Human hair grows in a continuous cyclic pattern of growth and rest known as the “hair growth cycle.” Three phases of the cycle exist: Anagen= growth phase; Catagen= degradation phase; Telogen= resting phase. This cycle applies to all hair in the body, though their duration may vary in different areas of the body. This means that a few hairs often up to 50-100 hairs may be lost every day. This is called normal hair loss and does not need any treatment.
Periods of growth(anagen) are followed by a brief period, two to four weeks, in which the follicle is almost totally degraded(catagen). During the growing phase, which lasts between two and six years depending on genetic factors and age, hair grows approximately one cm each month. The resting phase(telogen) then begins and lasts two to four months. Shedding of hair occurs only after the next growth cycle begins and a new hair shaft begins to emerge. On average, 50-100 telogen hairs are shed every day. This is normal hair loss and accounts for the hair loss seen every day in the shower and with hair combing. These hairs will regrow. At any given moment, about 90 percent of these follicles are in the anagen, or growing phase and not more than 10 percent of the follicles are in the resting phase (telogen) at any time. The prolonged growth phase and the high percentage of hairs in growth phase are responsible for the long hairs on the scalp. These factors mean that any treatment would take several weeks(six to twelve) for showing response and hence patients need to have patience and persist with the treatment.
This cycle is controlled by a number of factors such as hormonal and diet factors, stress etc. Of these, androgens(male hormones-testosterone, dihydrotestosterone) are the most important control factors of human hair growth, both in men and women. Androgens must be present for the growth of beard, axillary (underarm), and pubic hair. Paradoxically, androgens cause loss of hair on the scalp in men.
Improper Hair Cosmetic Use/Improper Hair Care – Various chemical treatments on the hair, including dyes, tints, bleaches, straighteners and permanent waves may cause the hair to become weak and break if any of these chemicals are used too often. Hair can also break if the solution is left on too long, if two procedures are done on the same day, or if bleach is applied to previously bleached hair. If hair becomes brittle from chemical treatments, it’s best to stop until the hair has grown out.
Hairstyles that pull on the hair, like ponytails and braids, should not be pulled tightly and should be alternated with looser hairstyles. The constant pull causes some hair loss, especially along the sides of the scalp.
Frequent Shampooing, combing and brushing too often, using a hot air dryer can also damage hair, causing it to break. Using a cream rinse or conditioner after shampooing will make it easier to comb and more manageable. When hair is wet, it is more fragile, so vigorous rubbing with a towel, rough combing and brushing should be avoided. Use wide toothed combs and brushes with smooth tips.
NOTE: HELMETS, SWEATING, CAPS, DANDURF, LEAVING HAIRS, WATER, SWIMMING, DO NOT CAUSE HAIR LOSS.
About The Doctor
Dr. Aniketh Venkataram was trained in Hair Transplantation by Dr. Venkataram himself. He is an expert in FUE and has contributed chapters to Dr. Venkataram’s books as well as presented numerous talks on the subject.