Hair Troubles

We know what you must be thinking to have ended up here. “Help! My hair falls out all the time! Am I going bald? What can I do to prevent this?”

The good news: It’s very normal for your hair to fall out, so relax.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to see up to 100 strands of hair fall out per day — so there’s no need to worry about the hair you see tangled in your hairbrush or in your shower drain (unless you are starting to notice bald patches on your scalp, in which case, you should see your GP). Compared to an average number of 100,000 to 150,000 hair strands attached to your scalp, 100 now seems infinitely small.

While there are plenty of medical conditions that affect the normal growth cycles of hair follicles, this is not the norm for many cases (besides getting older). Allow us to explain how hair regenerates itself. Your hair is smarter than you might think.

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, the very same protein your nails are made out of. Follicles produce new hair cells and push older ones out, at approximately 6 inches per year. 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing at any given time, so you really have nothing to fear.

Hair removal diagram NOTES

As you can see in the illustration above: the follicle life cycle is actually divided into multiple phases.

Anagen — Active hair growth that lasts between two to six years.

Catagen — Transitional hair growth that lasts between two to three weeks.

Telogen — A resting phase, that lasts about two to three months. By then, the old hair sheds away, falls off, and new hair grows underneath, effectively replacing the old hair. The cycle then restarts.

(In case you’re wondering: When is IPL most effective?)

what rate of the hair loss

Hair falls out a lot? Weak, brittle hair bringing you down?

As previously mentioned, there are many reasons why hair can occasionally fall out at a much more frequent, more alarming rate. Usually, these are due to underlying medical conditions which need to be identified and treated as appropriate, as soon as possible, to prevent further hair loss where possible. Now you may be wondering, why do we associate baldness or alopecia with cancer?

Unbeknownst to some, cancer itself is not directly responsible for hair loss — the treatments are. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are tied to the hair loss many cancer patients experience, as these are often the best treatments available for many different types of cancer. While chemotherapy targets and kills the cancer cells within our bodies, it is also incredibly potent and subsequently affects the immune system, and actively suppresses the growth of hair. Chemo drugs vary in doses and can result in anything between some mild hair thinning and complete baldness.

Another big factor in major hair loss is stress. Yes, stress — the silent killer. The effects of stress are often very subtle, but can put a very big toll on our health and well-being if left unaddressed. If you suffer from stress, depending on where it may be stemming from, consider seeing your GP or making some changes to your lifestyle. Easier said than done, but very achievable with baby steps. Drinking water every day, maintaining a balanced diet, getting regular exercise — all of these things will help you in the long run. However, we do not dismiss the fact that depression and various other mental illnesses can get in the way of making changes like these. Therefore, if you suspect you may be suffering from such illnesses, consider seeing your GP or registering with a new doctor or therapist. Find a friend or family member to help and support you in your endeavours, or seek online support.

Medical issues aside

Now, of course, hair loss can also occur outside of medical reasons — for instance, it can occur as a result of different hair treatments. If you frequently dye your hair, use hard-bristled brushes, hot irons and curlers, and other methods of styling your hair — you are most likely prone to some hair loss. This is quite normal, as the things listed above (on top of harsh chemicals) can be very damaging to your hair. If you’ve noticed individual strands of hair having varying thicknesses along it, or lots of split-ends, the reason for this is none other than your styling products. If you’re worried about the amount of hair you are losing due to styling, you don’t need to stress out too much about it, as the effects are very much reversible — all you need to do is cut back on the hair products and styling tools, and you’ll be peachy keen in no time. If you must use irons or curlers, or other heat-emitting products and devices, make sure you apply some protective heat-spray before hand — this will provide an extra protective layer over your locks and effectively act as a shield for your hair.

Learn more about what makes IPL one of the most effective methods of hair removal

hair medical issues

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