During the resting period of the cycle, the hair follicle is reaching the point of detachment and the bulb of the hair shaft moves closer to the surface of the scalp. As time passes during this period, shampooing and other movement on the scalp will cause the hair to disengage from the scalp. This is part of the normal shedding process. We shed an average of 50-100 hairs per day. Under normal conditions new hairs grow to replace each hair that has been shed, keeping the average number of growing hairs about the same at all times. Hair loss may involve many unknown factors, however, healthy hair is part of the over all good health of any person and is directly related to healthy conscientious nutrition. A well balanced diet may not interfere with a genetic predisposition – however it will support the health and appearance of the hair that is retained on your head.
50 Hair Example:
For the first example, we have a person with about 100,000 active hair follicles on their scalp, with a 60 month average growth period, and a 3 month average rest period. On average they will shed about 1/63 (60 months +3 months ) of their hairs in any given month, or about 1,500 hairs every 30 days. This works out to about 50 hairs per day, and would be normal hair loss.
In our second example, a person with 120,000 active hair follicles, a 36 month average growth period, and a 3 month average rest period, will shed about 1/40th (36 +3) of their hairs in a given month, or about 3,000 hairs. This works out to about 100 hairs per day, and would be normal hair loss.
Under normal conditions, approximately the same number of new hairs will just start growing to replace the hairs that have been shed, so the average number of growing hairs remains about the same all the time.
Hair loss may affect anyone at any age, Androgentic hair loss being the most common form of hair loss. Hair loss may also be the result of an auto immune reaction, in which a person's immune system attacks the hair follicles, as in Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis. Hair loss may also be self inflicted as in Trichotillomania. Hair and its appearance contributes greatly to our self-esteem – hair loss may be interpreted as some form of illness or a diminished vitality. Studies have indicated that hair loss has had a detrimental effect in the efforts of men and women persuing high profile careers as well as children and adolescents persuing their education.
Female Pattern Hairloss
Androgenetic hair loss or female pattern hair loss may begin at approximately age 30 or younger and may be more noticeable after menopause. Female hair loss is usually an overall thinning rather than complete hair loss on top of the head, a receding hairline may also occur. It's estimated that 20 million American women experience such hair loss. Female pattern hair loss is the most common type of hair loss among women.
Male Pattern Hairloss
Male pattern hair loss or Androgenetic hair loss is the most frequently encountered form of hair loss among men. It may begin at the front hairline creating a "U" shape with thinning and recession on either side of the tip of the "U" shape. Your hair may also appear finer and seem brittle on the top and crown. The hair loss can form a variety of shapes and sizes. This type of hair loss may appear on men as early as their mid-twenties and frequently begins in the mid-thirties.
Chemotherapy related hair loss
Hair loss may be one of the more difficult aspects of cancer treatment. Our self-image affects our self-esteem, and when we loose our hair it may be emotionally upsetting. Being educated and understanding your options will support you in making accurate choices that feel right for you.
Each individual’s experience is different and being educated and preparing in advance will support you in dealing with the cosmetic issues of the cancer treatment experience.
Determine in advance the amount of hair loss, if any, you can expect.
Chemotherapy related hair loss is usually temporary, depending on the type of treatment you receive. Hair loss may occur during the first few weeks after your first treatment and will begin to grow back a month or so after your final treatment. The growing process will seem slow at first, since few of us have ever experienced near total hair loss before. The color and texture may seem different than you remember, do not worry, it almost always returns to its original condition and color.
A hair prosthetic (wig) may be the most emotionally supportive investment you make during your treatment. Looking as much like “you” as possible will contribute to your overall comfort and self-esteem. Advance preparation may be the key to your success with your hair needs. Your physician, nurse or oncologist would be a place to start. They may have information regarding hair loss consultants in your area. Should you decide to participate in a support group, speak with others in the group about their experience and request referral information.
Hairloss and ChildrenHair loss for children can be upsetting and socially difficult. Children may experience hair loss due to medical treatment or some form of Alopecia, as well as Trichotillomania. Children often have fewer problems than adults do when dealing with hair loss. Even though children seem to be more resilient they will be confronted with questions and curiosity from their friends and classmates. The National Alopecia Areata Foundation provides an excellent video, at no charge, sharing the experience of children with hair loss. Some studies suggest that children be allowed and encouraged to make their own decisions regarding their hair loss. Some children will be comfortable just being natural and not doing anything, others will choose to cover up with a hat, scarf or some other type of head covering. Should the child make an inquiry about other options such as a hair prosthetic (wig) there are readymade choices available that are constructed especially for children as well as a full custom made prostheticTrichotillomania
Trichotillomania is the recurrent pulling out of ones own hair resulting in noticeable hair loss. It was previously thought to be quite rare. However, studies have shown that over 1 percent of the population are experiencing some form of TTM. It is important to realize that you are not alone – most people with TTM think you would have to be crazy to pull out your own hair. They keep this information to themselves and often do not realize that there are many other people dealing with TTM.