Hair loss is different from natural hair shedding. The medical term for this predicament is known as alopecia. If you find copious amounts of hair on the floor, bald spots on your scalp, or notice your part widened, it is very likely that you are experiencing hair loss.
It is normal to shed around 100 strands of hair every day for human beings. Hair shedding is part of the natural balance of old hair falling out while the new one grows and takes its place. When this balance is disrupted, less hair grows than what is shed.
Normal hair growth needs great care of the scalp and maintenance of the growth cycle. This article will discuss how certain interferences with hair growth balance cause hair loss and the way to treat such issues.
The Growth Cycle of Human Hair
Human hair undergoes three cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase is also known as the growing phase. This cycle can last from two years to eight years. About 90% of the hair growth happens under this phase.
The catagen cycle is also known as the transition phase. During this cycle, hair follicles shrink, and the phase lasts for around two weeks. The third phase telogen is also known as the resting phase, and it lasts for about 3 months. Hair sheds at the end of this cycle.
Shorter body hair like eyelashes and arm hair have a shorter anagen phase that lasts for approximately a month. The hair on the scalp can last till 6 years or even longer.
Only 10% of the hair strands are either in the transition or resting phase, the rest of the 90% of hair strands are in the growing (anagen) phase. For most people, hair grows about six inches per year.
Some people take supplements for maintaining the hair growth cycle. There are various benefits of such supplements which can be compared like Nutrafol vs Viviscal and used according to the requirements and preferences.
Indicators of Hair Loss
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the normal amount of hair fall is around 100 strands per day. People can shed around 250 strands when washing their hair. That being said, do not avoid washing your hair just to save your tresses from shading. It is a natural process for the hair strands to fall.
You don’t necessarily have to keep count of the hair strands you lost. Simply relying on visual cues you will realize it. After your restful slumber, you can find hair strands on the pillow, if the amount is unusual then you are undergoing hair loss.
Another indicator is the hair left on the comb after sifting it through your hair without any tugging. Hair loss in men becomes noticeable by the receding hairline above the forehead or in the crown area. It is noticeable in women when they have wider parts and general thinning of hair on the scalp, especially when the hair is pulled back.
Diagnosing Hair Loss
Preliminary blood work can be done to find the cause of hair loss. The blood test can determine whether the hair loss is due to any hormonal imbalance of the thyroid gland or the onset of any autoimmune disease.
The cause of hair loss can be hereditary and inquiry into the hereditary history of the patient’s hair can help to determine whether it runs in the family. If the patient’s mother and aunts also have similar hair issues then it is highly likely it is a genetic problem.
If the hair follicles in the scalp appear varied in size, then the patient is suffering pattern hair loss. The different follicle sizes are a telltale sign of androgenetic alopecia.
Causes of Hair Loss
Androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary condition that affects around 30 million women in America. The incidence of this condition is quite high and is common in any dermatologist’s practice. This issue mostly shows up during the late 50s but can happen any time, even at the teenage phase.
Usually, the normal hair follicle when shades are replaced by new hair growth of the same size. However, in pattern hair loss, the new hair is thinner and finer. The hair follicles start to shrink and eventually stop growing.
If the hair loss is sudden and the follicles are the same in size, the cause is likely to be a medical condition or self-inflicted. The most common medical causes of hair loss are hormonal shifts during pregnancies, thyroid disorders, and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). It can also result from anemia or low red blood cells.
Autoimmune diseases and skin conditions like psoriasis can also cause hair loss. Other issues can be high levels of stress, any onset of illness, or physical trauma like surgeries. Drastic weight loss in a short period of time is another reason for sudden hair loss.
Hair loss can be seen a couple of weeks or few months after any of the above-mentioned experiences. Self-inflicted hair loss occurs when someone picks on their scalp or is an adverse effect of hairstyles on the scalp.
Hairstyles like tying braids or cornrows too tightly can injure the scalp and can cause loss of hair. Hair bleach, hair dyes, and other chemical treatment of the hair can also result in significant hair loss.
Exposure to the high heat of the hairdryer, curling irons, and straighteners can damage the hair and cause breakage. Aggressive brushing and rubbing wet hair with a coarse towel can be hair loss.
Dealing With Hair Loss
Fortunately, such issues can be reversed and you can grow healthy hair. It is wise to consult with a dermatologist and get treatment to save your hair. You can try home remedies and change a few habits to get the healthy tresses of your dreams.
Avoid rubbing wet hair vigorously with a coarse towel. The friction of the hair strands with the rough texture of the towel can cause damage and break the hair.
Use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt instead. Do not rub your hair. Simply squeeze out the excess water and pat the hair dry with the t-shirt or microfiber towel. You can also “plop” your hair into the tee and let the natural heat from your head evaporate the water molecules.
If you are going to use a blow dryer, use the appliance in the lowest settings. The harsh heat breaks the proteins in your hair and causes damage.
A healthy scalp means healthy hair. It is wise to shampoo at least once a week to remove the build-up of all the dirt and grease. The accumulation of dirt and grease increases the risk of fungal and bacterial infection.
Avoid scratching the scalp with nails when shampooing. Work the shampoo with fingertips and rinse your hair thoroughly with water. To avoid total stripping of nutrients and moisture from the hair, you can apply a homemade hair mask or oil to your hair.
It is a good idea to apply enriched hair oil like argan or coconut oil to your hair at least 30 minutes before showering. Oiling your hair is an age-old practice especially in South Asian regions and has proven to be an effective way of maintaining healthy hair.
There are many herbs and oils that promote hair growth that can be incorporated into your hair mask. Comb your hair gently every day. It is best to use a wide-tooth comb and avoid yanking the tangled hair. Combing your hair stimulates the scalp and enhances blood circulation which is vital for healthy hair.
The dead skin and dirt also get removed while combing and keeps the scalp clean. Use a detangler spray or patiently work through the tangles. It is best to sleep on a satin pillowcase as it causes low friction with your prized locks and reduces breakage. Adopting such small practices can go a long way.
Hair loss is a common dilemma that most of us face. By knowing the cause of hair loss you can find prompt treatment and save your hair. Changing some of the habits can also help immensely in combatting hair loss.