There are days when it seems that the scalp looks a bit thinner than usual. A casual glance upon the mirror can sometimes turn into a prolonged stare at the suspected area. Fingers suddenly rifle through, checking the thickness and density of the hair strands. Sometimes, these instances become more frequent and doubt can quickly turn into worry. This apprehension is considered normal however, as most people have surely gone through the same thing at one point or another.
A full head of hair is something a person associates with his youth and vitality. Women have the potential to be most affected by pronounced hair loss because of the social norm attached to long, flowing hair and femininity. The anxiety that can sometimes accompany the thought of balding is a valid concern. A sign of distinct hair loss would signal a physical change in appearance that could no longer be regained unless the person seeks treatment. It may also be an indication however of disease, stress or a side effect of medication. There are different causes for hair loss and it is important to seek the expert opinion of a qualified physician before seeking treatment.
It is important to remember that hair follicles follow a certain hair growth cycle. This begins with the anagen or the growth stage that lasts for about three to five years depending on a person’s genetics. Asians for example have one of the longest anagen phases allowing them to grow their hair to a length of roughly one meter during a period of about seven years before it is shed at the roots. The usual length is about eighteen to thirty inches for most people. There are about eighty five percent of hairs upon the scalp engaged in this process at any given time. The next stage of the cycle is the catagen or transition phase. This is a relatively short period of about two weeks where the growth of about five percent of the hair strands slows down. It is also the period where club hair begins to form. The cycle moves into the telogen or resting phase and it is at this time where the growth exhibited by the hair follicles become inactive. It would undergo a period of about two to three months where about ten percent of hair strand growth comes to a complete halt. These will eventually form of a completed club hair that will have a hard, whitish substance at the tip. The final stage of the hair growth cycle is the exogen or the new hair phase, though it is also sometimes considered as part of the previous stage. It is at this time where the telogen club hair is actually released, resulting in shedding. During this period, it can be expected that the number of hair strands lost would be anywhere between twenty-five to one hundred fifty hair strands daily. This is considered as a normal form of shedding occurring in different areas of the scalp. It is also at this time where new hair slowly begins to form, renewing the hair growth cycle by going into the anagen phase.
There are different forms of hair loss that can be considered excessive. These conditions can be classified as such once it falls out of the definition of how hair is normally lost. This could be witnessed through higher quantities shed within a short period of time like the condition of telogen effluvium for example. It can also be evidenced through the concentration of balding upon specific areas of the scalp such as alopecia areata. The most common incidence however would be androgenic alopecia, or the inability of the hair follicle to renew itself through the hair growth cycle. These are but a few instances when hair loss is no longer considered a part of the normal shedding of twenty-five to one hundred fifty hair strands per day.