If you could see the fall of the dead skin cells that we continually discard, you would be surprised to see a cloud swirling around us, on all sides, constantly, like when we see the snow blown by the wind in a distant mountain.
All of us lose dead tissue; it is part of the continuous renewal of our body. Red blood cells last about 4 months; white cells live for a year, skin cells last for two to three weeks. A neuron can last a lifetime.
Hair is no exception; hair shedding is natural and is part of the cell renewal process.
However, this “hair shedding” is different from “hair loss”, which is a process caused extreme conditions, like Alopecia and is very different to the mechanisms of Hair renewal we are talking about in this article.
The life cycle
Human hair growth goes through a life cycle of three stages: growth, rest and fall.
These phases have a duration that varys depending on several factors such as genes, diet, hormonal balance, and others. Each hair is in its own phase independently of the other hairs that surround it, and during its entire life it can pass through about 20 cycles until its definitively lost.
Let’s talk a little about each of these stages.
The first stage is known as anagenic or growth stage: hair is born and stays attached to the follicle during this part of the cycle that can last from 2 to 7 years. Hair grows, under normal conditions, one centimeter per month while it is in this stage. The durability of the hair in this phase depends on the genes that the person has received from their parents. The longer the hair lasts in this phase the longer it will grow. At any given moment in time, during the duration of our entire life, 90% of the, approximately, 130,000 hairs a person has are in this stage of anagenic growth.
The second stage, transition or catagen stage is characterized by a stoppage of capillary growth and lasts about 3 weeks. This moment of the cycle is characterized by the cessation of all cellular activity in the hair follicle; it loses its shape and shrinks away from the hair root forcing it to move outward. This phase is driven by hormonal changes in the body.
The third phase is called the telogen stage, fall or rest stage. It lasts between one to four months and in this stage the hair is definitely detached from the follicle and falls. At any given time about 10% of all hair on the head is in this phase.
From this point one of two things happen, the follicle, after its rest, starts a new growth process, returns to its normal size and generates new hair; or ceases all activity and dies.
This is the normal process of hair shedding and there is no way to avoid it in the long term, as there is no way to prevent the aging of the entire organism.
What is alopecia?
However, under certain conditions, the hair falls earlier than expected, producing what is known as hair loss, and it is in this sense that science and technology have focused their efforts looking to cure the various anomalies we suffer.
In general, hair loss is known as alopecia, of which there are several types.
- Involutional alopecia: this the natural baldness due to age, more and more of the follicles go into catagenic phase and the hair goes thinner and weaker.
- Androgenic alopecia: This is dominated by the genes and is showed visibly by the baldness patterns in male and female heads. It is a lot more pronounced in males, who can experience this kind of alopecia as early as their 20´s, with a receding hairline and hair disappearance in specifics places in the scalp. Women experienced a general thinning of hair from their 40´s on.
- Alopecia areata: patchy hair loss is seen even in children but 90% of the time the hair grows back.
- Alopecia universalis: total hair loss, including eyelashes, eyebrows and pubic hair.
Scarring alopecia: this is baldness produced by skin conditions and diseases like lupus. Anything that produces a scar in the scalp could produce this kind of alopecia.
Other loss factors
In addition to these different types of alopecia other conditions can cause or accelerate hair loss, sometimes dramatically.
Hormonal androgen imbalance can cause baldness in males.
The genes received from the parents can influence, more or less, the predisposition towards the development of baldness patterns.
Infections, parasites, stress, can cause temporary or permanent hair loss.
Various types of drugs, especially the combinations of drugs administered in chemotherapies, particularly those specialized to attack cells of very rapid growth and division rate, like those of cancer. Other drugs such as those used to control high blood pressure and contraceptives can also influence hair loss.
Immunity diseases that alter body defense processes can generate various types of alopecia.
Various diseases such as thyroid disease, lupus, diabetes, anemia, minerals and vitamins deficiencies, affects hair health. Usually when the disease is treated the hair grows back.
Diets with severe protein deficiency also cause hair loss.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT?
Lets find out….
New and innovative solutions
As we can see, the problem is complex due to the large number of variables involved. Medical and research science has sought answers and alternatives of various kinds, trying to achieve durable solutions based on drugs such as minoxidil, laser treatments and finasteride.
However there is another possibility that has shown great results: the application of keratin fibers, charged with static electricity, in the areas where hair loss has created permanent baldness.
This cosmetic solution has unbeatable characteristics, does not need any type of surgery and is applied in a few minutes without specialized intervention.
Now you can manage your difficult bald spots in your scalp as easily as applying cream to the skin or some nice cologne.