At least once in your life, you have come across your hair falling excessively or growing too slow, right? Most of the time, this uncomfortable situation, which often happens with many women, is related to inadequate use of hair products, hormonal changes, lack of necessary care or even a poor diet missing essential nutrients.
For humans, the idea of baldness can be frightening. Hair loss has a huge emotional impact on those affected. Women suffer more than men because in women the hair is also considered an attribute of female beauty.
In different human races, there are variations as to the ripple, color, and thickness of the hair. The characteristics of the molecular structures and the life cycle of hair, however, are the same for all peoples, and in fact, all people will lose hair, some more; others less.
The main factor of hair loss in men is the androgenic alopecia – andro = male and genetic hormone = predisposition transmitted by genes – that causes chronic and diffuse hair loss. The evolution of androgenetic alopecia begins at around 17 or 18 years, with a significant daily decrease of the hair. In women, the factors of the baldness can also be hereditary, and due to the excessive use of products and even thyroid problem. Some contraceptive pills can also hair loss. If this occurs, you should consult with a gynecologist, who will try to replace the used contraceptive. But, whether male or female and regardless of race and age, hair has a growth cycle with three distinct stages of development:
In one of our posts we have talked about the growth cycle of the eyelashes. Do you want to know more about how the hair cycle works? So keep reading this post to the end and understand all about it.
Stages of the hair cycle
Stage 1: Anagen (Growth)
The first stage of the hair’s life cycle is called anagen or growth. During this period, the hair is born at the lower end of the hair follicles from regeneration and increased capillary fiber production and grow independently.
Each follicle has its own life, and the hair grows independently from each other, not all together. The anagen phase lasts from three to six years. During this period the hair grows regularly about 0.3 mm per day (1 cm per month). At this stage, the hair root is deeply inserted into the dermis, and our hair has about 80% to 90% of the hair
The hair length is determined by this stage, the longer this stage lasts, the longer the hair will be.
Phase 2: Catagen (Rest)
The catagenic phase also called the hair resting period, is the period in which the hairs are detached from the lower end of the hair follicles, and go to the surface of the scalp, where they remain without growth and preparing for his death and subsequent fall. This phase lasts between three and four weeks.
Phase 3: Telogen (Fall)
In the third and final stage of the hair’s life cycle, where the hair is still attached to the follicles on the surface of the scalp and continue for three months. After this time, they fall when you brush and wash your hair, being pushed by new hair in the anagen phase, thus beginning a new life cycle.
Normal growth and hair loss
Once you know what the three stages of the hair cycle are, you need to know when growth and fall are within the normal range of life of each hair. Hair usually grows between 1cm and 1.25cm a month during its anagen phase, which lasts between three to seven years, as you have learned throughout the article.
In its telogen phase, it is normal for us to lose between 80 to 100 hairs a day, which are slightly replaced by new hairs in the growth phase. If you notice that you are losing more hair than normal and that it is not being replaced with a new one, there may be some problem. We recommend you to see a dermatologist and check what may be happening after some clinical examination.
Each hair evolves independently of the capillary process of those around it. Throughout your life, your hair can go through 20 different cycles from the time it is born until it falls. The number of follicles each person has (between 130,000 and 150,000) goes down over the years. The more advanced our age is, the more the production of the hair fiber of the anagen phase decreases, starting to produce less hair until finally, it stops producing, which is when we reach the old age, and we begin to deal with the baldness.
The hair cycle varies from person to person and it is influenced by many factors:
– Age: during childhood, the percentage of hair in the anagen phase reaches its peak. From puberty comes down slowly.
– Ethnic origin: Asians, blacks, and Caucasians do not have the same capillary cycle. The anagen phase, for example, is longer in people of Asian origin.
– Sex: the anagen phase lasts longer in women than in men.
– Male hormones (androgens): have a significant influence on the hair cycle, and can accelerate excessively. The hair follicle arrives more quickly at the end of its capacity of production, and the hair dies definitively.
– The time: the hair in the telogen phase are more numerous in the spring and autumn. So it is normal to see more hair falling during these periods.
– Food: certain dietary deficiencies can reduce or even suspend the growth phase of hair. Proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids are indispensable for good hair health.
In healthy people, 90% of the hair is anagenous (growth) and only 10% in the catagenic (resting) or telogen (falling) phases. If there is an imbalance to this, it is essential to consult a dermatologist to detect the real causes of their fall and difficulty in hair growth, which in most cases are linked to the factors we mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Here is a brief list of factors responsible for hair loss:
Poor Protein Diet
Some people who eat protein-poor diets or have bad eating habits may develop protein malnutrition. The body will save its proteins by causing the hair to go into the resting phase. After two or three months there may be a massive fall of hair.
Some types of cancer treatments will cause the cells responsible for hair growth to stop dividing. The hair then begins to thin and brittle. This occurs one to three weeks after the start of treatment. Patients can lose more than 90% of their hair. At the end of treatment, hair growth begins.
Low Iron Level in the Blood
Iron deficiency can also lead to hair loss. Some people do not ingest or absorb iron. Women who have a menstrual period of prolonged volume or duration may also develop this deficiency. Laboratory tests can detect iron-lowering in blood and this can be corrected with iron-containing medications.
When a woman is pregnant, she loses less hair than she would normally lose if she were not pregnant. However, after delivery, many hairs enter the resting phase of the cycle. In approximately 2 to 3 months after birth, some women will notice increased amounts of hair on their brushes. This can last from one to six months.
This is the type of hair loss that takes a small, rounded area without hair. Rarely, complete loss of hair on the scalp and body occurs. This change may occur in children and adults of any age.