The Condition of Your Hair
Our hair is not just an aesthetic accessory, a style and colour which creates our identity. It’s also a barometer of health and lifestyle. Illness, poor nutrition, lack of regular exercise, smoking, alcohol and adverse reactions to stress or allergies can all interrupt the growth cycle and cause it to fall out.
Changes in hormones, the body's chemical messengers, are also big protagonists when it comes to hair loss. Especially Oestrogens and Androgens (female and male), the sex-related ones.
Hair is also at risk from external damage caused by chemicals, excessive traction or pulling, either as an effect of hairstyling or a self-inflicted and damaging habit which is called trichotillomania, compulsive hair pulling.
Before discussing the possible individual causes of hair loss, baldness or alopecia (for which you can receive diagnosis and treatment at The London Centre of Trichology) below we look at how your hair grows:
Human Hair Growth Cycle
There are three stages of hair growth for a healthy follicle, Anagen, Catagen and Telogen.
The Growing Stage - Anagen
At least 90% of our hair is growing at one time – this is the Anagen stage. How long this active growing period lasts, depends on gender (women’s hair grows for longer) and the individual. But it is somewhere between three and seven years.
The Transitional Stage - Catagen
Catagen is the stage where hair stops process of cessation of growth of the hair and lasts for only two to three weeks. Cell division ceases, the pigment cells produce no more pigment, the bulb of the hair becomes club shaped. The inner root sheath breaks down and disappears, the hair follicle becomes shortened.
The Resting Stage - Telogen
Telogen is the resting stage of the hair cycle, where it stops growing for two or three months, before falling out. Normally we lose about eighty or more hairs a day, although the number is variable from day to day.
The Diameter of Hair
- The scalp has about 1,000 hairs per square inch
- The average person has between 90,000 to 120,000 hairs growing
- Blondes usually have the most followed by brown and black hair. They also have the finest hair out of all the colours
- Redheads usually have the least but the hair is coarser so it is not noticeable
- Human hair is the strongest natural fibre there is, but obviously the coarser the hair, the greater the tensile strength (the breaking strain)
- Each hair follicle can produce a number of hairs at one time, all in various stages of growth
- People with thick hair do not have more hair follicles, they have more hairs growing from each one
- Eyelashes and eyebrows are like rainwater gutters, protecting the eyes by preventing water from seeping into them
- Underarm and pubic hair, serve two obvious functions. To prevent skin chafing and to help spread and retain the odour of the apocrine glands
- They begin to function at the same age as pubic and beard hair develops, showing sexual maturity.
- Hair also has its own muscle called the arrector pili, which erects when a person is cold, causing what's known as goose bumps. Fear or anger can also cause this reaction hence the observation of hair ‘standing on end'
How hair gets its colour
- The diameter of hair varies widely according to hair type, colour and race. For many people the cross section of the hair is oval, kidney shaped or triangular. As there are differing stresses on each part of the hair, it will be either slightly wavy or curly
- The hair follicle itself can sometimes be curved which can be either a genetic or racial characteristic. These hairs are NOT deformed and are no weaker
- Chinese hair is the coarsest. Because it is round, the stresses on all sides of the hair are the same, so the hair grows straight. As the hair is coarser, it is also stronger and harder to break
- Afro-Caribbean hair has a flat, almost ribbon shaped cross section, causing widely different stresses and giving a frizzy, very curly appearance
Our male and female hair loss consultations are carried out in central London. Call us now on 0207 935 1935 to arrange your free appointment. Our long established trichology clinic provides diagnosis and treatment for hair loss, which is also known as alopecia or baldness.
- At the top of the hair papilla are a group of cells called Melanocytes, which produce hair pigments called Eumelanins. In large quantities these create black hair or in smaller amounts the hair appears brown
- Phaeomelanins are yellow or red and give auburn and blond hair. Most hair contains a mixture of both of these pigments, which are released as granules and pigmentary bundles into the cortex of the hair
- The greater the amount of pigment, the darker the hair