It is an unfortunate fact that many men, and a
surprisingly high number of women, will suffer from some form of
hair loss during their lives and often that hair loss will be
permanent. Since hair has been falling out of heads, medical science
has been attempting to find the true cause of hair loss.
To understand fully hair loss we need to look at how hair grows
and what factors can interfere with this natural process.
Hair growth occurs in two distinct phases, the growth phase known
as the Anagen phase and the resting phase known as the Telogen
phase. The vast majority of hair on our head (as much as 90%) at any
one time is in a 2-7 year growth phase. The remaining hairs are in a
resting phase that can last anywhere between two to four months.
A normal rate of hair loss is between 50 to 150 hairs a day. Once
a hair has been shed that particular follicle begins a growth phase,
as the lost hair now needs to be replaced.
If everything goes according to plan this cycle of growth and
rest continues through many cycles during our life.
Hair loss problems can result when this natural cycle is
disrupted and the natural fallout rate exceeds that natural
re-growth rate. Additionally, certain factors can lead to hair
re-growth that is much weaker and thinner than the previous hair
that is being replaced.
Here the problem can go unnoticed for many years. Since each hair
is being replaced there does not appear to be a problem. However,
over the years each re-growth of shed hair is getting progressively
weaker and thinner. In this case baldness and hair loss can appear
to be a very sudden onset, but it is something that has been active
for several years.
It is now believed that the cause of hair loss is an increased
level of testosterone (that begins in puberty) that eventually leads
to an excessive imbalance in another hormone DHT
If there are large amounts of DHT present, blood supply to the
hair follicle is reduced and over time the actual blood vessels that
feed each hair follicle begin to shrink, making blood flow to the
hair follicles even more difficult.
A deficient blood supply leads to weak, thin hair re-growth,
which gets progressively worse over time. The eventual outcome is a
growth that is little more than wispy short hair that is barely
At this stage the person is suffering from a condition known as
androgenic allopecia, more commonly known as male pattern baldness.
Specifically why and how these levels of DHT get to the level
where they create a problem with hair loss is not known. At this
point in time the cause is largely attributed to genetic factors.
Apart from our understanding of the causes of hair loss that is
more or less permanent, there are several factors affecting men and
women that can cause temporary hair loss.
Some of the more common cause of temporary hair loss are; scalp
infections; improper use of hair care products; side affects of some
medications and medical procedures (surgery and chemotherapy for
example) and inadequate nutrition for healthy hair growth.
Usually once the cause of hair loss is established and the
appropriate treatment given, hair growth can return to normal.
At the very least, an appropriate hair care regime should be in
place. As part of this regime adequate nutrition should be stressed,
including nutrients that have a known hair growth function, such as
Biotin, Zinc and the herb Saw Pallmeto.
Today there are many hair loss treatment options available. There
is a range of natural over the counter preparations that have
undergone some clinical trials and have had some success in stopping
hair loss and promoting re-growth of normal healthy hair.
And if the natural way does not deliver the desired results,
there are always hair restoration techniques such as hair
extensions, hair transplants and wigs that offer even more options
to treat hair loss.
When following these treatments to control and cure hair loss, be
sure to adhere strictly to the guidelines prescribed by your doctor
for each one.