20 March 2009

Have you noticed a gradual and progressive increase in the number of hairs lost when combing or brushing? You’re not alone if you’re experiencing breakage, increased hair shedding or significant hair loss.

Many women may cover it up with wigs, hair extensions, hats or scarves. Others choose one of the several approved medications or surgical procedures that are available to treat baldness.

First of all, don’t panic! Hair loss or hair shedding is consistent within the hair growth cycle and it is normal to lose some scalp hair each day. The average human scalp has roughly 100,000 to 150,000 individual hairs and the normal hair growth cycle results in the loosening or shedding of about 100 to 150 hairs on a daily basis. New hair growth then emerges from these same previous dormant hair follicles, growing at the average rate of about half an inch per month.

Hair is composed of two separate parts: the follicle and the hair shaft. The follicle lies below the scalp and produces the hair strands that we see growing out of our head. The follicle is alive, however the hair strand is simply composed of dead cells that have no regenerative ability.

For most people, 90% of our scalp hair is always in a to six year growth phase (anagen) while the remaining 10% is in a dormant period (telogen), which lasts about three months. When the dormant period ends the hair is shed; these are the worrisome hairs we obsess over in our comb, hairbrush, on our pillow or down the shower drain. Relax, some hair loss is perfectly normal.

Baldness or Alopecia happens when the normal pattern of hair growth is disrupted. The normal pattern of human hair growth is growing, resting, shedding and growing again. If the growth pattern is out of balance, hair does not grow back as readily as it falls out. A family history of androgenetic alopecia increases your risk of balding. Heredity also affects the age at which you begin to lose hair and the development, pattern and extent of your baldness.

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