Hair loss seems to be more prominent in men, but women are just as likely to experience hair loss or thinning hair. Women will notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any time. The way hair grows all depends on what’s happening underneath. A normal hair cycle should produce hair. Things that can interfere with the hair growth cycle include illness, infections, medication, or chemicals. These all have the potential to stop hair from forming properly.
Shedding Phase of the Hair Growth Cycle
There are about 100,000 hair follicles on the scalp. New hair develops in the follicle, it pushes out the hair shaft, creating longer hair, but not all the follicles are growing new hair at the same time. Hair grows in cycles. Thank goodness, otherwise it would all fall out at the same time! The hair growth cycle is made up of four phases: anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen.
Stages of Hair Growth
The first part of the cycle is the anagen phase. This is the growing phase with 80-90% of the hair follicles in this phase at any given time. This phase can last two to seven years. The catagen phase is next. It is a short, transitional phase where the hair will stop growing and detach itself from the blood supply. It lasts two to three weeks. The telogen phase is a resting phase and as when the old hair is resting on top of where the new hair will grow. This lasts about three months with 10 -15 % of hairs in this phase at any at any given time. The exogen stage is when hair is shed. This is when the hair detaches and falls out. All the hair on the scalp will eventually fall out. Once the exogen phase ends, the follicle returns to the anagen phase and the cycle starts all over again.
How Much Hair Loss is Normal when Brushing or Washing Hair?
The American Academy of Dermatology states that most people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair every day, and 250 can be lost on days when hair is washed. It can be time consuming to count the hairs that are falling out. There are ways you can tell if it’s shedding more than it should. Larger amounts of hair on your pillow in the morning and more hair on your comb or brush than usual without tugging hard. While men tend to lose hair from the forehead or the crown of their head, women will notice thinning on the top third to one half of their scalp. Women may also notice wider parts or more scalp showing when they pull their hair back.
How to Prevent Hair Loss
While hair loss is a normal part of the growth cycle, lots of shedding can happen for several reasons. When more follicles than normal go from anagen to catagen, hair will fall out and appear thinner. You can prevent this by getting lots of sleep, reducing stress levels, exercising regularly, avoiding crash diets, staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet. There are supplements that can be taken to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
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