Spotting the signs of hair loss can range from seeing more hair in the plug, extra hair in the brush or being able to feel it with your fingers. There are various reasons why hair could be thinning – hormones, diet, lifestyle, stress, pollutants – and it’s important you see a trichologist who can diagnose it properly. HAIR have got together with consultant dermatologist and hair expert, Dr Sharon Wong who explains the signs to look for if you feel your hair is thinning or you are worried about extreme hair loss.
There are many causes of hair loss:
Genetic – male pattern balding and female pattern hair loss are by far the commonest causes of hair loss.
Causes of hair shedding (telogen effluvium) – medications, emotional stress, nutritional deficiencies, recent ill health, dramatic weight loss, hormone shifts (stopping or being on the wrong contraceptives, post pregnancy, menopause).
Alopecia areata – an autoimmune form of hair loss meaning that the patient’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles leading to hair loss.
Scarring forms of hair loss – these are a rarer group of conditions in which inflammation damages a critical part of the upper hair follicle where the stem cells are located and eventually replaces the hair follicle with scar tissue, resulting in permanent hair loss.
Traction – hair loss that results from prolonged and repetitive pulling forces applied to the hair through styling and grooming practices.
GETTING TO THE ROOT OF IT:
The hair follicle is a dynamic mini organ embedded in our skin which, throughout our lifetime, has the amazing capacity to repeatedly and cyclically churn out the complex keratin structure that is our hair. Each hair follicle on our scalp undergoes three stages of a life cycle. Anagen is the active growing phase, which can last between 2-7 years during which the hair becomes longer and thicker. After anagen, the hair follicle moves into the short transitional phase called catagen when the hair fibre stops growing, followed by the resting phase telogen which lasts around 3 months. During telogen the old hair is gradually pushed up towards the skin surface before it is then shed naturally and replaced with a new emerging anagen hair. This cycle continues repeatedly throughout our lifetime and each hair follicle is cycling independently of neighbouring follicles, meaning that human hair growth is asynchronised.
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