Normal cycle for hair growth is 2 to 6 years. Hair grows approximately 1 cm per month. Ninety percent of the hairs in your head are growing at one time, while the other 10 percent are in a resting phase. After 2 to 3 months, those in the resting phase fall out, and new hair starts to grow in its place. It is normal to have falling hairs every day, but some people experience excessive hair loss.
Causes and Predisposing Factors
A few months after an illness or major surgery may result to excessive hair loss. It may be caused by stress and is usually temporary. Sometimes, hair loss may signify an underlying disease like lupus or diabetes.
Sometimes it has something to do with one’s hormones. The thyroid gland, for example, may be overactive or underactive. Male and female hormones are sometimes culprits as well. To stop the hair loss, correcting the hormonal imbalance is the priority. Most women experience massive hair loss after pregnancy. This is because high levels of hormones that control the hair from falling are present during pregnancy. After pregnancy, these hormones go back to their normal level, and the hair falls out.
Adverse effects of drugs and medicine can also cause hair loss. These include blood thinners or anticoagulants, drugs for treating gout, those used in chemotherapy, and antidepressants. Birth control pills and vitamin A overdose were also shown to contribute to more-than-normal hair loss.
Using tight hair rollers, as well as wearing pigtails or cornrows, may also lead to hair loss. Sometimes, hair treatments like hot oil and perms may cause swelling of the hair follicle, which can result to scarring leading to hair loss.
Prevention and Treatment
Avoiding and addressing the causes mentioned above is one way to prevent hair loss. An increased level of the hormone dihydrotestosterone or DHT is the number one factor in hair loss particularly in men. It is important to lower down the DHT levels by avoiding stress that can double the output of DHT.
Taking herbs like gingko biloba are also shown to effectively reduce hair loss. Palmetto and nettle roots are also known to be very effective in curing hair loss. They contain DHT-inhibiting substances that controls balding. Other herbs that may be used include amla oil, rosemary, and pygeum. There are effective formulations of herbs and vitamins that reduce DHT and hair loss such as Provillus and Procerin.
Boosting hair regrowth is also helpful. Eating foods rich in biotin and zinc is recommended since they boost hair growth. Those people who do crash diets usually experience hair loss too since they miss out some vitamins and protein that are essential in hair growth.
Massaging the scalp will also boost blood circulation in the scalp area. This will in turn allow the hair follicles to get sufficient nourishment. Using mild shampoo and conditioner is essential as those strong chemicals in hair care products may be too harsh for the scalp. A good shampoo should have a pH between 5. 5 and 9. If the shampoo starts burning your eyes and you start getting dandruff as well, it is time to change brands.