It's normal to see hair strands being shed at the shower or left on the pillow. But what's alarming to most people is when these strands appear greater in number than the usual and are lost more frequently. People who see their hair strands often on their brushes or on the floor all had that fear that one day all that will be left are their scalps.
But now, advancements in technology and medicine have made it possible to provide safer and more effective means to solve this problem. Knowing the basic and important things about hair loss will be good preventive and treatment measures.
Normal Hair Loss Cycle
An average adult has 150,000 hair strands. Losing 50-100 strands a day is normal. As any other, the hair strands follow a normal cycle.
At any point in time, majority of the hair on the scalp is growing. Each hair strand, independent of the others, follows the cycle on its own pace. This cycle consists of three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. The first phase lasts for 2-6 years and is considered the growing phase. The second phase lasts for about 2-3 weeks and serves as the transitional phase of the growing of hair. The last phase is also known as the resting phase which lasts about 2-3 months. At the end of this phase, hair is shed to give way to the growth of a new and healthy strand.
Types Of Hair Loss
Alopecia is the term used to denote all types of hair loss. Different types characterize different occurrences of this condition.
Alopecia areata happens in the younger population. It happens suddenly, causing patches in the scalp. Hair regrowth is expected within 2-3 years.
Androgenic alopecia happens in both men and women. Men on their teens or early 20's may experience male pattern baldness. This is characterized by the loss of hair from the frontal or crown area that continues backwards. Women experience female pattern baldness during their 40's and is characterized by the thinning of hair on the entire scalp. This is another fact about hair loss: it affects both men and women.
Alopecia universalis is the condition of shedding all the hair in the body. This includes hair in the pubic area, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Trichotillomania is a psychological disorder wherein children pull out their hair. This can be attributed to psychological disturbances.
Telogen effluvium is a temporary type of hair loss. This is caused by the abnormal growth cycle where a large group of hair strands enter the resting phase altogether, leading to shedding of a larger number of hair.
Causes Of Hair Loss
A variety of factors contribute to this condition. The primary factor is age which is also considered a normal occurrence. Other reasons behind this condition include heredity, deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals, lifestyle routines, medical conditions, intake of certain drugs, way of styling the hair, and other factors. All these contribute to speeding the process of making hair brittle and prone to shedding.
Treatments For Hair Loss
For severe and diagnosed cases of hair loss, technology and medicine have different solutions. People suffering from hair loss may benefit from medications like Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia). The former can be bought over the counter and is applied on the scalp to stimulate the regrowth of hair. The latter is a pill that also helps hair to grow back and to slow down the process of shedding.
A lot of people suffer from this condition. But, being knowledgeable about hair loss facts and preventive measures will help lessen the adverse effects of this condition.