It’s common to become worried once you start to see a few more hairs than normal in your brush. Often, this starts with a lot of “why me’s” and “my life is ruined.” The good news is that you may be able to regrow your hair, depending on what’s causing the hair loss.
If you want to understand how to grow back lost hair, you need to understand two things: the hair growth cycle, and know how to identify the different types of hair loss.
The Hair Growth Cycle
Hair follicles on the outermost layer of the scalp are responsible for hair growth. As your body makes new hair cells, the existing hair strand gets pushed through the follicle. There, it gets nourished by the vitamins and nutrients from your blood vessels and it creates keratin (protein) hair strands. This growth occurs in every single one of your hairs, but at any given time, they are all in different stages. Here are the four stages of the hair growth cycle:
- Anagen – The growth phase when hair cells are the most active. Resulting hair growth can last between 2-6 years.
- Catagen – 3% of all hair is in this transition phase where growth slows down and eventually stops. It can last for about three weeks as the hairs start getting ready to shed.
- Telogen – Resting time for the hair follicles. Lasting about three months, hairs start to shed at normal rate of 100 hairs per day.
- Exogen – Often called the shedding phase. This is the period from when the resting hair reached its terminal position to when it finally loosens and detaches.
When this hair growth cycle is interrupted, the result can be temporary or permanent hair thinning and hair loss. At first, it’s pretty easy to find a quick fix and ignore, but once you start losing more than 150 hairs per day, your confidence in your appearance will likely take a hit. Before taking any action, take the time to understand what type of hair loss you’re experiencing.
Temporary Hair Loss
Known as telogen effluvium, temporary hair loss is surprisingly common among women. It occurs when a large amount of scalp hairs are forced into the Telogen phase. With a higher percentage of your hairs being in this resting stage, fewer follicles are growing, while existing hairs continue to fall out.
Telogen effluvium generally attacks the scalp, more so than the hairline. It’s believed to be caused by a few different things:
If you can target the issue, people with telogen effluvium usually start to regrow their hair in less than six months.
Permanent Hair Loss
Whenever scar tissue blocks a hair follicle, that follicle becomes unable to produce a terminal hair. This scarring is called alopecia. It blocks the follicle opening and could be caused by many different things. There are different types of alopecia, and each one can have a permanent effect if they’re not attended to.
Commonly known as male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness, it’s the most common form of alopecia. It happens when your body is too good at turning testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. It’s so common that it will affect 73.5% of men and 57% of women at some point in their lives.
As the name suggests, traction alopecia is due to excessive scalp interactions like weaves, braids, tight ponytails, extensions and any other high-tension styling where the hair is pulled. This causes breakage and scarring, which can lead to hair loss and blocked hair follicles.
Hair Loss Treatment
Temporary hair loss is completely reversible once you can identify and remove the cause. People have reported that they are naturally regrowing their hair because of simple lifestyle changes.
If your diet is the issue, look into a multi-vitamin that can fill in your nutrient deficiency. Get one with hair growth vitamins like this one from Viviscal. The key nutrients to include in your diet are biotin, zinc, iron, vitamin C, and marine extracts. Adding them will eventually cause your existing hair to grow. Also, think about adding essential oils into your normal routine. When massaged into your scalp, they can help stimulate blood flow to give your follicles the nutrients they need.
Remember, the time to act is now. If you notice thinning and hair loss, talk with your doctor about how you can stop it in its tracks and even grow some of it back.