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Toxic alopecia

Toxic alopecia is hair loss caused by the intake of certain types of medications and exposure to toxic substances.

It most commonly occurs due to the intake of:

· Cytostatics - anti-tumor drugs that affect the processes of cell growth and development

· Psychotropic drugs

· Overdose of vitamin A

· Some types of antibiotics and antiviral drugs

· Additionally, the frequent cause of toxic alopecia is the use of narcotic substances and poisoning with toxic chemicals.

In toxic alopecia, hair loss begins a week or several months after taking the medications. The loss is active and uniform, with approximately 80-90% of hair falling out within a short period. This high percentage of hair loss most often occurs after radiation and chemotherapy in oncology patients. Hair can fall out from the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, as well as from other parts of the body where they usually grow, such as the arms and legs.

What happens to the hair follicle?

These medications not only attack unhealthy cells but also hair follicles. Hair follicle cells divide very actively and go into a resting phase in the hair growth cycle. This phase of the cycle is most affected by medications.

Upon starting treatment, hair follicles stop their growth and enter the resting phase. As a result, hair becomes brittle, its growth slows down, and it gradually starts to fall out. After completing the treatment, follicles may recover, and hair growth resumes. However, new hair may differ in texture and color from the previous ones, and it may take some time for the hair to return to its normal state.

During the hair loss period, patients may find the following tips helpful:

· Use wigs or head coverings to conceal hair loss and support your well-being.

· Use gentle and non-aggressive skin care products for the scalp. Choose shampoos and conditioners without aggressive chemical components.

· Avoid using hair dryers or styling irons to prevent additional damage to weakened hair.

Use hair growth stimulating lotions strictly under the supervision of a doctor and be patient. It's essential to understand that hair loss is a temporary side effect of medication. After completing the treatment, the time and speed of hair recovery may vary for each patient.