The Facts About Hair Loss: What You Can Do
Hair loss occurs due to many possible causes related to an individual’s genetic makeup or other factors. Through this discussion, Houston Hair Loss Clinic hopes to help you better understand the causes of your hair loss, as well as your options for treatment. We can lose about 50-150 hairs per day from normal shedding, as part of the normal hair growth cycle.
The Hair Growth Cycle
On average, hair on the scalp grows about 6 inches per year. While other mammals experience predictable cycles of hair growth and shedding, humans, on the other hand, experience random growth and shedding cycles. The number of hairs lost or gained also vary.
The hair growth cycle is made up of three phases:
The Anagen phase is otherwise known as the “active phase”. During this phase, scalp hair grows rapidly (about 1 cm every month) and continues to remain active for about 2-6 years.
The Catagen phase is a transitional phase between “active” and “resting”. The growth stops and the formation of club hair begins. This phase lasts about 2-3 weeks.
During the telogen phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest and no growth occurs. It is normal to lose anywhere between 50-150 strands of hair during this phase. The telogen phase usually lasts, more or less, about three and a half months.
Telogen Effluvium (Stress-induced hair loss)
Severe stress can affect normal hair growth and result in a high amount of hair entering the telogen phase all at the same time. As a result, excessive shedding can occur, which in turn can cause bald patches. This effect, however, is temporary given that the stress is properly managed.
Significant changes in hormone levels can have a drastic effect on hair. For example, estrogen levels increase during pregnancy, so it is normal to have thicker hair during that time. However, during the postpartum period, estrogen levels decrease, which results in more hair going into the catagen and telogen phases. Hair loss that occurs during this time, though, is normal. Similarly, women going through menopause also experience a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, which can also cause a hormonal imbalance that leads to hair loss.
Some medicines for heart conditions, blood pressure, birth control, acne and depression have been known to cause temporary hair loss. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation also commonly cause hair loss.
Infection and Disease
If left unchecked, fungal and viral skin infections and serious diseases such as lupus, thyroid disease and diabetes can thin out hair or cause hair loss altogether. Proper diagnosis and medical treatment is advised immediately.
Genetics and Age
Hair loss is a genetic issue, as people with family members who suffer from hair loss are likely to have it as well. The chances of experiencing hair loss also increases with age, and this can be predicted using the Rule of Decades. According to this rule, 30% of men in their 30s will start to experience hair loss, and 40% of men in their 40s will already be experiencing hair loss. This rule changes in women — only 30% of women under the age of 50 experience hair loss, while 50% of women over the age of 50 will experience hair loss.
Learn more about types of hair loss and scalp diseases, select a diagnosis below for more information:
- Telogen Effluvium
- Prurigo Nodularis
- Pityriasis Amiantacea
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Neurodermatitis/Lichen Simples Chronicus of Scalp
- Acne Keloidalis Nuchae
- Post-Partum Hair Loss
- Hair Breakage/Chemical Damage
- Cicatricial Pemphigoid
- Discoid Lupus
- Dissecting Cellulitis
- Bacterial Folliculitis
- Tinea Capitis
- Traction Alopecia
- Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
- Lichen Planopilairs
- Central Centrifugal Alopecia
- Cicatricial Alopecia
- Alopecia Areata
- Male Androgenetic Alopecia
- Female Androgenetic Alopecia
For a consultation contact Houston Hair Loss Clinic today. Our friendly staff and hair loss experts will work with you to determine the best treatment plan to restore your hair and your confidence.