The Science of: Hair loss and rejuvenation

The Science of: Hair loss and rejuvenation

In the modern world, personal appearance is our best letter of introduction, and one of the elements that are part of this system is without a doubt our hair. In this sense, having abundant, well-groomed and healthy hair says a lot about who we are, and it is for this reason that many people care about this particular area of ​​their bodies.


What is hair?


Hair is an epidermal structure made up of keratin fiber that projects obliquely to the outside of the skin. It is made up of a root and a stem that are born from a hair follicle located on the scalp, and it has the ability to grow thanks to certain elements supplied by the blood vessels.


The main function of hair is to protect the head from external agents, such as the sun, rain, wind or insects, however, it also plays a social role, since it directly influences our image and personal appearance.


On the other hand, an element that is worth highlighting is the amount of hair that a person has; In this aspect there are some divergences since there is no precise number.


In general, this figure varies according to multiple factors, such as age, sex, health conditions and hair color, however we can say that on average a person has between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on the head.


The life cycle of hair


Believe it or not, the human being loses on average between 50 and 100 hairs a day; This seems like a high number, but in reality it is not, since it is part of the natural life cycle of this structure.


In general terms, we can subdivide this process into four phases or cycles:


Anagen phase

Catagen Phase

Telogen phase

Exogenous phase


Each of these stages are well defined and have a specific time in which they develop, however, some factors such as diet, personal care, health or the environment, can cause disorders in some of the phases. This gives us to understand that we can take some actions to guarantee the normal development of the hair in each of its cycles.


Fortunately, each hair follicle has its own cycle, that is, they are not synchronized, in this way, while some hair is being born, others are in full development or in their fall stage; if this were not so, we would have a period of time with a bald head.


  1. Anagen Phase

It is also called the growth phase, and represents the longest cycle in the life of the hair, since it can last from 2 to 5 years, and in some cases it can extend up to 7 years. During the anagen stage, the hair root, or hair bulb, regenerates producing new hair, which will grow at an average rate of 1 cm each month.

In this phase, the hair follicle remains in a continuous process of hair expulsion, which is only stopped when its life cycle ends. As an additional piece of information, we can state that at any time about 90% of all the hairs on the head are in the anagen phase.


  1. Catagen Phase

The catagen phase is also known as the transition phase and the retraction of the hair follicle from the scalp surface occurs, resulting in a decrease in the production of the hair fiber. This process can last from 2 to 3 weeks and during it the hair separates from the lower area of ​​the follicle and stops growing. It is estimated that at any one time about 5% of all hair is in the catagen phase.


  1. Telogen phase

This phase is also called the rest or rest phase, and it usually lasts about 3 months. During the telogen stage, hair stops growing permanently but remains attached to the scalp while new hair begins to grow in the follicle. It is important to mention that at any time about 10% of all hair is in this stage.


  1. Exogenous phase

This last phase is the shedding or hair loss itself. Some scientists consider it as an extension of the telogen phase, however, there are some discrepancies in the dermatological world regarding holding phases 3 and 4 together as a single cycle.


The truth is that after an estimated time of 2 to 7 years the hair finally falls out and is immediately replaced by a new one. In this sense, each of the hair follicles can produce an average of 25 to 30 hairs throughout our lives.


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How to maintain healthy hair?


To have healthy hair there must be the conjunction of several elements, first of all there is a genetic factor that we must consider, on the other hand, this is the general health conditions, hormonal levels, lifestyle, diet, level of stress, as well as hygiene and personal care.


Nutrition


There is a popular saying that says “we are what we eat”, and in many ways this is true; Therefore, it is essential to have adequate nutrition that allows us to feed our body with proteins, vitamins and minerals suitable for its optimal development.


Hair is made up mainly of keratin, which is basically a fibrous protein, as well as lipids, trace elements and water. Because of this, maintaining a high protein diet is essential to support healthy hair growth.


Among the best proteins we can consume are lean meats, fish, beans, low-fat dairy products, and legumes. On the other hand, it is also very convenient to include fruits and vegetables that contain a high concentration of vitamin D, C, iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamin B12.

 

Stress management


It is proven that high levels of stress or worry in our life contribute to the appearance of various diseases and also to hair loss. For this reason, it is convenient to control this triggering factor, through the practice of various techniques that help reduce anxiety and worry.


Stress can be caused by multiple factors, in this way each person will have to address this problem according to their particular conditions. However, there are some actions, which in general, can help us control stress, such as breathing techniques, physical exercise, yoga, acupuncture, aroma therapy, massages, sports, music, dance, interaction with nature, among many other things.


Hygiene and hair care


Hygiene is another factor that determines the longevity of the hair, in this sense, the selection and proper use of shampoo, as well as a good conditioner, reliably contribute to the health of the hair. In this regard, it is important that we know how to choose the best product that suits the particular needs of our hair.


In this sense, in the market we can get shampoo, rinse and conditioner from multiple brands, which have been designed for different types of hair, whether dry, oily, fine, thick, colored, among others.


Finally, another element that we must consider is the gentle treatment of the hair, this means that while we are washing, drying or combing it we have to do it gently without mistreating it with strong movements. In addition to this, we should avoid the use of very hot water, as well as electric dryers with high temperatures, since these tend to considerably damage the hair structure.


Tips to prevent premature hair loss


As we already mentioned, every day of our lives between 50 and 100 hairs fall naturally, however, if we notice an excessive hair loss, we should immediately consult with a health professional and take some actions that prevent or reduce this process .


Here are some tips or recommendations to prevent premature hair loss:


  • Do not comb the hair with force, since in some cases the hair follicles are weakened and when pulling hard the hair will tend to detach.
  • Use shampoo and conditioner that have products to revitalize the scalp, as well as to repair and strengthen hair from roots to ends.
  • Have a balanced diet, try to eat foods that nourish your body in general. Include proteins, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and cereals in your diet.
  • Consider multivitamin supplements, especially those that contain vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, biotin, iron, and zinc.
  •  Avoid washing your hair too often, and when you must, do it gently.
  • When drying the hair, do not apply too much force and use a special cloth that absorbs water quickly, since excess moisture tends to deteriorate the hair even more.
  • Minimize the use of hot dryers, curling irons and irons as much as possible, as well as hair styling.
  • If you have long hair, try not to use tails or garters to hold it, since being in tension for a long time can lead to it falling out.
  • Reduce stress, exercise, distract yourself, laugh, and enjoy life.

Remember that these are just some tips to prevent excessive hair loss, in any case, if this process is very pronounced, it is best to go to a board-certified dermatologist so that they can help you correctly diagnose the problem and find a possible solution to the problem.

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