Hair Loss 101

Who doesn’t love a full head of thick, shiny hair?

Research shows that Indian men and women are genetically blessed with thick lush hair. In terms of hair health, Indian hair is the best – has better thickness, tensile strength, shine, and smoothness compared to African, Asian and European types. Indian hair is also the densest of the lot. Now imagine that you start losing such a precious beauty asset by the clumps – it can be really depressing.

There’s always a reason behind why such hair loss happens. Actually, losing a few strands daily is not something you should worry about. Your regular body mechanism can lead to losing up to 100 strands a day. Most doctors consider this within the normal range.

Here are some hair facts for you – normally, hair grows in cycles of growing, resting and shedding and each strand has a life of 4-6 years. On an average, everyone with a head full of hair has more or less one lakh follicles. Of this, it is estimated that about 85 to 90 percent are in the growth phase, about 10 to 15 percent are resting and hair falls during this stage of your hair.

hair-loss-101

How does the growth cycle work?

Hair life cycle has three phases namely Anagen phase when the hair growth takes place, Catagen phase when hair stops growing, and Telogen phase when hair starts to shed. During the Anagen phase the follicles rise again pushing the hair through the skin to its predestined length. During this phase the sebaceous glands are active. An average person will see a growth rate of 1/4 to 1/2 inches a month. In fact this is the longest phase, which can last from three to six years. In the Catagen phase hair stops growing and the sebaceous glands slow down and the hair is in the rest phase, which can last up to three weeks. Finally, in the Telogen phase the sebaceous glands stop working, and the hair shafts get weakened and your strands literally die and get loose from the follicles. So any rubbing, brushing and washing will pull the strands out. This phase can last two to three months. This keeps on happening a regular cycle.

So when should you worry about hair loss? There’s nothing to worry when you see a strand or two coming off on to your comb or pillow. You should be worried when you notice hair coming out in clumps or you see more of your scalp than your hair. While in men hair loss leads to receding hairline, and bald spot on the scalp, in women the first sign of hairloss is widening of the part, or a smaller ponytail. The hair quality also becomes thinner and wispy. For women the thinning is more visible on the crown of the head.

Why hair loss?

The biggest culprit is stress, followed by chronic or acute illness, and harsh medication. In men heredity also plays a big role in how the hair thinning will happen. In women issues like anaemia, thyroid, pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, menopause, vitamin deficiency, and excessive chemical hair treatments can lead to hair thinning, brittleness, and breakage. Other external causes that lead to hair dryness and thinning also include pollution, sun damage and using hard water for washing your hair.

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