Post-mortem hair loss, or "post-mortem alopecia," is a common occurrence after death. This phenomenon is caused by a combination of factors, including changes in blood circulation, hormone levels, and cellular processes that occur in the body after death.
When a person dies, blood circulation stops, causing the scalp and hair follicles to receive less oxygen and nutrients. This leads to the degradation of hair cells and eventual hair loss. Additionally, hormonal changes that happen after death can also contribute to hair loss. Hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, which play a role in hair growth, gradually decrease after death.
Furthermore, the body undergoes a process called autolysis, in which enzymes released by the cells start to break down tissues. This breakdown affects the hair follicles, leading to the detachment and shedding of hair.
It is important to note that post-mortem hair loss does not happen immediately after death but usually takes a few weeks to become noticeable. The rate and extent of hair loss can also vary depending on several factors, including the individual's age, general health, and cause of death.
Although post-mortem hair loss is a natural occurrence, it can sometimes be mistaken for signs of foul play or disturbance of the body. Investigators conducting forensic examinations should be aware of this phenomenon to differentiate between normal hair loss and potential evidence of a criminal act. Therefore, understanding the underlying processes behind post-mortem hair loss is essential in forensic investigations and medico-legal examinations.