Whenever we see tufts of hair on the comb or even in the shower drain, it's natural to panic. Many blame stress, poor diets, lack of sleep, heck some even blame their shampoo for those fallen follicles at the bottom of their sink. But the question on everyone's mind is whether shedding hair is normal or if it's a sign of things to come. In this article, we'll explain the difference and if there is a correlation between the two, so keep reading.
Everyone Sheds Hair
Animal lovers everywhere know the feeling of hugging their favorite cat or dog and having their dark shirt covered in hair. Our four-legged furry friends can lose thousands of hair follicles per day without any visible dent. Are we the same? Well, yes and no.
Shedding is a normal part of the hair follicles life cycle. There are three stages to a hair follicle's life cycle. The anagen (growth) phase, catagen (transitional) phase, telogen (resting) phase. At any given time around 10% of an individuals hair follicles are in the telogen (resting) phase. This is why we shed hair, because the hair follicles enter the resting phase.
Normal Shedding Vs Hair Loss Shedding
Every person sheds around 100 hairs per day. It is totally normal to see hairs at the bottom of the shower drain or sink. However, individuals suffering from hereditary hair loss experience an accelerated amount of hair shedding. This is because DHT is essentially binding to the androgen receptors in the hair follicles receptor sites and shrinking them gradually.
As DHT begins to affect hair follicles, the anagen (growth) phase becomes shorter and shorter and the telogen (resting) phase becomes longer. This causes a massive hair shed, typically resulting in hundreds of hair follicles shedding at once. Now, there is another condition that can cause a massive shed that causes temporary baldness. This condition is called telogen effluvium. This condition occurs from trauma, stress or a surgical procedure. Telogen effluvium resolves on it's own after a few months without any treatment.
How To Tell The Difference
The difference between normal shedding and hair loss, is the appearance of the hair follicles themselves. When hair follicles begin to appear thinner in diameter and lighter in color, it usually means genetic hair loss is affecting the scalp. However, if the hair follicles appear thick and robust, it's just normal hair shedding.
Unfortunately, male and female pattern baldness isn't always visible to the naked eye. The beginning stages of hair loss can be difficult to tell. This is why many hair loss sufferers fall victim to denial. If you are experiencing a prolonged period of hair shedding, it is best to consult with a qualified hair transplant surgeon to determine the cause of the hair loss. Hair transplant surgeons have the tools necessary to diagnose early onset androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss). Today, patients don't even need to leave the comfort of their own home, as these consultations can be done online for free.
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