Understanding Hair Loss – The Basics

Many people are quite worried about the problem of hair loss. Therefore, it is very important to know about the basics of hair loss before finding out the solution to curb the problem. Hair growth is a natural phenomenon. The growth of the hair is seen in almost all parts of the body, except the palms and soles of the feet. On some parts of the body, the quality of the hair is very fine and is invisible. The hair growth and nail growth are closely related to each other. Both the hair and the nails are made up of a protein called keratin. Keratin is produced in hair follicles.

With the growth of new hair cells, the old cells are pushed out of the skin. A person has on an average about 100,000 to 150,000 hair on his head. A loss of around 60-100 hair a day is quite natural. Therefore, a person need not worry, if he sees a loss of upto maximum 100 hairs everyday.

The growth cycle of hair is divided into three different phases, viz active hair growth phase, transitional phase, and resting phase. The active hair growth phase lasts for around 2 to 6 years. Transitional phase lasts for around 2 to 3 weeks.

The resting phase is the one where the hair is shed and the new hair grows to replace the shed hair, thus marking the beginning of the new hair growth cycle. It is also true that the rate of hair growth decreases with an increase in a person’s age.

Hair loss can be classified in terms of alopecia. When there is a thinning of hair due to age factor, it is called involutional alopecia. Hair loss can also be due to genetic factors, and such a hair loss is called androgenic alopecia.

Alopecia areata is also another kind of hair loss that relates to patchy hair loss in children and young adults. In case of alopecia universalis, all the hair from the body is shed off. A change in the hair growth cycle results in fall in hair that causes thinning over the scalp and is referred as telogen effluvium.