Did you know that we all lose about 50-100 hairs per day though the normal hair growth and renewal cycle? It might be more noticeable in women because their hair is longer, but it occurs equally in men. However, sometimes hair loss is accelerated by other factors that disrupt normal hair growth. The video below and in-depth information in this article explains how hair grows and what triggers can cause an increase in hair loss.
How Does Hair Grow?
Normal hair growth occurs in 3 stages:
1. Anagen: is the active phase of new hair formation and growth and lasts for 2-5 years. The rapidly growing hair pushes the old hair in the follicle out as it grows.
2. Catagen: is a transitional phase (2-3 weeks) where growth stops and the outer root sheath detaches from the follicle wall.
3. Telogen: is the resting phase and lasts for about 100 days for scalp hair. Hair can be either pulled out or shed at this stage.
Hair Loss Causes
In some cases, hair loss is not related to age, but to other triggers. Some of these effects are reversible and normal hair growth returns once the trigger is removed. Other factors can't be reversed without medical help. The most common causes of hair loss are:
- Stress causes a range of health problems, but often one of the first symptoms of stress is hair loss. Unfortunately, losing your hair can often be a cause of stress and can make the problem worse.
- A poor diet lacking essential nutrients supporting optimal hair growth may also result in hair loss. A diet lacking sufficient protein, the main component of hair, can inhibit follicle growth.
- Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen and increases the level of carbon monoxide in the blood supply to the scalp, causing damage to the hair follicle.
- Hormonal imbalances can trigger temporary hair loss. Thyroid hormone imbalances cause hair loss and in women, hair loss before and after childbirth and menopause is due to dropping oestrogen levels.
- Diseases or infections causing fever, anaemia or damage to the skin (eczema, skin infections, trauma) can also contribute to hair loss.
- Genetics is by far the most common reason for hair loss and baldness. For about 90% of men and women who experience hair loss, the cause is related to changing hormone levels, a trait that is inherited from your parents. This type of hair loss is called androgenetic alopecia, and occurs in a distinctive pattern (also known as male pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness) that can begin any time after puberty and becomes progressively more noticeable with age.
What Can I Do If My Hair Is Falling Out?
Improving your general health is a good start in reducing hair loss. If you can reduce stress, improve your diet and stop smoking, you may be able to reverse your hair loss without further treatment, or improve the success of any treatment you may need.
A correct diagnosis is really important to determine if you would benefit from one of the many treatment options available. Over two-thirds of men and women suffering hair loss get some form of treatment without a proper medical diagnosis and then spend a fortune on lotions and shampoos that don't work.
If you are worried about losing your hair, or have been thinking about getting treatment for hair loss, come in for a consultation. We can give you an accurate diagnosis and answer any questions you might have about what treatment options are right for you.