It’s only when you start noticing your scalp that has become more visible or your hair parting that has relatively widened, that you realize you want to see a hair specialist. It is quiet common to see hair fall during your morning shower, or when you blow dry, or when you comb your hair but it becomes a serious ailment when you lose hair more than 50-100 hair strands a day.
Growth of hair totally depends upon what is going on deep within the scalp. It calls for attention when something goes wrong with the normal cycle of your hair. This could be genetic, hormonal, stress, lifestyle, nutrition deficiencies, immune system or age factor. You must be wondering what I mean by the regular cycle of your hair. So before we talk about the reasons for your excessive hair loss, let’s talk about the three phases of your hair growth cycle.
These three phases are known as: Anagen, Catagen, Telogen
- Anagen: This first phase is also known as growing phase. 80-90% of your hair follicles are in the Anagen phase and hair grows at the rate of half an inch per month.
- Catagen: After the first phase, your hair will enter a transition phase. It is a short phase which lasts for 2-4 weeks. During this phase your hair will detach from the blood supply and will shrink 1/6th of its size.
- Telogen: It is the final phase known as resting phase where hair falls off slowly and is replaced by a new hair. 10-15% of your hair strands on your scalp will be in Telogen phase every time.
Now when you know the details about your hair growth cycle, it’s time for you to explore 10 most common reasons of hair fall and hair breakage.
Hair fall due to genetic reasons are a most common cause for hair loss, says American Academy of Dermatology. If your parents had hair loss, it might be a reason for yours too.
2. Nutritional deficiency
Hair growth is co-related to your diet. Women can lose hair in patches if essential nutrients and vitamins like iron, vitamin A&B12, magnesium, biotin etc. are not present in the diet. Nutritional deficiency can force body to take these essential components from hair and nails; hence this weakens your hair, leading to hair loss. Some of the vital nutrients for healthy hair are as follows
- Iron- It’s deficiency occurs when body’s iron levels become too low due to insufficient nutritious diet or loss of blood, hence leading to hair breakage as nutrients fail to reach hair roots. The best way to control hair fall is to eat iron enriched food like meat, fish, dry fruits, leafy vegetables and soybean etc.
- Protein: Your each hair strand is built of protein and hence protein is essential for its growth. Food like milk, cheese, soya products, beans, pulses etc. are enriched with protein that can help you to boost your hair growth.
- Biotin: It reduces hair fall by improving the thickness of the hair shaft. Lack of this nutrient in your regular diet will lead to split ends and dry, brittle hair.
- Vitamin E: It is a vital vitamin for blood circulation that keeps hair follicles nourished and healthy. Lack of vitamin E will restrain blood from reaching the scalp, leading to undernourished roots.
Stress is the most common reason for women loosing hair. Any incident that causes stress to the body is harmful for your hair. When your body experiences stress, your hair follicles also enter resting phase, the third phase of the hair growth cycle. And those strands that enter this phase tend to shed off within few months. So, try and adapt a healthy lifestyle and give minimal stress to your body to avoid hair breakage.
Different ailments cause hair fall in different ways. Some cause spots of baldness while others may cause total hair loss. But it is necessary to visit your doctor for the right guidance. Here are some diseases that lead to hair loss:
- Thyroid disease: As we know our thyroid glands control body’s metabolism. So, it’s over or under-active performance will affect the hair growth, making it thin and sparse and dry and brittle. Once the thyroid problem has been treated, hair growth will be back to normal.
- Lucus: It causes inflammation of organ tissue that leads to hair fall in up to 50% of the patients. The area around the temples is usually affected and hair loss is often patchy.
- Telogen Effluvium: It occurs when a relatively large number of hair follicles enter a rest cycle. This is often caused by a traumatic incident including acute illness, hormonal changes or major surgery. It might not be permanent issue, but proper medication is essential.
- Tinea Capitis: It is a fungal infection that affects the scalp, usually in children that leads to white scaly flakes or large blisters on the scalp, causing hair fall. It should be treated early on, to avoid complications.
5. Hormonal Imbalance:
Hormonal changes disturb the normal functioning, growth and maintenance of your body. Oscillation in the level of progesterone and estrogen affects your hair follicles, leading to hair fall. The increased level of estrogen and the reduced level of progesterone make women tired and depressed, leading to stress. When body is suffering from depression and dejection, the hair also enters the resting phase, hence causing hair loss.
6. Excessive Styling:
Excess of everything is bad for your body and same applies for your hair. With too much of styling and chemical treatments, your tresses weaken, causing hair breakage and fall out. Regular use of dryers, styling rods, color and chemical based products make your hair weak and thin.
Hair styling rods: Heat producing products like straighteners and curling rods dry out the moisture content form your hair, making them dry and brittle. It’s preferable to use heat serums before using these styling products.
Colors and Dyes: Chemicals present is the colors, dyes and bleaches directly reacts with your scalp and hair follicles, resulting in damaged hair roots. Affected hair follicles hamper your hair growth and thus weaken the hair strands.
7. Unhealthy Scalp
An unhealthy scalp restricts hair growth and is responsible for hair loss. Skin conditions like dandruff, fungal infections and psoriasis can also cause hair strands to fall.
8. Side-effects of certain drugs
Yes, it’s true that medicines treat health problems but while they treat you, they might harm your body too. Certain medication can also lead to excessive hair growth, change in hair color, texture or hair loss. Drugs for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, birth control, mood stabilizers, steroids or high blood pressure can hamper normal cycle of hair growth, leading to hair breakage.
The average lifespan of a single hair is 4.5 years; the hair then falls out and is replaced within 6 months by a new hair. But for hair to grow back, it is essential to consume nutritious, healthy diet every day.
The water supply in most houses is chemically treated, hence bathing in this water for people who have receding hairline syndrome can also lead to excessive hair loss.
These reasons might sound too overwhelming but every disease can be treated with right guidance, little awareness, proper medication and good care. Figure out the reason for your hair fall and start treating your ailment today!