TEND TO YOUR TRESSES
Why is Your Hair Falling Out?
By Hiranmayii Awli Mohanan
OUR HAIR IS OUR CROWNING GLORY. IT FRAMES OUR FACE, ELEVATES OUR LOOKS AND GIVES US A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE. IT’S ABSOLUTELY NORMAL FOR OUR MANE TO EXPERIENCE SHEDDING BECAUSE WE LOSE AN AVERAGE OF AROUND 80 STRANDS A DAY. IF YOU BEGIN TO SHED SIGNIFICANTLY MORE THAN THAT OR YOU NOTICE THEY AREN’T GROWING BACK, WELL, THAT’S WHEN THINGS START TO GET A BIT HAIRY (SCARY). HAIR LOSS IS IN FACT A COMMON ISSUE EXPERIENCED BY WOMEN — MUCH MORE THAN PEOPLE REALISE. IN THIS ISSUE, WE HELP YOU BREAK DOWN THE POSSIBLE CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS.
# HAIR GROWTH CYCLE
Before diving into the possible reasons why we’re losing hair, it’s first important to understand the hair growth cycle. Each hair follicle on our scalp undergoes three stages of a life cycle and this continues repeatedly throughout our lifetime. Each hair follicle is cycling independently of neighbouring follicles, meaning that human hair growth is synchronised.
Anagen – This is when the growth spurt happens or the active growing phase. It can last two to seven years during which the hair becomes longer and thicker.
Catagen – After going through anagen, the hair follicle experiences a short transitional phase dubbed catagen. This is when the hair fibre stops growing, followed by the resting phase telogen which lasts for approximately three months.
Telogen – During telogen, the old hair is gradually pushed up towards the skin surface before it is then shed naturally and replaced with a new emerging anagen hair.
# HAIR LOSS TRIGGERS
• Hormonal imbalance
A hormonal imbalance can be attributed as the cause of various health and beauty issues, from adult acne to weight gain and hair loss. Hormones play an important role in regulating the hair growth cycle — oestrogens (female hormones) are ‘hair friendly’ and help to keep hairs in their growth phase for the optimal length of time while Androgens (male hormones) are not very hair friendly, and can shorten the hair growth cycle. Having more androgens (which could be caused by an endocrine disorder, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) can cause hair loss.
It’s not a fallacy that stress can literally make you shed your hair. What it does is raise the androgen levels, which in turn causes hair loss. Stress can also be the trigger of scalp problems such as dandruff, disrupt eating habits and mess with the digestive system — all of which negatively impacts the hair.
• Anemia (Iron deficiency)
One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is iron deficiency. Iron is an important component for producing hair cell protein and without it, your strands will suffer and fall. Consult your doctor on iron deficiency first, as he or she may recommend a blood test to confirm the correct treatment.
• Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Do you feel tired and lack energy? The cause of this is a deficiency in vitamin B12 and it can also take a toll on your hair. How does it cause hair loss? The lack of vitamin B12 can affect the health of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues. This condition is common amongst vegans as the primary source of B12 is animal protein.
• Traction Alopecia
Traction alopecia is a variant of hair loss caused by repeatedly tugging at your hair, especially if you often wear your hair in a tight ponytail, bun or braids and use chemicals or heat on your hair. The pattern of hair loss mirrors where the hair is under the most strain and this is typically over the edges or hairline. Just make sure you’re going easy on your edges so they’re in it for the long haul.
• Dramatic Weight Loss
Believe it or not, a dramatic drop on the scales can impact your tresses negatively. After six to twelve weeks of dramatic weight loss, whether it be intentional or unintentional, hair commonly comes out in excess. While our hair is incredibly important to us psychologically, physiologically it is non-essential; we could survive without it with no detriment to our physical health. This means that any nutritional deficiency often first shows up in our hair.
Age is another contributing factor to hair loss, especially if you’re going through or about to enter menopause. Changes in your body may also have an effect on your hair. Hair loss, unfortunately becomes more prevalent leading up to and after the menopause. That being said, it’s important to realise that our hair ages and as we get older, hair naturally gets finer. It’s a totally normal part of the ageing process.