On average, a person loses 50–100 hairs a day – more in the winter, fewer in the summer. This is completely normal as every hair has a life cycle. The life cycle comprises the growth phase, the transitional phase and the resting phase. To put it simply, a hair grows until the hair root sheath slowly shrivels up and the hair falls out. Each hair has its own growth cycle, which is why you cannot see your hair changing.
How can you be sure your daily hair loss is normal? Of course, you do not need to start counting the hair falling out. But if you notice more hair than usual in the shower drain, there are bald patches on your scalp or the hair has generally got thinner, we recommend consulting a doctor or another expert to find out why your hair is in poor health. This will give you a head start so that you could slow down or even stop the process.
Getting old! That’s right – getting older is naturally accompanied by thinning of the hair. Often, there is no point trying to find an illness or any other specific reason behind it. As you grow older, there will be three times fewer follicles (hair root sheaths) in the scalp than there were when you were younger. Furthermore, the growth phase of a hair will become shorter, meaning that the hair will not have time to grow in length anymore.
Short-term hair loss may be caused by hormonal changes, medications, illnesses or stress. In this case, several hairs will remain in the resting phase at the same time and no new hair is grown at normal speed. Incorrect treatment of the hair may cause a situation where the hair breaks before the end of its life cycle. However, these are temporary issues, and when solved, hair growth should be restored.
Hair loss caused by trauma. In case of surgery or any damage to the scalp, the hair may stop growing in the scar tissue area.
Genetic balding or alopecia is a condition that affects both men and women. With alopecia, the hair follicles stop functioning properly at some point in time. This is caused by an inherited sensitivity towards a form of testosterone – dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It makes the hair brittler, the hair stops growing in length and loses its pigment. The follicles are slowly regressing, the hair falls out and no new hair is grown.
With men, hereditary balding can be verified with a simple examination. If a woman is suspected to have hereditary balding, she is tested either through a blood test or a scalp test.
NOTE! About half of the people suffering from hair loss have genetic balding. It can come from both your (grand)mother and your (grand)father!
Men can exhibit signs of hereditary balding in teenage years already, or right after that. The sooner it starts, the faster the process is. The hair starts thinning, the hairline is receding on the forehead and temples and hair growth on top of the head is slowing down.
Women exhibit signs of hereditary balding mostly after the age of 40 or during menopause. The process of the hair falling out is not as severe as in men. The hair is thinning out evenly, gets brittle and slows down growing into length, although women generally never lose all of their hair.
The onset of the signs of hereditary balding cannot really be prevented.
In case of a temporary hair loss, go over your lifestyle:
– Eat right! Weak and brittle hair is often the result of a lack of minerals or nutrients. Protein is an essential structural material making up hair, boosting its strength and stopping hair loss. Meat, fish, milk, nuts, almonds and eggs are great sources of protein. It is also important to keep your iron, copper, zinc and vitamin D levels up.
– Be positive! Stress causes hair growth to stop and leads to premature hair loss. It is not always easy to relieve stress, but for starters, you need to get some rest and find moments to relax. This will energise the whole body and boost the hair roots with energy to keep on going.
– Consult your doctor. Sometimes, excessive hair loss might indicate a health problem that needs specialist attention and certain medications. Long-term medical treatment will also leave its mark on the hair. Make sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
– Try some specialised hair treatment products. These help a lot when it comes to hair loss due to ageing or your lifestyle. Specialised hair products boost blood circulation in the scalp and strengthen the roots.
In case of permanent hair loss, the rules are a little different:
– Consult an expert! Stronger medications for battling hereditary balding are different for women and men. Women can try hormone therapy with antiandrogens, which can be somewhat helpful for hair loss. Men have sometimes seen results in using finasteride pills, but not always.
– Try some specialised hair treatment products. In case of genetic balding, it is not possible to stop hair loss once and for all. However, in the early stages of alopecia, products boosting hair growth are recommended to support the capillary circulation and strengthen the remaining roots. This way, the issue can be postponed, even if just a little.
– Hair transplants. If hair loss has taken a toll on your self-esteem and nothing else has helped, you could try having the hairs extracted from the nape transplanted on the bald area. To allow the transplanted hair to grow, it should be planted in a fertile “ground” – this can be supported by leading a healthy lifestyle, above all.