7 Possible reasons for excessive hair fall and damage

Hair is vital for animals to protect them from extreme weather conditions, but in humans, it is mainly of psychological and can be detrimental to mental health and self-esteem. We need good amount of hair in right places in our body. Before we go into the reason for hair fall, we try to understand some basic facts about hair.         

Anatomy of hair:

Hair follicle, hair, and sebaceous glands are collectively called as one fundamental unit that is responsible for hair growth and they penetrate up to the dermis of the skin. Hair follicles form before the ninth week of foetal life. The hair matrix is the germinative (growth) part of hair follicle.

Melanocytes, which are present in the matrix have melanin pigment and the melanins are responsible for the different colours of hair. Eu-melanin gives a black or brown colour, and Phaeo-melanin and trichochromes gives red colour.

The type and colour of the hair are determined by the race and genetic makeup of individuals. Asians tend to have straight hair, Negroids have woolly hair and Europeans have wavy hair.

Anatomy of hair

Physiology of hair growth:

The lower part of the hair is the site of the growth. The hair has a cyclical pattern of growth. Hair growth cycle consists of three phases:

Anagen (Growing phase) – It is an active phase of hair production and it lasts for an average of 1000 days on the scalp.

Catagen (Involution phase) – It is a short conversion phase from active growth to resting phase. In this phage, hair growth is stopped and the end of hair becomes club-shaped, lasting only for few days.

Telogen (Resting phase) – It is a resting phase and at the end of which the clubbed hair is shed, it lasts about 100 days.

One peculiar fact is that hair growth is not uniform and each hair has its own cycle. Hair growth is mainly androgen dependent even in females and testicular androgen is responsible for beard growth and balding of head.

Hair fall:

As many as 100 hairs may shed from the normal scalp every day as a normal consequence of cycling. Shedding more than this amount, having a widening part or having patches of no hair are all signs of hair loss. On the scalp, about 85% are normally in anagen phase and 15% in the telogen phase. Aloepecia is a medical term for hair loss.

There are many reasons for hair fall. It may be a symptom of another condition or a side effect of a treatment. Sometimes, it is directly caused by a hair condition. Some types of hair loss are permanent and others types are temporary.

  1. Androgenic Alopecia

It is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. It manifests as a gradual and predictable hair loss pattern. In men, it affects after the age of 20’s and in women it affects after the age of 40’s, this type of hair loss is permanent

2. An illness

Hair loss can be caused by certain conditions such as hypothyroidism, also due to typhoid fever or after surgery. Most of the time, this type of hair loss is only temporary

3. Treatment

Individuals with cancer have hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. Moreover, it is really transitory

4. Malnutrition

Deficiency of some nutrients causes hair loss. Iron deficiency, weight loss and malnutrition are the reason for hair loss, it is just temporary

5. Autoimmune disease

Alopecia areata is an auto immune disorder that causes unpredictable and patchy hair loss at any age. In this condition, hair will regrow and permanent hair loss is rare

6. Fungal infection

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of scalp hair and also known as ringworm. Hair loss is one of the complication of this type of fungal infection

7. Stress

Long-term stress induces large number of hair follicles to enter into resting phase. So within few months, the affected hairs fall suddenly during combing or washing. Stress related hair loss are not permanent.

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