Hair loss is one of the most natural things in the world. Whilst some will be exempt from baldness, no one can avoid normal hair loss. Shedding hair is a natural process and it is normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day to make way for new hair. Normal hair loss won’t lead to thinning hair and will not cause baldness but an interruption in the hair growth lifecycle could mean normal hair loss progresses to excessive hair loss. This is when hair loss becomes a problem.
As people age, they may become more concerned about hair loss and those few hairs which were always in the brush or at the bottom of the shower suddenly become a source of paranoia. But hair has its own lifecycle and the same strand of hair does not continue to grow your whole life. A number of hair strands grow from the one hair follicle, one after another.
Hair is made mostly of tough, structural protein fibres called keratins. Just below the surface of the skin lies a cluster of active cells known as the dermal papilla and it is from here that the hair grows into its follicle. By the time hair grows out from the scalp it is dead, with only the root tip containing living cells.
The hair growth lifecycle consists of three distinct stages:
- Anagen – a phase of growth that can last between two and seven years. On average, each hair grows about six inches per year.
- Catagen – a phase of transition that lasts roughly two to four weeks. At this time the hair shaft detaches from the dermal papilla and moves up within a shrinking follicle.
- Telogen – a resting period that lasts about three months allowing the hair to detach itself from the follicle before falling out. After this, the cycle repeats itself unless other factors intervene to prevent repetition of the cycle.
Nutrition plays a big part in healthy hair growth as vitamins are needed to sustain the dermal papilla so hair grows strong through the hair follicle. A healthy, balances diet should ensure your hair receives all the needed nutrients but sometimes, especially for women, hair supplements are beneficial.
Nutrition alone, however, will not prevent excessive hair loss. Some people have a genetic predisposition to hair loss, sometimes hair loss is caused by stress or medications and other times it is an indication of an underlying medical condition. In any case it’s best to consult a medical professional or hair loss specialist.
Hair loss in women is usually characterised by overall thinning hair on the scalp where as men start to recede at the temples and possibly end up bald on the crown. It can be hard to establish whether your loss of hair is normal or in the early stages or excessive hair loss when treatments can be most effective in preventing baldness but there are self-measures you can take to determine this. The Do-It-Yourself Baldness Test may give you an indication if your hair loss is excessive. Also, the Norwood Scale for men and the Savin Scale for women are useful tools in discerning your stage of hair loss and if your hair loss is in fact normal or not.
Most people do not understand the mechanisms of hair growth let alone realise that hair loss can be treated. For more information about hair loss and the most effective hair loss treatments for you, contact the Belgravia Centre. With more than 15 years experience in treating thinning hair and hair loss, the Belgravia Centre offers individualised hair loss treatment programs structured around clinically, scientifically proven and FDA-approved treatments for male and female hair loss, aimed at addressing all aspects of the hair loss condition.