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Understand Why You Are Losing Hair

What Happens During Hair Loss

There are many evolutionary reasons why humans have hair, but why are we losing our hair? In modern times, we no longer need our hair for warmth or camouflage from predators, but it’s still a very important part of us. The normal hair growth cycle allows the scalp to push out the hair follicle, resulting in hair growth. Ideally, hair is on a pattern of growing called the “hair growth cycle,” which causes the hair follicles to regularly push through the scalp.

Hair Growth Cycle

There are three parts to the hair growth cycle. In layman’s terms they are the growth phase, the degradation phase and the rest phase. This means the hair grows, the hair sheds, there’s a lull in activity and this prompts the cycle to begin again. It’s a simple cycle that humans have experienced for centuries. 10% or less of the hair follicles are in the resting phase at any one time.

Male Pattern Baldness

The technical name for male pattern hair loss is androgenetic alopecia. “Andro” refers to the various hormones that must be present to make hair fall out. The probability of male pattern hair loss (MPHL) rises as a man gets older. The production of DHT increases the rest time phase of the hair growth cycle. This eventually becomes a larger and larger gap, leading to hair loss and eventually more permanent things like balding.

Shrinking Hair

Something that is not always discussed in hair loss articles or forums is the fact that hair can appear to be shrinking. A healthy strand of hair is thin, but a hair strand from someone suffering of androgenetic alopecia looks frail. Early on, a man may notice that hair is not as thick, but it is still growing throughout the entire scalp. This is when a man may want to move forward with a hair loss treatment plan in order to retain the hair he currently has.

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) works similar to MPHL, but FPHL can begin in the early years, unlike with men. Visibility of FPHL can usually be seen when hormones change with a woman, such as beginning or ending birth control, beginning or ending menopause or following childbirth. With women, there’s a larger chance of hair thinning or falling out at the scalp. Women do not usually experience a drastic change in hairline like men do. Hair loss is throughout the entire head, but usually from the crown downwards.

Other Differences

While the hair on women’s heads shrink with FPHL, they do not show up the way they do on a man’s head. The hairs are usually mixed with thick or normal hairs, which is what camouflages FPHL on a woman. Many women first notice hair thinning through the lower portion of the hair (from the bottom of the ears and lower) before they notice that hair is no longer growing throughout the entire scalp. The same slow hair growth cycle affects women, as with men.