Hair Loss Basics You Need to Know If You Want to Stop Hair Loss.

Monday, 8 June 2009

First let me explain hair growth.

Hair actually is formed at the base of a hair follicle. A follicle is like a pouch that is located below the skin. What we usually call hair is actually the hair shaft, which is hardened tissue that grows from a follicle.

As you know our head contains thousands of hair follicles. Did you know that not all of them are not active at the same time? It's true. Studies proved that not more than 80% of our follicles are producing hair growth at any one time. The remaining 20% of the follicles are asleep or dormant.

When our inactive or dormant hair follicles start working again, they push out the old hair while producing a new one. Our hair grows from the follicle at an average rate of one-half inch every month. The hair growth continues for a period varying between four and seven years, after which the hair begins a 'resting' phase. After this resting phase, it is time for the hair to fall out. As a hair falls out, a new hair grows in its place after a gap of three weeks to three months. There are chances of us losing 50 to 100 hairs in any day. Some of us lose even more than that, not to regrow hair back again. This is why you need to have help starting back up the hair follicle engine.

Depending on age, weight, metabolism, hormones, ethnicity, medications, and Genes hair will grow differently, which is why some hair loss solutions work for some people and not others.

There are 3 distinct phases of hair growth: Anagen, Catagen and Telogen.

1. The anagen phase is also called the active growth phase.

This phase continues for several years. At any given time, the major portion (85%) of our body hair is found to be in this phase.

During this Anagen phase, the hair has an abundance of melanin (Pigment).

2. The Catagen or the regressive phase lasts for a period of nearly two weeks, during which the hair stops growing but has not yet shed. It has been observed that about 3 - 4% of our body hair is in this phase at any given time.

3. The telogen phase or the resting phase continues for 5 - 6 weeks, at the end of which the hair falls out and a new hair begins to take shape. Nearly 10-13% of our body hair is in this phase at any given time. There is an extensive loss of hair when more hair enters and stay in this phase. Research has established that the shock caused to the human system by stress and sickness can result in a larger percentage of hair staying in the resting phase, leading to reduced active hair regrowth along with an accelerated period of loss of hair.

OK, now how do we get our hair to wake up, fall out and grow back stronger?

We already mentioned above the main contributors to hair loss which were, age, weight, metabolism, hormones, ethnicity, medications, and Genes. Other factors that can cause hair loss include, childbirth, birth control pills, disease or illness, hair treatments because chemicals are used, hair styling like braiding, weaving and some doctors will tell you that a poor diet can effect hair loss.

Some of these factors we cannot control but others we can control. All studies indicate that the main contributor that we can control is DHT (DiHydrotestosterone).

DiHydrotestosterone, (DHT) is an active metabolite of the testosterone hormone that is formed in the adrenal gland, hair follicles, prostate glands and testes. DHT belongs to the class of compound known as androgen's, which is commonly known as the testoids or androgenic hormone to doctors but for us its' a type of steroid hormone. Males produce the DHT very early in life. This helps in the formation of the male specific characteristic such as development of the body hair, development of the facial hair, thickness of the voice and etc. DHT Blockers work to prevent the effects of this hormone after the puberty phase is completed, and the abundance of this compound is no longer needed in men.

DHT in the scalp is the main contributor of hair loss. DHT is created by testosterone which is why hair loss mainly affects males. When testosterone is naturally converted to DHT, the result is hair loss. Although everyone has DHT some people lose hair while others don't.

Hormonal changes are the #1 factor in hair loss of both men and women. This is mainly because of the hair follicles having a greater number of Androgen's receptors (regulators of gene expressions) for the DHT to attach to.

In simple terms the hair follicles need to block DHT build up and this will keep the hair on your head where it belongs.

Understanding the role of the DHT both in the male and the female pattern baldness, the researchers have discovered some unique way to prevent this hormone to act on the receptors in the scalp. Products that prevent those hormones are often called DHT Blockers.

Research has established that DHT is 30 times more potent as compared to the testosterone hormone. This is due to the fact that it has an increased affinity for the androgen receptor. However, there are many topical DHT blockers and inhibitors that are easily available in the open market under different brand names - being manufactured and marketed by different companies. Inhairit, Advica, Procerin, ProFillica and Provillus are some of the DHT inhibitors.

Saw Palmetto is one of the most potent and effective herbal or natural DHT blocker, which is far cheaper than most of the other DHT inhibitors in the market, but may not be as effective for some people as the products listed above. Blocking DHT is effective in slowing the effects of the hormone on the follicle, slowing hair loss. Some hair loss shampoo formulas use Saw Palmetto in their ingredients as a topical inhibitor for DHT.

It is believed that DHT also participates in the development of acne. Women with high level of the DHT will develop some male secondary sex properties such as hair growth just above their upper lips, or side burn whiskers, more developed muscles and thick voice. There are specific DHT Blocker available for women. Although the exact reasons have yet to be discovered it has been established by the researchers that the over production of DHT leaves the subjects exposed to the risks of prostate cancer and benign enlargement of the prostate.


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