Some hair loss (50-100 per day) is normal and healthy. Healthy hair has a cycle of growth, resting, falling out, and being replaced by a new hair shaft. Even after the hair shaft has fallen, the hair follicle remains under the skin ready to make new hair. Alopecia is when something goes wrong in the follicle, forcing it to stay in the resting phase. If you’ve been told you have alopecia, that means your hair is falling faster than it would have naturally.
Mental and physical stress can put a larger-than-normal number of hair follicles into the resting phase, where they stop growing and even push the hair shaft out, yikes! Luckily, it doesn’t have to be permanent and these hairs can be returned to their growth phase.
In extreme cases, stress can even cause your immune system to attack your own hair, causing it to fall out. It can also cause hair loss indirectly with a psychological coping mechanism known as trichotillomania, where you feel the urge to pull out your hair.
What’s more is stress can also accelerate genetic hair loss, learning ways to cope and counteract stress can protect your hair.
If you’re an adult over the age of 35 with a full head of hair, consider yourself lucky. Male pattern baldness affects 80% of men by age 80. Women can also suffer from female pattern baldness, and both are caused by genetics. Over half of women will experience pattern baldness by age 80, often starting after menopause. That makes this the most common form of hair loss.
Are your parents to blame for your thinning hair?
You can tell if your hair loss is genetic by its shape. Men experience a bald spot on the crown; they also experience a receding hairline, often with the center unaffected. Women will see hair loss along the part of their hair. Both patterns increase gradually with age.
You might have heard a man can only inherit the gene from his maternal grandfather, but it’s not so simple. We don’t fully understand which genes cause pattern baldness, and it’s not even just one gene that’s responsible. So far, we think at least 63 different genes all come together to determine whether a man will lose hair, and we know even less about how women inherit it.
You also might have heard that sexual activity and exercise can increase hair loss due to testosterone production, but these are just myths.
We don’t know of any cure for this one, but you can slow it down with a healthy lifestyle, low stress, medication, and transplants.
Radiation like chemotherapy, chemicals like hormones or medications, or biological agents like infections or fevers can all interrupt the growth cycle of your hair. It can be reversible when the source of poison stops, but other times the hair follicles can die off. Air and water pollution, harmful cosmetics and styling products, and debris can block the hair from growing out, and eventually lead to a permanent condition called “miniaturization”.
Braiding or pulling on your hair puts tension on the roots. Normally this won’t do much, but the more you do it, the higher the risk of pulling out the hair stem cells. Tight hairstyles will eventually wear down the hair follicles, leading them to fall out with the hair shafts.
Excessive brushing and heat can also harm your hair, preventing it from growing back. Be gentle when brushing, styling, and drying your hair. Try holding a towel on your head to absorb the moisture instead of rubbing, and air-dry instead of blow-drying.
A few things like changes in diet, changes in body weight, or stopping the use of birth control can alter the natural balance in the body, forcing hairs into the resting phase and leading to temporary hair loss.
Temporary hair loss is normal, and many other factors contribute to it. If your hair isn’t growing back, visit a physician for solutions. If that’s not enough, hair transplantation is an effective option to give you your hair back. Call us at 321-312-4168 to schedule a consultation and find out what the best solution for your hair situation is.