Hair Loss - Where to start?
What causes hair loss?
Everyone’s an expert these days, when it comes to the subject of hair loss! Doctors, scientists, clinics all have their own views on the causes and treatments of this distressing problem. A high proportion of men and women will experience the effects of thinning hair or bald spots at some point in their lives. When they do, they need to know what is causing their own particular hair loss problem and find impartial advice about the best way forward to treat and conceal.
There is no “one” reason for hair loss, rather several factors than can cause it, or some that will combine together to make the effects of hair loss more pronounced or begin at a younger age.
Generally, they fall into the following categories:
• Hormonal Imbalance
• Dietary Deficiencies
• Illness and infectious diseases
• Nervous Disorders
• Toxic Substances
• Injury and Impairment
• Radiation/ Chemotherapy
Hair Loss – a growing problem
Hair on the head grows about 1 cm a month. In the UK nearly 8 million men and 1.6 million women suffer from hair loss problems. In the States, men spend over £440 million trying to stop hair loss and regrow their hair. When did you last see a bald President or Prime Minister?
The amount of hair on your head has a lot to do with your natural colouring. Blondes have approximately 140,000 strands; Brunettes have 110,000 strands; Raven haired have 108,000 strands and Red heads have 90,000 strands.
Although two people may have a similar amount of hair loss, those with darker hair are more likely to become conscious of it sooner, as their scalp will show through more obviously, compared to a fair haired person.
Everyone loses hair at different rates, but normally you could expect to shed 50-100 hairs from your scalp each day. Hairs usually grow for 5 years before they are shed, which is why very long hair can look thinner on the lower length, because some hair will be lost before it reaches the required length.
What is normal hair loss?
Worrying about hair loss will only add to the problem, first you need to decide whether you really do have a condition and if so, take positive action.
Usually, people are alarmed when the plughole regularly seems to fill with loose hair after washing. However, it is normal to shed 50-100 strands a day and these become tangled with the rest of your hair and either clog up your hair brush or end up in the basin or shower when you shampoo. Often you don’t notice much hair in the plughole until after you have conditioned your hair, this is because the hair is smoothed and the loose strands have nothing to tangle with and so wash away.
Shedding hair can also increase seasonally, many people find hair grows more vigorously in the spring and then in the autumn, it tends to fall out a bit more.
If you’re still concerned about hair loss, you can try a gentle pull test. Get hold of a small group of hairs, about 15 to 20, gripping them between the thumb and index finger. Then pull slowly and firmly, if more than six hairs come away this indicates that you may have a problem.
How does hair grow?
The hair strands themselves are known as the shaft, each of these protrudes from a hair follicle which is just below the surface of the skin. Hairs are attached to the base of the follicle by the hair root, which is the growth area nourished by small blood vessels.
Hairs are made up of cells like the rest of the body. The hair is slowly pushed out of the follicle as new cells form at its root. This pushing process produces hair growth, while the cells at the base are close to the blood supply they are living. The further they are pushed away the less nourishment they receive and they die, changing into the hard protein known as keratin. Hair above the skin is dead protein, while the follicle within the skin is the essential growing part of the hair process.
Hair does not grow continuously – it has definite stages.
The growing stage – Hair will usually grow at approximately 1 cm per month, this phase will last for between 2 and 5 years. At any given time, 85%-90% of hairs are in the growth stage.
The resting stage – A resting stage then follows, when hair stops growing for a period of 5 months, known as telogen. At any given time, 10%-15% of all hairs are in the telogen phase.
The shedding stage – after the resting phase, the hair is shed and the follicle will start to grow a new one.
If anything happens to destroy the hair follicle, no new hair will grow.
Most common cause of baldness
Female-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia)
Hair gradually thins, usually from the top of the head. It frequently becomes more noticeable after the menopause and tends to runs in families, it may be passed down through the genes, but it is still to be confirmed.
See Female hair loss treatments >
Male-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia)
This is the most common type of hair loss. It follows a pattern of a receding hairline, followed by thinning of the hair on the crown and temples. It is caused by male hormones (testosterone) forming by the hair roots into DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) which inhibits hair growth. It enters the hair follicles (the holes in the scalp where the hair come from) and reacts chemically, miniaturising the hair follicle and hair root. This results in hairs becoming finer and finer, until the appearance of thinning hair is obvious and develops into baldness.
It is a hereditary condition, but there are many effective treatments that can give 85% success rate in showing improvements
Other causes of baldness
Anything that disrupts the various stages of hair growth can cause excessive hair loss. If the follicles remain in the resting phase and then shed, instead of growing new hairs, there will be a noticeable thinning of hair on the head.
Some anti-cancer drugs can interfere with the formation of new hair cells at the root during the growth stage. This usually rights itself, once the treatment has stopped, new hairs will grow back.
Follicles destroyed or damaged by skin diseases, burns, or destructive hair treatments can result in baldness in that area. Some of these can be turned around with the right treatment and by stopping destructive treatments. Severe burns and scarred areas are unlikely to show regrowth due to the damage done to the hair roots.
What to do?
Once you’ve decided that you have the signs of hair loss developing, don’t waste anymore time worrying about it, start taking some positive steps in the right direction… See Hair Loss Tips……..
At UKHairdressers we aim to provide people who are suffering hair loss, with guidance, reviews and information to help them make an informed choice about the best options for them.
|Disclaimer All information on this site has been written for general purposes and we advise you to seek medical advice when necessary.|