All About Hair for Women
Hair Facts and Function
Hair growth undergoes a cyclic process, which begins with a hair development stage called anagen, then followed by hair death or catagen, and ends with follicle rest or telogen. A full anagen-catagen-telogen cycle can take years to complete.
The normal hair count ranges between 100,000 to 150,000, with the loss of up to 100 strands per day being within normal range. Hair is thickest at around age 20 and it continues to become thinner by age of 65 to 70 when it becomes very thin and frail. Hair loss is genetically predisposed and can be inherited from either or both parents. Hair follicles, which are sensitive to DHT male hormone begin to shrink as men age and will eventually never regrow. Hair loss in men averages 15% between the ages of 18-29 and increases to approximately 50% by age of 50. By the age of 40 the rate of hair loss decreases to 10% for each decade.
The breaking strength of hair is 160 g, and it can be stretched as much as 30% when the hair is wet before breaking. The average growth rate for hair, varying by age, is 0.38 mm per day, 0.5 inches per month, and 7 inches per year. Growth begins to slow down during older age, pregnancy, illness, and in cold weather. It increases during adolescence. It is interesting to note that the number of hair follicles distributed over the body is approximately 5 million in both sexes.
Generally, there are two types of hair, Vellus and Terminal. Vellus hair is short, discolored and soft, while terminal hair is thicker, longer, and more colored. Living in cooler regions has been associated with blonde hair due to less melanin, while those living in warmer temperatures are said to have darker and thicker hair. Hair shafts grown in a lifetime will extend about 700 miles.
It is a mystery how hair follicles undergo this cycling process. Hair follicles are one of the few organs or tissues of the human body that undergo cyclic degeneration and regeneration throughout the human lifetime. The cycle is not affected by change of seasons, as is the case with animals that experience a change in hair color and growth. The causes of hair follicle cycling are buried deeply in human development. We are born with mature hair follicles, but what exactly causes the follicles to begin their life-long pattern of anagen-catagen-telogen cycling is not clear.
A number of gene-derived signaling molecules have been identified as regulators of the hair cycle. However not yet understood is how these molecular regulators coordinate their activities to initiate and terminate the anagen-catagen-telogen cycling phases.
Over the last decade, researchers began to understand the central role played by stem cells in hair follicle cycling. Every hair follicle contains a permanent reservoir of multi potent stem cells (stem cells that have the capacity to participate in growth, development and repair of tissues). The eventual understanding of this process of stem cell replenishment may contribute to molecular-level treatments to revive hair follicles that have stopped producing mature hair.
Normal And Abnormal Hair Loss
Throughout our life span, we lose hair every day as hair follicles go through their normal cyclic activity of anagen (growth phase-90%), catagen (shedding phase), and telogen (resting phase-10%). The average number of scalp hairs lost daily from a full head of hair due to normal catagen activity is up to 100. Hair loss due to this typical cycling process is considered normal, as it is the amount of hair loss a person is accustomed to seeing. Over the course of several cycles, this normal hair loss is recognized as temporary, as the lost hairs will be replaced by new growth. When substantially more than 100 hairs are lost per day, one might be concerned as it may indicate an abnormal hair loss.
For the most part, we are unaware that we are losing hair every day. We never stop to consider that this lost hair is also dead hair that has lived through the normal cycle of hair development. If your hair is healthy and heredity is on your side, those hairs will be replaced and the hair loss will not be noticeable.
Many of us experience hair breakage that should be distinguished from hair loss. Hair that is falling out will have a little white bulb on the end. This white bulb is not the hair root, as you can’t lose the root. Rather, it is a part of the hair nearest to the root. Since the active hair root doesn’t come out with the hair, there is always the possibility for new growth. The first warning signs of extreme hair loss or baldness appear when excessive amounts of hair fall out when you brush your hair. You may also find a lot of hairs on your pillow, or even some thinning on the temple or on the crown of your head.
A more advanced sign of creeping baldness is a definite recession of the hairline. Androgenetic alopecia, a form of male pattern hair loss, is a common fear among men and women with a family history of hair loss. Even if your genes have predetermined that you will eventually lose your hair, there still are several steps you can take to slow this process down. For starters, you need not wait for evidence of substantial permanent hair loss. Seek advice from a physician hair restoration specialist who will diagnose the cause of hair loss and recommend a medical treatment to slow or reverse hair loss at the earliest state.
Psycho Social Impact of Hair Loss
Hair loss can have a profound psychosocial effect on people’s lives – especially younger ages – as it impacts one’s self-esteem, self-image, one’s relationships, career, and sex life. It can significantly alter someone’s self-perception and/or make them hyper aware of other people’s perception of them.
While hair restoration seeks to restore a satisfactory self-image, it is important to have realistic expectations about the results of hair restoration and its effect on self-perception. A realistic expectation is to achieve an increase in hair density, satisfactory for hair styling and overall cosmetic appearance.
Emotional and psychological impact on hair loss have been clearly studied in the past. Some problems associated with hair loss include loss of self-esteem (feeling unattractive and undesirable), social dysfunction (avoiding social outings), anxiety and depression (feeling that hair loss is an immense disturbance in one’s life). Dr. Meshkin will take the time to discuss each patient’s feelings and fully answer all questions. He will conduct the diagnostic examinations and tests necessary to establish a diagnosis. Studies have found that men can often cope with hair loss better than women as they are more comfortable with finding means to hide their hair loss. Men are more likely to discuss it openly with a hair stylist, and develop hair styles that disguise their hair loss. Women have been found to have a more psychological investment in their appearance than men, making them that much more sensitive to hair loss.
Understanding that hair loss can dramatically improve one’s appearance, age and lifestyle, Dr. Meshkin will take great care to design a treatment program that will create the optimal results for his patients.
Nutritional Factors in Hair Loss
Crash diets and caloric deprivation of less than 1,000 calories per day or sudden weight loss of more than 20 pounds have been reported to be associated with hair loss. The evidence of hair shedding can be noticed one month after the diet begins. Nutritional factors that are necessary for hair growth are: protein, fatty acids, Zinc, Iron, Biotin, Magnesium, and vitamins A, C, E, and B complex. Like any other body organ, the hair needs food to grow. Therefore, it is important to know about the quality and quantity of the various nutrients necessary for healthier hair. Tailoring of a diet to achieve a reasonable weight-loss goal must include appropriate levels of essential nutrients.
Certain nutritional deficiencies are known to be specifically associated with hair loss such as:
- Iron deficiency
- Zinc deficiency
- Protein deficiency
- Biotin deficiency
Your daily food intake should contain adequate vitamins including: vitamin A 800mcg, biotin 50mcg, folic acid 400mcg, vitamin C100mg, vitamin E 10mg and Zinc 10mg per day. Should you decide to engage in a weight-loss program, before or after hair transplantation you should discuss the intention with a hair restoration specialist. You should take caution to avoid diets that could cause or contribute to hair loss.