Hair loss might be more common than you think. Around two-thirds of men have some degree of hair loss by their mid-3os. Around 85 percent of men over the age of 50 have noticeable hair loss. The condition doesn’t just affect men, however. Women can also lose their hair and make up around 40 percent of hair loss sufferers.
Although it might be common, hair loss doesn’t always happen in the same way. People lose their hair for a wide range of reasons. Understanding the difference between normal hair loss and excessive hair loss, and the factors behind it, can help you decide on the right treatment.
What is Normal Hair Loss?
You shed some hair every day, usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 100 strands from your scalp. Regular hair shedding occurs thanks to the growth cycle of hair. At any time, the hair on your body is in one of three phases: anagen, catagen, or telogen.
The anagen stage is the active growing stage. A typical strand of hair can grow for anywhere from a couple of years to eight years. After it’s finished growing, it moves into the catagen phase. The catagen phase is a lot shorter, lasting just a few weeks. During this phase, the hair follicle shrinks.
Finally, hair moves into the telogen phase. During the telogen phase, the hair is just hanging out, resting, waiting to be shed.
Some things can make normal hair loss look more substantial. For example, if you regularly wear your hair in a ponytail or bun, any hairs you shed during the day will get caught in the bun or ponytail. When you let your hair down, those hairs will fall out. There aren’t more of them than usual, it just looks like because they’ve had a chance to gather together.
You might also notice that you shed more hair when you shampoo it compared to days you don’t. You’re not actually losing more hair, it just seems that way because the action of washing your hair can move lose strands out.
Reasons for Excessive Hair Loss
There are instances when you can’t blame an increase in lost hair on shampoo or ponytails. Excessive hair loss, or alopecia, has a few different causes. One cause is a condition known as alopecia areata. It’s a type of auto-immune disorder that causes people to lose their hair, usually in patches.
Another type of hair loss is male or female pattern baldness. Pattern baldness is hereditary, meaning that if someone in your family had it, you are likely to have it as well. Male hormones cause the hair follicles to shrink, so that hair becomes thinner and eventually stops growing.
It’s not only male hormones that can make you lose your hair. Often, hair loss is a sign that the thyroid is either over or underactive.
Another cause of hair loss is stress, both mental and physical. Physical forms of stress can include childbirth or pregnancy, losing weight rapidly or getting sick. Putting pressure on the hair follicles by regularly wearing tight braids, buns or ponytails can also lead to hair loss.
What You Can Do About Hair Loss
If you notice that you are losing more hair than usual, you have a few options. Treating hair loss depends in large part on the cause. For example, when the loss is caused by stress, it’s usually best to take a wait and see approach, as the hair is likely to come back on its own.
People experiencing male or female pattern baldness might benefit from hair loss treatments such as growth factor therapy or hair restoration surgery.
If you’re worried about how much hair you’re losing, the first step to take is to speak with your doctor to figure out what’s causing it.
About Dr. Ran Rubinstein
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is a board-certified plastic surgeon. He offers patients a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatment options at his practice in New York, and can work with you to help you choose the hair restoration treatment that will help you reach your goals. Dr. Rubinstein offers patients a variety of procedures, from fillers to rhinoplasty, at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Newburgh, New York. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein, call 845-863-1772 today.