101 Guide To Dealing With Hair Loss
Posted by Ana Kozlova in Health & Lifestyle, Hair
Is that a bald patch?
That is a question we have all asked our friends who were then quick to reassure us that we are way too young to be getting bald patches.
Bald patches are more common than we talk about, and in celebration of Father’s Day, we’d like to mention that it is a reality we all equally dread. After all, hair is a sign of youth and fertility, and hair loss is like a pesky Google Calendar reminder nagging at you that old age is coming.
Thankfully, not everything is so black and white and old age is not the only reason we begin losing hair. In reality, there is a myriad of reasons for this. In fact, data from the American Academy of Family Practice shows that approximately two-thirds of men will experience some degree of hair loss by the age of 35, with over 80% dealing with it by the age of 50. And as for women? This could begin as soon as you give birth!
“Around 50 to 150 hairs are shed each day,” says Dr Hugh Rushton, a trichologist at the University of Portsmouth. “This will vary from person to person but so long as new hairs are being produced at the same rate, it means that your scalp is healthy!”
The hair cycles
Our hair goes through 3 main stages in its growth: anagen, catagen and telogen. During anagen, keratin, a protein left over from dead cells, is forced upwards from the hair follicles. This build-up of dead cells is what we call hair and will grow about a centimetre each month.
After 2-7 years, depending on how lucky you are, the follicles send a signal to transition into catagen phase, a phase during which our hair begins regressing and slowly cutting off blood flow to the hair follicles. This lasts around 2-3 weeks after which the hair follicles have closed and formed hair clubs, now entering the telogen phase. The hair loss phase.
“During telogen, up to 200 hair clubs will be shed a day, which is perfectly normal,” says Sarthak Sinha, a PhD Candidate researching cell regeneration at the University of Calgary. “Hair loss turns into balding when our follicles are unable to continue the cycle and return to the anagen phase.”
Reasons for hair loss
This may be caused by a multitude of reasons from an unfortunate genetic pool to a poor diet. However, in many of us the most common reason is stress.
“Stress is a major contributor to hair loss, as high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) can release shock-like adrenaline signals to the follicles, forcing a premature telogen phase,” says hairstylist at Philip Kingsley.
Other reasons for hair loss are linked to hormonal changes, and even over styling!
What to do about it
While this may sound like a lengthy science lesson, understanding the way our body works is the first step to dealing with all the problems we will encounter, like balding!
You shouldn’t change your lifestyle drastically because it may actually cause much more hair loss than not, but it is important to consider the small changes you can start making, like eating more foods containing healthy fats (avocados, nuts) and finding methods to de-stress. For other reasons like genetics, hormonal shifts and medication you may need to supplement what your body is missing with serums, masks and scrubs which work perfectly well, too!
If you’re not really sure which products will work for you and don’t have the time to find out, take our quiz for more personalised matches!