Hair Growth Cycle
You have to understand the fact that shedding of hairs is a natural process and anything from 100 to 300 hairs normally shed each day. But to understand this process clearly you should know two distinct aspects of normal hair loss – what involves the hair growth cycle and assessing the natural progression of hair loss.
Hair composes of long and twisted keratin fibers, which are protected by coating of keratinized cells. A cluster of active cells called as the dermal papilla lie just below the surface of the skin. The hair grows into its follicle from dermal papilla. Eventually this growing fiber hardens and grows out from scalp. At this stage hair fiber will die and only the root tip contains living cells.
The hair growth cycle consists of three stages:
This stage lasts between two and seven years. Each hair grows on average about six inches (15cm) per year.
This phase of transition lasts roughly for two to four weeks. During this phase the hair shaft gets detached from the dermal papilla. Then it moves up within a shrinking follicle.
This is a resting period that lasts for about three months. It allows the hair to detach itself from the hair follicle before falling out. After this, the cycle repeats itself if any other factor won’t intervene to prevent repetition of cycle.
Time plays an important role in the development of hair loss in case of both men and women. Normally human beings are born with different amounts of soft and fine body hair. Through time some part of this hair becomes stronger and further develops various characteristics like color and texture. Normally up to the onset of puberty one’s hairline spreads at a low pace across the forehead. In case of men, it continues only for few more years.
When men progress through their twenties their hairline gets a more mature look with recessions to the frontal temporal regions. It will also get accompanied by slight thinning elsewhere. One need not equate this concave appearance to premature balding as it is all about a question of degree.
The following hormones affect the hair growth cycle as follows:
- High levels of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme are found in some cells of hair follicle and sebaceous glands.
- 5-alpha-reductase helps in converting testosterone into DHT.
- DHT causes the miniaturization of terminal hairs.
- It leaves short, soft, fluffy vellus hairs that provide inadequate scalp coverage.
- Gradually the growth phases become shorter until these hairs are lost for good.
The Norwood Scale helps you in developing a hair growth strategy that helps you to ascertain your own degree of hair loss, as done by physicians and other hair loss experts. More importantly, it helps you to set your mind at rest. It also helps you to to know the extent of hair loss. In case of normal hair loss it does not require any remedial action. But in case of more extreme loss it calls for immediate action.