Hair Loss Basics - Overview

Hair has a lifecycle:

Human hair goes through a natural lifecycle. Most of time, hair is in the growth phase known as Anagen. Every 2-6 years, your hair will shed and then regrow. The following photos explain this cycle.

Human Hair Growth

Genetics and Environment – A Must Read:

Your follicle knows how to grow because of its genetic code and the stimulation from the environment.

The genetic code is inherited. The genes for hair growth are “polygenetic”, and so this means that there is not one relative in your family tree that you can look to who will predict the fate of your hair. As of today, there is no gene therapy to change your follicles; however, there are many ways to stimulate your follicles. There are topical, injectable, and oral stimulants to help with growth.

An understanding of genetics and environment can help explain when medical therapy is best or when transplant is the best course of action. As an analogy for the non-scientist, imagine your hair as a garden. The plant is the hair shaft and the follicle is the seed. If your garden has many plants that are unwell, then stimulation with topical, oral and/or injectable “fertilizer” makes sense. If you have a garden with only few plants that are healthy, then you need to plant more seeds. In this setting, a transplant is the best decision. For some, multiple approaches may be more beneficial and even synergistic in growing hair.

The hair on your head is NOT all the same. The hair over the top of the head is the most sensitive to hormonal changes and inflammation. The hair in the back of the head in both men and women is more androgen insensitive and has a different genetic code. When this hair is transplanted, it retains its genetic code. The follicles from the back of your head grow for life, maintenance free!

Why do we lose our hair?

Everyone loses hair. It is normal to lose about 50-100 hairs every day. This is because hair is cycling and some hairs are entering the resting, or telogen phase, every day.

If you are losing more than 100 hairs a day or if you are seeing a change in the volume of your hair without loss (often due to “miniaturization of the hair follicle”), you may be experiencing hair loss. Similarly, if you see bald patches or lots of thinning, you may be experiencing hair loss.

There are many causes of hair loss. The most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition called hereditary hair loss or pattern hair loss. About 80 million men and women in the United States have this type of hair loss. Other names for this type of hair loss are:

  • Male-pattern baldness.
  • Female-pattern baldness.
  • Androgenetic alopecia.

Hair Loss Symtoms New York

The following list describes some of the many possible causes of hair loss:

  • Hair Disorders
    • Alopecia Areata
    • Scarring Alopecia
  • Disease
    • Thyroid imbalance
    • Autoimmune
    • Anemia
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Hormones and Stress
  • Dieting and Poor Nutrition
  • Medicines
    • Blood thinners.
    • High-dose vitamin A.
    • Medicines that treat arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
    • Birth control pills: Some women who take the pill see hair loss. Sometimes, the hair loss begins when a women stops taking the pill. Women who get this hair loss often have hereditary hair loss.
    • Anabolic steroids (steroids taken to build muscle and improve athletic performance) may cause hair loss.
  • Trichotillomania – a psychological hair pulling disorder
  • Hair Care
    • Traction from tight hair braiding
    • Your hairstyle and even some of the products you use on your hair can cause hair loss.
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