WHY HAIR LOSS?

THE THREE PHASES OF THE HAIR GROWTH CYCLE

Hair is composed of a strong structural protein called Keratin. It is the same type of protein that makes up nails and the outer layer of skin. Below the surface of the skin is the hair root, which is enclosed within a hair follicle. At the base of the hair follicle is a small gland called the dermal papilla. The dermal papilla is fed by the bloodstream, which carries nourishment to produce new hair. Hair follicles grow in repeated cycles. One cycle can be broken down into three distinct phases. Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the length and strength of the hair. Random number of hair strands may undergo any of these three stages of hair shedding and hair growth.

1. Anagen (Growth) Phase

Normally, up to 90% of hair follicles are in the anagen phase at any given time where the fair follicles are in active growth. The cells in the dermal papilla divide to produce new hair fibers, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. During this phase, hair typically grows 1 cm every month and can continue growing for 2 to 6 years. Genetics, diet and stress levels determine the period of time the hair follicle stays in the anagen phase.

2. Catagen (Transitional) Phase

At the end of the growth period, hair follicles prepare themselves for a resting phase. This transition period is called the catagen stage. It allows the hair follicle to, in a sense, renew itself. During this stage, the hair follicle shrinks and the dermal papilla detaches from the follicle, cutting off the nourishing blood supply to the hair strand. Ultimately, the follicle reduces to 1/6 its original length, causing the hair root to be pushed upward towards the surface of the scalp. This stage usually lasts for about 1 to 2 weeks. 

3. Telogen (Resting or Shedding) Phase

This is the resting period of a hair follicle, which can last for two to four months. During the rest period the hair is still attached to the hair follicle, but it is not growing. When the body is subjected to severe stress, up to 70% of hair can enter the resting phase prematurely. The hair begins to fall, causing a noticeable loss of hair. This condition is called telogen effluvium. After the resting phase, older hair that has finished their life is shed and a new hair begins to grow, thus, starting a new hair growth cycle. Normally, 50 to 100 hairs are shed everyday from the scalp.

The length of time for these phases varies from person to person along with hair colour and follicle shape. Normally up to 90% of the hair follicles are in anagen (growing) phase, 1-2% in catagen (transitional) phase, while 10-14% are in telogen (resting or shedding) phase.

 

CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS 

Common causes of hair loss are generally due to a lack of oxygenated blood supply to the scalp and resulting malnourishment of the hair follicle, which can be triggered by a number of conditions. The natural ingredients of LMB’s hair loss therapy formulations specifically counter these causes.

Stress

Physical or mental stress can cause hair loss. The hair follicle enters the telogen phase prematurely, stopping hair growth and accelerating shedding. Stress can also cause the shrinking of the blood vessels restricting sufficient blood supply to the scalp, leading to malnourishment and weakening of the hair follicles.

Inherited Male Pattern Baldness

Testosterone imbalance is one of the leading causes of hair loss for men. An enzyme in the hair follicle converts testosterone into DHT (DiHydroTestosterone). Excessive amounts of DHT cause the hair follicle to shrink, making the hair shaft thinner, shortening the growth phase. Eventually hair stops growing entirely and the hair follicle becomes dormant resulting in a receding hairline and baldness in some areas of the scalp.

Female Hormonal Imbalance

There are many contributing factors that can cause women to experience hair thinning and loss due to hormonal imbalances, some of the most common are:

  • Thyroid - An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can cause hormonal changes that result in hair loss, especially for women. A woman's hair follicles and scalp are dependent on thyroid derived hormones for optimal health and growth.
  • Pregnancy - Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy means that a larger percentage of hair follicles remain in the initial growth phase and do not fully develop. Following childbirth, the scalp sheds these excess hairs, resulting in thinning and excessive hair loss.
  • Menopause - Like pregnancy, menopause changes the hormone balance in the body (decreased estrogen, for example), which can result in thinning and hair loss.
  • Medication - Some medicines may cause hormonal changes in the body, which may result in hair thinning and hair loss. These include blood thinners, cardiovascular medications, excessive Vitamin A supplements, birth control pills and antidepressants.


Deficient Diet

A lack of key vitamins, minerals and proteins in the diet can contribute to hair thinning and hair loss. To help save protein, the body shifts growing hair into the resting phase, resulting in hair shedding. Lack of key vitamins and minerals in the blood supply to the follicle as well as poor oxygenation of the blood (vital for production and retention of healthy hair growth) can cause malnourishment of the hair follicles. 

Sebum Blockage

Sebum is an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands, which open out into the hair follicle. Sebum accumulates around the hair follicle, blocking and suffocating the follicle from sufficient blood supply and nourishment, causing hair loss. Excessive sebum production can also lead to the over production of DHT which causes the hair follicle to shrink and causing hair loss.