For a better understanding of the hair growth process, imagine a garden. If under the ground the roots are saturated with all the necessary elements and the growing process is going well – it will bloom and smell nice. Wendy Roberts, MD, a private practice dermatologist in Rancho Mirage, California, says that the result of the normal hair cycle, just like in the garden, should be good fruit. In our case, this is hair. One of the reasons for hair loss is a violation of this cycle, as well as various factors that affect hair during the growth period: drugs, diseases, chemicals, and infections.
It may seem that the problem of balding affects men more often than women. However, most women aged 50–60 are facing hair thinning, weakening, and eventually hair loss. We should understand that this can happen at any age.
Hair growth phases
There are three cycles of hair growth:
- Anagen is the phase of growth which lasts between two and eight years. More than 90% of all hair on the head is in this state.
- Telogen is the period that lasts between two and four months in which the hair is resting.
- Catagen is the period between two and three weeks during which the hair follicles form.
Of course, there is no sense in avoiding washing, because hair will fall out anyway. This is a completely normal process.
If you want, you can roughly calculate how many hairs fall out per day. You can track when this process gets more intense and severe. For example, in the morning you should pay attention to your pillow, and perhaps it will have more hair than usual. Also, if you notice an increased number of hair on your comb, try not to tug or damage your curls.
Although hair loss in women is less noticeable than in men (since its diffusive type), it can cause the same or even worse feeling of stress and discomfort. It will be especially noticeable if you pull the hair back in a tight hairstyle. When the problem worsens and hair loss becomes noticeable, it is necessary to consult a doctor. First of all, he will advise you to take a blood test in order to exclude autoimmune diseases and problems with the thyroid gland.
Androgenic alopecia is a hereditary disease. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it affects about 30 million women in the United States. Usually, the first signs appear at the age of 50–60, but it can begin earlier, even as a teenager. During the disease, the normal hair follicle gradually fades, each time making hair thinner and thinner.
If a mother, aunt, or grandmother experienced such a problem, then you have a good chance of having it as well. After analysis, you might consider possible predisposition. The doctor can examine the condition of your follicles. If he notices a large number of weakened ones, then it is likely that the balding process has begun.
In a situation where baldness begins to occur suddenly, and follicles have a normal size, it is worth considering factors other than genetics. In addition to genetics, there are many other reasons for hair loss. For example, pregnancy, anemia, thyroid disease, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc. The connection between menopause and hair loss has not yet been proven. All these processes happen at the same age, and often are not related to each other.
Other factors that can cause hair loss: physical trauma, severe weight loss, excessive workouts, excessive vitamin A consumption, and stress. Those triggers can cause baldness symptoms for the next two weeks, or up to half of a year.
Care for hair
Very often, baldness can be caused by ignoring the rules of proper hair care. Hairstyles that are too tight, tails, and braids can lead to negative effects because the hair roots are under tension. Dyes, hair dryers, ironing, chemicals, aggressive drying with towel, and frequent hair washing all have a damaging effect on your curls.
These kinds of problems can be easily avoided. Even with some hair loss that has already happened, you have a chance for quick recovery by taking proper care and performing medical procedures. However, if you are concerned about hair loss and you notice that the situation has gotten worse, you should immediately contact a trichologist.