The average adult loses about 100 hairs a day, but since we have somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on our head we don't really miss it. However some of us do lose more hair than we should and are left with thinning, balding patches and hair that won't grow very long. 10 million men and 8 million women suffer from hair loss, but just because it's common doesn't make it any easier to accept when it happens to us.
Why Do We Lose Our Hair?
There's a lot more to each little strand of hair on your head than you might think. Each hair follicle goes through a continuous 3-step cycle:
Anagen, the growth stage. This can last between two and six years, during which time the hair is actively growing from the follicle.
Catagen, the transitional stage. During this two to three week period the growth rate begins to slow as the follicle shrinks and separates from the little blood vessel that supplied it.
Telogen, the resting phase. The follicle is in hibernation and the hair remains attached for around two to three months without growing any further.
At the end of the resting phase the hair falls out and the whole cycle begins again as the follicle goes back into the growth stage and starts to produce a new hair.
Usually around 90% of our hair is in the growth stage at once, which is why we have a full head of hair despite losing up to 100 individual hairs each day. Hair loss occurs when increasing numbers of follicles go onto the resting phases, meaning that fewer hairs are growing. The few follicles that are active are only in early stages of the growth stage so the hairs they produce are very short. This results in thinning of the hair or entirely bald areas.
There are a number of reasons why someone may begin to lose their hair. It could be as a result of stress or illness, or it could be that you've inherited the 'balding' gene. The most common cause is aging, because as we get older our hormone levels begin to change which affects the rate of growth and causes follicles to go into the resting phase. Women may find that they begin to lose more hair after the menopause as a result of the hormonal changes their bodies have gone through.
Is There A Solution For Hair Loss?
Sadly there isn't a quick fix solution to hair loss, but there are a number of options you can explore.
The most dramatic and costly option is hair transplant surgery, where healthy hair follicles are removed from the back of the head where the hair is at its thickest. These are then inserted into bald areas of the scalp and when healed healthy hair will begin to grow. The actual transplant can take up to eight hours and costs upwards of £9,000, so it's not the most convenient or cost effective way of getting your hair back. Plus you could be left with unsightly scarring where your healthy follicles were removed, and you will have to put up with redness on the implanted area until the follicles have fully taken.
If you chat to your GP about your hair loss they may prescribe you a medication if they think the problem has a significant emotional impact on your life. Usually these drugs change certain hormone levels in order to encourage more hair growth, but there is no guarantee that they will work for everybody and they can have side effects such as erectile dysfunction in men, loss of sex drive in men and women and some have even been linked with depression.
If you're worried about the effects of prescription drugs and the thought of a hair transplant makes you squeamish there are more natural and less invasive treatments available.
'Concealers' are tiny keratin fibres which are sprayed from an aerosol or sprinkled from a container much like a pepperpot. The fibres attach themselves to existing hairs and conceal the scalp, giving the impression of thick hair. This is only a temporary solution as the concealer should be washed out and reapplied every day. The problem with this is that just as make-up concealer can cause a build-up in the pores, keratin concealer can cause a build up in the follicles and inhibit hair growth even further, resulting in even less healthy hair growth than before.
Another option is to stimulate the follicles with laser technology. Laser photostimulation is the direction of intense beams of light onto the skin which then produces more ATP as a result. ATP is essentially the energy source of all cells, so with more ATP the better a cell functions, which is why hair follicles are encouraged to be active and go into the growth stage instead of lying dormant.
At StressNoMore we recommend the HairMax LaserComb
as an effective, natural hair loss remedy. There are three different models to choose from, the Pro 12
, Lux 9
and Advanced 7
. Use the comb three times a week for a maximum of 15 minutes each time and you will begin to see thicker, healthier hair within 16 weeks. The Daily Mail said “In clinical studies of HairMax on 460 men and women, 93 per cent saw increased hair growth. Most saw results in 12 to 16 weeks”; evidence that the LaserComb does work.
Specially formulated shampoos are another great way to achieve fuller hair without introducing harmful chemicals to your body. It's important to keep what hair you have healthy and your follicles in the best condition for growth, so invest in a shampoo and conditioner that is specially designed for thinning hair. HairMax offer their Density Hair Care System
that compliments their LaserComb treatment, but is just good for your hair if you do not use the Laser Comb.
Hair loss can be a difficult thing to put up with as it can really affect our confidence and happiness, but don't feel like its something you have to put up with. There are a range of options out there to try and although there may not be an instant solution to the problem there are ways to improve hair loss and bring your confidence back.