Hair loss and what to do about it.
What is hair?
Scientifically hair is basically a bulk of tightly packed proteins, as new cells form in the follicle the old ones push up and die. However, as women we describe hair as an extension of the soul, our crowning glory. When a woman looks good, she feels good her self-esteem soars and she’s ready to face the world and all challenges that come with it, although some of those challenges affect our health and eventually can lead to hair loss. I've devoted the past decade to not only help women understand their hair loss but offer solutions so every woman can have beautiful hair!
As women we have become confused and frustrated in our search for a glowing crown of beautiful hair. We do so many things to our hair we cut it, we permit, we relax it, we color it, and we weave it. Innocent mistakes have caused severe damage and hair loss. When we realize something has gone wrong, we don’t know what to do or who to turn to for help. I am committed to deliver real answers to our haircare problems. It is my promise that I’ll offer you the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth this is my pledge and promise to you.
A lot of times when we hear people talk about hair growth or damaged hair, they tend to focus on the hair itself although it’s very true that a lot of us are damaging our hair through the way we care for it, but a lot of times diet and lack of nutrition is the major cause, we should take the internal approach.
Let’s start with the anatomy of hair, it’s characterized by a root embedding into the dermis (the top layer of the skin) and the shaft extending from the root a follicle surrounds the root and this is intercepted by nerve fibers and capillary’s that provide nourishment. The hair shaft develops as new cells form around the follicle, push up and die. This is the process of hair growth.
As you may know hair is composed of three layers the first is called the cuticle or the protective layer, and it is the most important layer! The better you take care of this layer of hair the stronger it will be and the longer your hair will grow. The middle layer is the cortex, and this controls the strength and thickness of the hair, the innermost layer is the medulla and honestly, I don’t think anyone understands it’s real purpose, so I’ll do you the liberty and not mention it anymore. Proteins called keratin make up the bulk of the hair shaft this is the same protein that’s in our skin and nails, also present is another protein called collagen which is important for the health, strength and growth of our hair. This is important because a lack of protein is a major hair problem but more importantly it’s a health problem.
Let’s talk about the growth cycle, the hair has three main phases to the growth cycle. The first phase is the anagen phase and it is the most active, this is when the body supplies nutrients to the hair through the bulb. Scalp hair grows approximately 0.35 millimeters (about 0.01 in) per day and continues to grow anywhere from 2 to 6 years. The growth (anagen) phase will determine how much length you can potentially accumulate. After the growth cycle (Anagen) the hair is then in its resting state called catagen (second phase), it can last for approximately one week. Then the hair is shed during the telogen phase which lasts up to three months. This is what’s happening when you brush, or comb and dead hair comes out.
It’s a good thing every individual hair strand is on its own cycle, or we’d go bald every telogen phase.
Now let’s get into the good stuff.
There are 6 major causes of hair loss
- GENETICS-let’s face it sometimes hair loss just runs in the family. This is called androgenetic alopecia. However, all is not lost even if heredity is the cause of your hair loss there are still ways to slow down the loss and gain some control. Although scientists are still exploring the cause of genetic hair loss studies show a hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT attacks the follicle and causes the hair strands to miniaturize, the rate of miniaturization is contingent upon how sensitive that person’s hair follicle is to the DHT, the more sensitive they are the more rapid the hair loss. This would explain why men are more prone to this then women however women are not excluded we also have testosterone present in our body. For those who know are predisposed to androgenetic hair loss it is easier to defend rather than wait until effects are evident. There is treatment for androgenetic hair loss in both men and women, treatments include DHT blockers both topically in systematically, one of the most familiar is Rogaine, although I recommend taking a more holistic approach which includes a healthy well-balanced diet natural DHT blockers that include the essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy growth cycle as well as scalp exfoliate and DHT blocker shampoo and conditioner.
- A major hair loss cause that is quite common yet the most overlooked is STRESS! Stress comes in many forms from childbirth to a worldwide pandemic if the body and mind are in a stressful state for an extended periods of time it is not only detrimental for hair growth but for your overall health. There are several treatments available that you can begin incorporating into your life today that will help reduce stress such as exercise, relaxation, and meditation I have found our practical tactics that you can begin to enforce today.
- HORMONAL IMBALANCE- as a woman sometimes our hormones are completely out of order and yes it affects our hair drastically. Diabetes can be a cause of hair loss as well due to the changes the ATP or energy production in our cells, the hair follicles may not be receiving the adequate energy for healthy growth. Other hormonal issues may include pregnancy, menopause, and thyroid. Telogen effluvium is the most common hormonal hair loss with hormonal imbalance. Therefore, most women experience hair loss After they undergone childbirth. There are several treatment options available, however it is best to seek a gynecologist and or endocrinologist for Examination And or blood test.
- HEALTH- heavy illnesses, high fever, or undergoing surgeries affect the health state of our hair, what happens internally is equally if not more important than what you physically do to your hair. Your body considers your hair a non-essential tissue meaning you do not need it to live so if your body is malnourished and lacking in any areas it will pull from your hair first. So, it is imperative that you address your health to avoid nutritional deficiency. For example, when addressing hair loss my biggest concern for my patients is diet and health, I am always curious what their day-to-day diets are, exercising as well as if they are heavy smokers, both activities directly influence the circulation of the body sweating increases circulation and decreases toxins, smoking decreases circulation and increases toxins. As I like to approach hair loss from a holistic perspective, I cannot stress enough how opting to a clean diet will significantly improve the overall quality of life.
- To piggyback off health looking at the types of medications one is taking, and their side effects is vital to understanding hair loss, in reference to prescription or nonprescription medications. Regarding VITAMINS and SUPPLEMENTS if you are like most of us, we may take a multivitamin and other random supplement we assume our body needs, although the intention is good the method may not be, the issue is when we take multiple vitamins and supplements a lot of us are unsure the effects of mixing supplements or the adequate dose required. For example, Excessive vitamin A, E, or omega-3 causes hair loss, iron and calcium if used on the same day interact with each other and its efficiency is reduced by 40%. It's important to know the Vitamins and minerals that the body needs to maintain efficiency and hair growth however covering them in this article would be a bit extensive, so please seek professional opinions before adding vitamins and supplements to your Daily regimen.
- The last and most prominent in the black community is hair care, this will require and entire post dedicated to that. see ya in the next one!