Understanding Hair Loss
On average, people can lose up to 100 hairs from their scalps each day.
Occasionally finding a few stray hairs on your brush or comb or in other places is not cause for alarm. However, there are life events or lifestyle changes that can accelerate the normal rate at which a person loses hair.
Factors such as age, genetics, hormones, medication, pregnancy, cosmetic procedures (dyes and relaxers), stress, diet or certain illnesses can all serve as possible causes for a person’s hair loss.
There are several different types of hair loss (alopecia):
- Androgenic alopecia- is a genetic condition that affects men and women. This condition is also referred to male or female pattern baldness.
- Involuntional alopecia- occurs naturally with age
- Telogen effluvium-this causes temporary hair thinning resulting from changes in the growth cycle
- Scarring alopecias- inflammatory skin conditions such as cellulitis or folliculitis can result in permanent hair loss
- Traction alopecia- occurs when hair is constantly being pulled at the follicles. This commonly happens to men and women who wear tight hair styles
The Hair Growth Cycle
Hair grows in a continuous cycle. The hair growth cycle consists of four phases: Growth (Anagen), Transition (Catagen), Resting (Telogen), and Shedding (Exogen). The image shown illustrates each of these phases throughout the life of the hair.
At any given time, 10-20% of your hair is in the Catagen or Telogen phase waiting to be shed and replaced by an active Anagen hair (similar to the way a baby tooth is pushed out by a permanent tooth), while up to 90% of your hair is growing. The Growth phase typically lasts 3-6 years in a healthy hair, but if the Growth phase is shortened, hair will enter the other phases to quickly and start to thin.