analysis is required to find out the causes of hair loss. Since hair is closely associated with skin & internal organs hair problems can give clues to many internal problems like deficiency states, liver, kidney & hormone diseases. Only a dermatologist specialized in hair can correctly diagnose and treat hair problems. Hence home remedies and unauthorized treatments from unqualified quackery can lead to irreversible damages to the hair and internal system.

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