Even Your Doctor Can’t Explain This Clearly: Hair Loss 101

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If you started to notice more hairs on your pillow, it can be a sign of hair loss. It is a cosmetic problem that many men will encounter at some point in their lives. It is estimated that more than 85% of men will experience hair loss by the age of 50 and 95% of hair loss in men is caused by Androgenetic Alopecia (or Male Pattern Baldness). While that may sound scary, the good news is that hair loss is treatable in most cases.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Male Pattern Baldness, Androgenetic Alopecia, or Genetic Hair Loss is a genetic inheritance from our parents. It is the cause of most cases of hair loss in men. Male Pattern Baldness is a progressive condition and occurs in a predictable pattern. In men, It starts with shedding in the front part of the scalp above the forehead, which causes the hairline to gradually recede in men. This progresses to more noticeable hair loss on the top of the head and eventually towards the crown. However, in some cases shedding can start from the back of the head, particularly in the crown area; and progress toward the hairline, like a reverse balding. In women, Androgenetic alopecia occurs differently, occurring throughout the scalp rather than in specific areas as it does in men. The inherited balding genes (which can be passed down from the mother’s or father’s side -equally likely, please don’t blame your mother) make hair follicles sensitive to a male sex hormone called DHT, 

Dihydrotestosterone. DHT is an androgen that contributes to the development male sex characteristics, such as body hair, mustache and beard. It can also cause you to lose your hair faster and earlier. DHT is a more potent form of Testosterone and it binds to androgen receptors in some DHT-sensitive hair follicles and causes them to miniaturize and eventually stop producing hair. DHT is one of the main contributing factors to hair loss, but there are several other factors that can cause hair loss, and often more than one factor can be contributing.

  • Aging can cause hair loss.
  • Some medical conditions can cause hair loss such as thyroid disease and autoimmune diseases.
  • Scalp conditions can indirectly cause hair loss like dandruff, dermatitis, or eczema.
  • Diet and insufficient nutrition can cause hair loss
  • Side effects of medications like chemotherapy (cancer meds), steroids, high blood pressure, anabolic steroids, etc. can cause hair loss.
  • Traction Alopecia: Inability to resist pulling out hair under pressure, or excessive styling of hair.
  • Stress and anxiety: Major traumas such as the loss of a loved one or a traffic accident can cause hair loss, mostly temporary.
  • Scars, burns, or surgeries may damage the hair follicles and hair may not grow in those areas.

Understanding The Hair Growth Cycle

It is crucial to understand the normal hair growth cycle in order to understand why hair loss occurs. The hair growth cycle is the life stages of hair from initial growth to its shedding. Hair starts to grow in the follicle (root) under the skin and is nourished by blood vessels. The hair growth cycle is divided into 4 stages: Anagen, Catagen, Telogen, and Exogen. On average, the scalp has 100,000 hairs that cycle through periods of growing, resting, falling out, and regenerating. Each hair is at a different stage of the hair growth cycle.

  1. Anagen Phase is the active growth period of hair. This phase lasts about two to seven years. During this phase, hair grows about 1 cm per month. The length of the Anagen Phase determines the hair length. The longer the Anagen phase, the longer the hair.
  2. Catagen Phase is the transitional stage between the Anagen and Telogen phase. This phase lasts about two to four weeks. During this phase, hair shrinks and detaches from the follicle.
  3. Telogen Phase is the resting stage of the hair. It lasts about four to eight weeks and 10-15 percent of hairs are in this stage. During this phase, new hair starts to grow in the follicle while the old hair is resting and waiting for shedding.
  4. Exogen Phase is the new hair growth phase. During this phase, old hair sheds, and new hair comes out from the follicle. Approximately 50 to 150 hairs can be shed in a day, and it is considered to be perfectly normal as a part of this natural cycle.
    If the hair growth cycle is disrupted by a factor such as DHT or a medical condition, hair might begin to fall out faster than it is regenerated; thus we could see hair loss symptoms such as receding hairline, bald patches, and overall thinning. An important indicator of hair loss is the miniaturization of hair, miniaturizing hair grows for shorter periods of time and becomes smaller, and finer as it approaches the point of no return, which is the vellus stage.

Restoring Hair Loss: Hair Transplant

Hair Transplant (or Hair Restoration) is a surgical procedure, which collects healthy follicles and relocates them into the balding areas. The hair on the back and sides of the head is resistant to DHT, this is the reason why bald people have hair in these areas. Basically, a hair transplant is moving healthy follicles from the back and sides of the head to bald and thinning areas. The introduction of new technologies such as the FUE technique and DHI technique has greatly increased the choice operation. If done properly, patients who are almost bald can have permanent and 100% natural-looking real hair with a Hair Transplant. Hair Transplant is a very effective treatment, but the results can vary greatly depending on the genetics of the patient, the pattern of hair loss, and the skill and experience of the hair transplant surgeon. If you are considering having a hair transplant, the surgeon must be skilled and experienced in the technique of hair transplantation to produce healthy, natural looking results. If you want to know more about Hair Transplant you can visit here or you can check some Before-After.


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