Much Ado About Hair Loss

May Day! May Day! (lol) Argh, hair loss. Horrible stuff. Once thought of as something to only afflict the elderly, we now know that even younger people are not immune to this. So this is what we will be talking about today. Let’s start off with a general principle. With any issue 50% of the solution is accurately diagnosing what exactly is the problem.

So when it comes to hair loss, the main thing you would want to do is find out what exactly is the issue. You could go straight to a professional, and that is indeed the gold standard. However, the reality is that you will probably be charged a bomb for such an approach. Before doing that, I would implore you to understand the issue more first. Education is the key, so let us start here.

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Every hair follicle has life cycle of between two and six years, which ends with the hair falling and a new one replacing it. 90% of the hair is at the “growing stage”, which is called Anagen. During this stage, hair grows at roughly the rate of 0.3 mm per day. Of course, there is no standard rate, which is why some people might have faster-growing hair than others.

Anagen typically lasts about three years. The next stage, more commonly known as the resting phase, is called Katagen. During this phase, the hair does not grow at all. Rather it stays static for about three weeks. The next, and also the last stage, is known as Telogen. This is the stage people fear the most, as it is the “falling hair stage”, which can last up to three months.

While this might be the case, new hair is normally growing while the previous strand is undergoing Telogen. Despite that, the average person loses between 50 to 100 hairs daily. Blond people have more hairs, about 140,000, in compare to darker hair people who have 90,000. Talk about privilege indeed. Older people also tend to lose more hairs than younger people.

So how is hair loss diagnosed by a professional? Simply put – hair loss is usually diagnosed when large areas of the scalp are left with only thin hair.  Usually people notice hair loss when they comb or shower.  One way to test if you are losing your hair is to try and pull your hair. If you end up with more than five strands of hair in your hand, then sorry, you might have a problem.  Another test is by counting the hairs on your pillow in the morning. There should not be more than eight strands.

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Women and men lose hair differently. For men, hair loss is usually related to hormones and genetics.  It is a hereditary phenomenon which can “jump” over generations. Women, on the other hand, may suffer hair loss for many reasons. The most common one is genetics, but others include cold weather, high fever diseases, infection and diseases, lack of protein, depression, and high cholesterol.

If you find that you fail the “pillow test” described above, and you are a man, then the problem is probably hereditary. Another symptom that is consistent is losing hair from the forehead. Over time,  the hair becomes downy and thin until it completely falls off.  According to popular estimates, about 70% of men suffer from baldness by the age of fifty.   About 25% of women under forty suffer from hair loss, and 50% over fifty suffer from thin hair.

Now that we have a good background to the issue, the next question, naturally, is where to get help. As mentioned at the start, the initial knee-jerk reaction is to go to a professional who will charge an arm and a leg. That is indeed an option, but not everyone has the privilege to do this. For the rest of us, trying out natural solutions are the best. Check out some of the links below and try them out at a fraction of the cost.

Here we go:

 


Also published on Medium.


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