Hair Loss / Hair Loss

Hair Growth Cycle

Hair is made of protein called "Keratin". Hair has 2 parts i.e. hair shaft (visible on the scalp) & root (underneath the scalp) which are responsible for the growth of hair. Our hair is attached to scalp at base of the follicle by the hair root. This is the area where hair growth takes place and are continuously nourished by blood vessels providing oxygen and nutrients to the cells. If talking about the thickness of hair, it depends upon the size of hair follicle from which it grows.

There are approximately 100000 – 150000 strands of hair on a person’s scalp. The constant hair growth pace is half inch a month and normally, a person sheds between 50 - 100 hairs every day, as part of the natural hair growth cycle. Also every person has different kind of hair like some have thick hair or thin hair, some have curly hair and these factors also affect the hair growth cycle.

Hair growth cycle follows independent 3 phase cycle as given below.

Hair Growth Cycle

Anagen

  • It is the active hair growth phase where 90% of hair is in active growth at any one time.
  • Here pigment (melanin) is produced in the hair bulb throughout Anagen cycle.
  • It is the longest phase that lasts for approximately 2-6 years.
  • This phase determines the length of hair.

Catagen

  • This is the transition phase of hair growth where follicle shrinks up to 1/6 of its normal length and hair stop growing.
  • Here no pigment is produced which led the follicle stops producing hair.
  • This phase just lasts for very short period of 2-3 weeks.

Telogen

  • This is the resting phase where hair has reached to its full extent of growth and falls out.
  • The shedding of hair is normal, as old hair is replaced with the new hair.
  • Approximately 14% of the hair is in resting phase that you lose while combing, shampooing, oil massaging.
  • This phase lasts for 2-3 months & once it is over, the hair follicle re-enters the Anagen (growing) phase.

Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Hair Loss can occur due to several reasons which affect more than 90% of men/women. Usually hair loss begins from forehead and recedes to hair line which concludes bald patches at back and crown areas.Nothing to worry if you are losing 50-100 hairs a day, but if the count increases then it is definitely an alarming signal. In case you are losing more hairs on regular basis or you are seeing your hair everywhere- including your pillow & towel; then this situation can move you towards baldness. Losing hair in juvenescence means that there is deficiency of essential proteins and nutrients in the diet or can be due to some other reasons such as using chemicals to look good like hair gels and hair colors, medications etc.

Is Hair Fall & Hair Loss a same thing?

Hair loss is not the same condition as that of hair fall. There is difference between both the hair problems- Hair Loss & Hair Fall. In case of hair fall, new hairs take place of falling hairs. But hair loss is a more serious concern; because in this, hair does not grow in place of fallen hair. Thus hair loss can result into thinning hairline and causing baldness.

Causes of Hair Loss

The hair loss/baldness concerns can demolish the self-confidence of a person. Following are the various causes of hair loss/hair fall or baldness problems:

1) Genetic

It is very common cause of hair loss and practically there is lack of evidence to substantiate this. So, if your organic parents, closed relatives or other family members have baldness or thin hair, you may also become prone to hair loss/hair fall.

2) Malnutrition/Diet Deficiencies

As other cells in our body need good care, hair cells in our scalp also need proper nourishment and nutrition. Deficiency of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can be one of the reasons of hair loss/baldness.

3) Certain Drugs or Medications

Hair loss can also be caused by drugs, medicines or treatments used to treat severe conditions like arthritis, depression, cancer, heart problems, high blood pressure etc. Normally cancer patients subjected to radiation and chemotherapy are much susceptible to the hair loss or rapid thinning of hair.

4) Hormonal Factors

Hormonal imbalances and changes can cause temporary hair fall/loss. These changes can occur due to pregnancy, childbirth, onset of menopause, cessation of birth control pills. Pregnancy or giving child birth is one of the major causes of hair loss due to mineral deficiencies.

5) Stress, Physical or Emotional Trauma

Stress is root for every disease; it also has subversive effects which led to hair loss. Like other body cells, hair cells also need pause, relaxation and refreshment; and your stress can be a major reason for non-responsive re-growth of hairs. Also sudden or excessive weight loss, death in the family or high fever can be a reason.

6) Fever & Viral Diseases

High fever for long period and other viral diseases like thyroid problems, scalp infections, alopecia areata and skin disorders are said to be the contributing factors to hair loss.

7) Harsh Hairstyles and Cosmetic Usage

Hair loss can also occur due to tight hairstyles such as cornrows and pigtails. Also some chemically treated cosmetics lead to hair loss. These include hair gels, hair straightening chemicals, hair colors, shampoos etc.

8) Aging

Aging is a natural factor that can slow down the hair growth, causing hair loss or baldness on the top of the head or in the crown area.

9) Hair Pulling Disorder

Sometimes mental illness causes people to have an irresistible exhort to pull out their hair which often leaves uneven bald spots on the head.

Effects of Hair Loss

The hair loss effects are not only restricted to the hair and scalp; but it can also become the reason for Psychological, Physical or Emotional issues. It becomes difficult for some people to digest their progressive hair loss or balding problems; and because of not getting the appropriate treatment at early stages, these concerns can have devastating impacts on the lives of people.

Physical Effects:

  • Degrading Personality or Less Attractive Look
  • More aged/older appearance

Psychological/Emotional Effects:

  • Losing self-confidence
  • Depression or Chronic Stress

Appearance of Hair Loss and Etiologies

Appearance of Hair Loss and Etiology

Evaluation of Hair Loss at NHT

A physical diagnosis and directed history is must for the evaluation of hair loss and for this purpose, you need to visit and consult to an experienced Dermatologist. The NHT experts will determine the severity and progression of your problem during the evaluation phase. They will appropriately analyze or diagnose the various aspects related to your hair loss. The aspects include when your hair loss started, the pattern of hair loss and the causes behind it. This diagnosis is then followed by invasive and non-invasive tests.

Here are the several tests & methods that are used for the evaluation of hair loss:

  • Medical History
  • Physical Examination
  • Hair Pull Test

Medical History

Medical History

In this, the patients need to talk freely with the consultant about his medical problems or stressful events. In order to prepare an appropriate treatment plan, the physician may ask the patients about their severe illness (if any), medications, hair styling habits, family history of hair loss etc.

Physical Examination

Physical Examination

It involves the inspection of patient’s entire scalp and hair to identify the pattern of baldness and other physical clues like scales, erosions, pustules, excoriations etc. It also involves the assessment of hairline, frontal area, crown area and back of the scalp. This analysis is performed with the patient sitting on a chair; in a good lighting.

Hair Pull Test

Hair Pull Test

The hair pull test is generally performed on the patients who have complaint about intense hair loss. It identifies the active hair loss and with the help of microscopic tool, the specialist will also determine the type of hairs removed during this test.