HAIR loss can intensify as the body ages but rarely do locks fall out in tufts unless some underlying issue is at play. Sometimes, however, hair-care habits can cause scarring of the follicles, leading to permanent hair loss.
When patches of hair fall out, the stem cell that made them generally remain alive. This, scientists have discovered, enables new growth further down the line. But when follicles scar over, hair can no longer protrude from the scalp. Unfortunately, some of the habits we adopt to improve the appearance of our hair could cause scarring that prevents its regrowth.
In Alopecia Areata, the immune system launches an attack on the hair follicles, causing locks to shed in great numbers.
Often, this leaves patches of baldness that can be reversed with appropriate treatment.
However, if alopecia advances to the scarring phases – known as scarring alopecia – the results can be permanent.
The health platform Rich Feel explains: “Destruction of slow-cycling hair follicle stem cells is thought to be the main cause of scarring alopecia.
“The stem cells are responsible for the regrowth of the lower hair follicle during normal telogen-anagen cycling.
“Hair-care habits that include excessive use of hot combs, relaxants and excessive traction can also be responsible for scarring alopecia, especially in women.”
According to the Australasian College of dermatologists, hot comb alopecia – also known as central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) – starts in the centre of the scale and expands over time.
Although the destruction of hair follicles cannot be reversed, the onset of hair loss can be prevented.