Hair follicles on the scalp do not continuously produce hair. They cycle through a growth stage that can last two or more years then regress to a resting stage for up to two months before starting to grow a new hair fiber again. At any time on a healthy human scalp, about 80% to 90% of the hair follicles are growing hair. These active follicles are in what is called the anagen phase.
Hair loss is what we refer to when the hair has stopped growing. The medical term associated with this condition is anagen effluvium. The most common causes of hair loss include:
- Hereditary hair loss
- Immune system overreacts
- Some drugs and treatments
- Hairstyles that pull on the hair
- Harsh hair care products
- Compulsion to pull one’s hair out
If you are experiencing “hair loss”, your hair will cease to grow until the cause for the hair loss stops. Persons that undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments often lose a lot, if not all of their hair. When the treatment stops however their hair tends to grow back. Likewise persons on certain types of medications, for example antidepressants or thyroid medication, tend to lose hair which may appear to stay lost as long as they are on the medication.
However, hair normally sheds 50 to 100 strands of per day. If you are a “naturalista” and you do not comb or brush your hair in between washes, the amount of hair shed you experience during your washes might frighten you. You have to remember that if you do not comb your hair in between washes for 7 days, you have shed 350 – 700 strands of hair, which might appear to be a lot. However in these cases there is probably no need for alarm because it’s probably just a normal shed. Additionally if your hair strand density is more on the thicker side, 100 strands could look like 300.
If you are concerned by the amount of hair falling out, you don’t need to suffer in silence. You can turn to a dermatologist or more specifically a trichologist (one who specializes in the hair and scalp) for help. A dermatologist or trichologist can tell you whether you have hair loss or excessive hair shedding.
Author: Denika Penn-Carothers, Natural Hair & Hair Products,