Basic understanding of Hair Growth and Hair Loss

The average adult male has 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on their head. That is a lot of individual hairs! Throughout the average day we lose up to 100 hairs; finding a few stray hairs in the drain is nothing to be alarmed about. At any given time, about 90% of those hairs are actively growing. This growth phase is called then Anagen Phase. The other 10% of hairs are either in the transitional phase called the Catagen Phase. Or, in the resting phase that lasts about two to three months; at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair grows in its place. This phase is called the Telogen Phase. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors.

As people age, their rate of hair growth slows. As mentioned above there are many types of hair loss, also known as alopecia. But what exactly causes hair loss?

The consensus is still out on definitively why some hair follicles have a shorter life span than their counterparts. However, there are several factors that influence hair loss.
  • Hormones, such as abnormally high levels of androgens.

  • Genetics, This is the most commonly cited reason for hair loss. Genes from both father and mother influence a man’s predisposition to male pattern baldness.

  • Stress and illness, can cause hair loss as well. However, this hair loss is mostly often temporary.

  • Burns and injuries can cause hair loss.

  • Autoimmune disease may cause alopecia areata. In alopecia areata, the immune system revs up and affects the hair follicles.

  • Medical conditions. Thyroid disease, lupus, diabetes, iron deficiency, eating disorders, and anemia can all cause hair loss.

  • Diet. A low-protein diet or severely calorie-restricted diet can also cause temporary hair loss.

The Norwood Scale

There are many stages of hair loss. The Norwood Scale is the most common way to measure the level of hair loss you are experiencing. The scale was introduced by Dr. James Hamilton in the 1950s and later revised and updated by Dr. O’Tar Norwood in the 1970s. There are two primary types of balding, anterior (front) and vertex (back).

Norwood Scale

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