There is very little as alarming as running your hand through your hair and coming away with clumps of hair. Hair fall is scary but also, it’s pretty common. A lot of the time it’s an indication of something else wrong in your body so it’s important to keep a close eye on how much hair you lose with every brush or shower.
How does hair grow?
Don’t panic. A human head sheds anywhere from 75 to 100 strands of hair a day so a little hair loss is normal and healthy. You know your body best so if you find that one day you’re alarmed at the amount of hair left in your brush, it might mean you need to look deeper and figure out what’s going on.
There are different types of hair loss. First, let’s talk about the different stages of hair growth:
- The Anagen Phase: During this phase, the hair grows actively. This stage lasts for years.
- The Catagen Phase: This phase lasts about 10 days and is when the hair stops growing. After this, it starts to separate from the follicle (the structure that holds the hair in place under the scalp)
- The Telogen Phase: This is the final phase before everything starts again. It’s when the follicle rests for around 2 months and the hair falls out.
Common forms of hair loss
Hair loss, also called alopecia, can take different forms and patterns. The most common type is called androgenetic alopecia and is often called male pattern baldness. Although it mainly affects men (more 50 million affected in the US), women can also have this. It’s mainly genetic but there are medications and surgeries that can help.
Another form of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. This is when the telogen phase happens, but the anagen phase that is supposed to happen does not. Basically, the hair falls out but there isn’t any new hair growth to make up for the hair lost. This doesn’t result in complete baldness but can present itself as hair thinning at the temples and the crown.
This form of hair loss can be caused by a number of things, all medical: fever, mineral deficiency, thyroid imbalance, surgery, specific medications, etc. Mineral deficiency is the most common cause of it for women. As soon as you notice this type of hair loss, it’s important to go see your physician as they can prescribe medication that can help.
Another common form of hair loss is Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia which is caused by the constant use of heat styling products and perms. This damages the hair follicles and leads to hair loss. It can be reversible if you stop using heat-styling and other permanent styling techniques.
How to stop hair fall
So now we’re at the big question: how do you actually get your hair to stop falling once it starts? Well, there are a bunch of things you can do. One is increasing the amount of protein in your diet. The hair itself is made up of a protein called keratin. A study conducted in 2017 found that a lot of people suffering from hair loss had deficiencies in amino acids which come from protein.
Vitamin A is also crucial for growth. This vitamin is made up in part by retinoid which has been shown to speed up the process of hair growth. Some good sources of Vitamin A are spinach, sweet peppers, and sweet potato.
You also have to make sure you’re getting enough biotin. Biotin, sometimes called Vitamin H, is a B complex vitamin. Simply put, it’s one of the vitamins that helps the body turn food into energy. Biotin is a vitamin B-7. It metabolizes fats, protein, and carbohydrates that you consume through food and turns them all into the energy your body needs. It is also water-soluble which means your body can’t store it and you need to take it daily. B5 is another vitamin that is great in aiding hair growth.
This might seem like a lot, but there are a lot of multivitamins and minerals out there for this specific purpose. A very common cause of hair fall can be mineral deficiency so a lot of the times, these supplements will do the trick.
In terms of other topical products, many swear by the effects of castor oil on hair growth. Castor oil is vegetable oil that’s pressed from castor beans. This oil is rich in a fatty acid called ricinoleic acid which helps keep your hair follicles healthy and to stop hair growth. Rosemary oil is also great for promoting hair growth and stopping unnecessary hair fall.
Healthy hair and a healthy body
It is important to keep an eye on your scalp and hair. If something’s off, chances are your body’s trying to tell you something. Whether it’s caused by stress, vitamin deficiency, certain medication or genetics, it’s best to see a doctor make sure your body is getting everything it needs to be healthy and beautiful.