Hair loss - causes and remedies

Some hairloss is normal. In fact shedding 50 - 100 hairs PER DAY is completely normal. Hair goes through a continuous cycle consisting of growth, rest, "death"/ shedding, and then growth of new hair.

Excessive hair loss is when you see noticeably more hair fall out when brushing or in the shower, and it results in less hair density, more visible scalp, and less "volume".

To understand "excessive" hair loss and how to remedy it, you first need to understand the anatomy of hair and the hair growth cycle.

Hair anatomy:

Hair is made up of 2 parts – the hair follicle and the hair shaft.

 hair anatomy showing follicle and shaft

The follicle connects the hair to the scalp and provides the blood supply needed to bring the nutrients necessary for hair growth. There are around 100,000 hair follicles on our scalp.

The hair shaft is the visible hair strand that grows out of the follicle. The shaft is made up of a hard protein called Keratin and a protective layer called cuticle.

Hair growth cycle:

There are 3 phases

the stages of hair growth drawing including anagen, catagen and telogen

Anagen Phase – active growth phase (2-7 years*, determined genetically)

Catagen Phase - short transition stage that signals the end of the active growth of a hair. It lasts for about 1–3 weeks*, and cuts the hair off from its blood supply.

Telogen Phase which lasts 2-3 months*. The telogen phase is the resting phase of the hair follicle. This phase is much longer for hairs on the eyebrow, eyelash, arm, and leg. ... During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest and detached from the scalp's blood supply. This hair eventually detaches and falls out/ is pushed out by a new growing hair.

 At any given time, 10% of all hair is in telogen phase. But any disruption in the hair growth cycle sends more hair into the telogen phase and can make this phase longer, and hence more hair will be shed. 

*phases vary in length, this is an average number. the image suggests shorter phases.

Disruption to growth cycle:

Disruption to the hair cycle can be a sudden shock to the body such as:

Childbirth

High fever

Sudden or extreme weight loss

Surgery

Severe illness

Severe emotional stress

The Hair cycle can also be disrupted by ongoing health conditions such as thyroid malfunction or nutritional deficiency (Iron deficiency being the most common).

Nutritional supplements can help normalise the hair cycle and encourage hair growth by supplying nutrients the body may be deficient in, but also by providing the extra building blocks neceassary to produce the hair protein.

Key nutrients for hair growth:

Iron -  We need iron to make hemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body for the function, repair and growth of cells, including the cells that stimulate hair growth. A big proportion of people who suffer from hair loss also have low iron levels.

Zinc - this mineral is essential for tissue repair and hair production. Deficiency has been linked to alopecia and supplementation has been shown to improve hair growth.

Silica (silicon) - and this mineral is essential in strengthening the hair shaft itself and hence making hair more resistant to breakage. Silica improves collagen production too! Studies have shown that silica can help the formation of collagen, a protein found in your skin, cartilage, muscles and ligaments and that helps to keep your skin taught and elastic.

Biotin - you will find this B vitamin in most hair, skin and nails products. It can indeed aid hair growth, but you need to be looking at a high dose of 2.5-5mg a day.

Collagen - Collagen is undeniably beneficial to skin health, so you will often find it in "hair, skin and nail" supplements. It also provides amino acids that are essential in the production of Keratin, the hair protein.

Products:

You can browse our selection of Hair, Skin and Nails products which contain the above nutrients.

I particularly like Q silica one a day multi-nutrient along with an iron supplement - this combination has proved very successful with past clients when used together for at least 3+ months.

 

Other considerations

Asses your diet, and make sure you are getting enough quality protein, because ultimately hair is protein, and you need to get its building blocks through your diet. Think eggs, meat, poultry, fish, legumes and dairy.

Scalp massage: manually stimulating the scalp helps to boost circulation to the hair follicles. You can use natural botanical ingredients like ginseng and rosemary oil which have been shown to stimulate circulation. Caffeine shampoos and hair lotions are aimed at the same thing - boosting circulation and "reviving" the hair follicles.

 

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