The hair shaft is made of a hard protein called keratin and is made in three layers. This protein is dead, so the hair that you see is not a living structure.
*The Inner layer is the medulla. The second layer is the cortex and the outer layer is the cuticle.
*The cortex makes up most of the hair shaft.
*The cuticle is a tightly formed structure made of shingle-like overlapping scales. It is both the cortex and the medulla that holds the hair’s pigment, giving it its color.
Hair on the scalp grows about .3 to .4 mm/day or about 6 inches per year. Unlike other mammals, human hair growth and shedding is random and not seasonal or cyclical. At any given time, a random number of hairs will be in one of three stages of growth and shedding:anagen, catagen,and telogen:
Anagen active phase of the hair. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair (a hair that has stopped growing or is no longer in the anagen phase) up the follicle and eventually out. During this phase, the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days.
scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for two to six years.
The Catagen phase is a transitional stage and about 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time. Thisphase lasts for about two to three weeks. Growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the formation of what is known as a club hair.
Telogen is the resting phase and usually accounts for 6% to 8% of all hairs. This phase lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the scalp and longer for hairs on the eyebrow, eyelash, arm, and leg. During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest and the club hair is completely formed. Pulling out a hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root.
About 25 to 100 telogen hairs are shed normally each day.
“Alopecia” is a medical term which simply means “hair loss.” Alopecia does not refer to one specific hair loss disease.
Androgenetic Alopecia, however, is the #1 cause of hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia can cause an experience in hair loss as early teenage years.
*For men, this type of baldness is typically characterized by hair loss that begins at the temples and crown. The result may be partial or complete baldness.
Women with androgenetic alopecia usually have hair loss limited to thinning at the front, sides or crown. Complete baldness rarely occurs in women
The Most women with androgenic alopecia have diffuse thinning on all areas of the scalp. Men on the other hand, rarely have diffuse thinning but instead have more distinct patterns of baldness. Some women may have a combination of two pattern types. Androgenic alopecia in women is due to the action of androgens, male hormones that are typically present in only small amounts.
Everyone loses hair. It happens during your morning shower, while you’re blowing it dry, or when you give it a quick brush—and that’s normal. “On average, we lose fifty to a hundred hairs a day,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, a New York City dermatologist who specializes in hair loss. “That’s just hair going through its cycles, and there will be a new one to replace it.” But hair loss may be a sign of a more serious medical condition that needs an evaluation by specialize and possible treatment. Here are nine causes of hair loss and how to deal with them.
Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon that occurs after pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, or extreme stress, in which you shed large amounts of hair every day, usually when shampooing, styling, or brushing. It can also be a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. During telogen effluvium, hair shifts faster than normal from its growing phase into the “resting” phase before moving quickly into the shedding, or telogen, phase.
The symptoms: Women with telogen effluvium typically notice hair loss 6 weeks to 3 months after a stressful event. At its peak, you may lose handfuls of hair.
The tests: There are no tests for telogen effluvium, but your doctor may ask you about recent life events and look for small “club- shaped” bulbs on the fallen hair’s roots. The bulbs mean the hair has gone through a complete cycle of growth, suggesting that the cycle may have sped up due to stress.
What you can do:
In some cases, such as pregnancy or major surgery, you may have to bide your time until the hair loss slows. If medication is the culprit, talk to your doctor about lowering your dosage or switching drugs. If it’s stress-related, do your best to reduce anxiety.
Hair loss that is genetic is known as androgenetic alopecia and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, is the most common cause of hair loss. The gene can be inherited from either your mother’s or father’s side of the family, though you’re more likely to have it if both of your parents had hair loss.
Millions of people, most of them women, suffer from thyroid disease. When your body produces too little thyroid hormone, the hormone responsible for metabolism, heart rate, and mood, you are said to have hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. If your body makes too much of the hormone, you’re said to have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid.
thyroid hormoneis responsible for everything from your basal metabolic rate—the rate at which your body uses oxygen and energy to function—to the growth of your hair, skin, and nails. But when you don’t have the right amount, you may notice changes in bodily functions.
Hypothyroidism (too little hormone) may cause a host of symptoms, including unexplained weight gain, fatigue, constipation, depression, and difficulty concentrating. Hair, nails, and skin may become more brittle and break more easily. It’s more common in women, especially over the age of 50, says Theodore C. Friedman, MD, MPH, chief of the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and molecular medicine at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and coauthor of The Everything Guide to Thyroid Disease (Adams Media, 2007). It affects about 5 percent of the US population but is nearly 10 times more frequent in women.
Hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) may cause inexplicable weight loss, heart palpitations, nervousness, irritability, diarrhea, moist skin, muscle weakness, and a startled appearance of the eyes. You may also experience hair loss as metabolism speeds up. Hyperthyroidism is much less common than hypothyroidism and affects about 1 percent of the US population.
A blood test measures thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland to coax the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. Excess TSH usually indicates hypothyroidism, while abnormally low levels suggest hyperthyroidism.
What you can do: Your doctor may prescribe a thyroid hormone medication to restore levels to normal. Regular TSH tests might be done to ensure an adequate dosage.
disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissues. The condition affects about 1.5 million people and tends to strike women during their childbearing years.
Lupus often causes extreme fatigue, headaches, oral ulcers, and painful, swollen joints. Many people develop a butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and become more sensitive to the sun. Other symptoms include fever; swelling in the feet and hands and around the eyes; chest pain; and anemia. Many people also experience hair loss, which may be mild and occur while shampooing or brushing your hair—or it may be more severe, coming out in patches and accompanied by a rash on the scalp, says Arthur Weinstein, MD, director of the division of rheumatology at the Washington Hospital Center. Because these symptoms occur in many other conditions, lupus is often called the great imitator.
Women who have heavy periods or don’t eat enough iron-rich foods may be prone to iron deficiency, in which the blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen to cells throughout your body, giving you the energy, you need.
Iron deficiency anemia causes extreme fatigue, weakness, and pale skin. You may also notice headaches,difficulty concentrating,
cold hands, feet, and hair loss.type of exertion may leave you short of breath.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. It affects about 4.7 million people in the United States and occurs equally in men and women. The cause is unknown, but it may be triggered by stress or illness.
The condition can occur in three forms. Alopecia areata commonly causes round, smooth patches of baldness on the scalp, eyebrows, or legs, Dr. Fusco says. Total hair loss on the head is known as alopecia totalis, while hair loss that occurs all over the body is called alopecia universalis. “Some patients have reported that before the bald spot occurred, they felt something in that area—a tingling or an irritation,” Dr. Fusco
Observing the pattern of hair loss can usually determine if you have alopecia areata, and blood tests for iron stores, ANAs. and hormones are usually done to rule out underlying conditions that may cause hair loss.
Alopecia areata is usually treated with intralesional corticosteroids. In some cases, minoxidil (Rogaine) may also help. It’s also important to reduce stress.
Too much shampooing, styling, and dyeing can harm your tresses. Heat and chemicals weaken the hair, causing it to break and fall out. Often, it’s a combination of treatments—keratin, coloring, and blow-drying, for instance—that does the damage.
If the fallout is occurring from external damage caused by styling, it will simply break, and you won’t see those club-shaped telogen bulbs at the ends.
Avoid using appliances that overheat your hair. Set your hair dryer on cool and low settings and minimize your use of flat irons. Don’t dye your hair more than one or two shades its normal color: The more severe the color change, the more chemicals you require, which can make hair break. If you use hair gel or hair spray, don’t wait for it to dry before you comb through it, because the hair will harden and be more likely to break.
The condition of your hair doesn’t just affect your looks—it’s an important indicator of your health. If you’re experiencing hair loss, talk to your hair loss special.
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