Because hair loss can be the result of so many different causes, and because there are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding it, those suffering from it can often find it difficult to know exactly what they should do. At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we have been treating all of the various forms of hair loss, from common genetic pattern baldness to rare autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata, for forty years. We understand that although many conditions that cause hair loss can be serious, there are several others that are relatively simple to remedy or that are nothing to worry about at all. Knowing the truth behind these common myths can go a long way towards quieting your fears so that you can get the help that you need to find the most effective means for combating your hair loss.
There has long been a widespread belief that a sudden shock or long-term stress could make your hair fall out, or at least make it turn suddenly grey. This myth can largely be attributed to a condition called telogen effluvium, which occurs when an interruption in the hair’s natural growth cycle makes it appear as though handfuls of hair are all falling out at once. The truth is that all hair follicles go through a regular cycle of shedding and regrowth, but usually no more than 15% of them are in the shedding, or telogen, stage at any one time. This means that even the healthiest head of hair sheds between 50 and 100 hairs every day, but this loss goes largely unnoticed. Telogen effluvium occurs when a sudden physical stress, like a traumatic accident, major surgery, or extreme weight loss, shocks the system, causing a disproportionately large number of follicles to move into the telogen phase simultaneously. In some cases, an emotional trauma, like a divorce or death of a loved one, or a long term stressful situation can also cause changes in hormone levels and eating patterns that could trigger a similar physiological response. Fortunately, after the stressor has been removed, the body will naturally return to its regular cycle, and so hair lost as a result of telogen effluvium will regrow normally over the course of the next six to twelve months.
Many women are happy to discover that their hair grows thicker and fuller during pregnancy, but are equally disappointed when all that extra hair seems to desert them shortly after they give birth. However, this apparent connection between pregnancy and hair loss is largely the result of fluctuating hormone levels and not a cause for concern. During pregnancy, the hair’s natural growth cycle is again interrupted, but this time the body holds on to hair rather than shedding it. This phenomenon, combined with an abundance of pre-natal vitamins in the body, makes the hair appear thicker, healthier, and more luxurious. Once the pregnancy ends and the body’s hormone levels return to normal, however, the natural growth cycle re-asserts itself and the hair sheds all of the additional hair it had amassed. While it may be alarming to see large amounts of excess hair falling out all at once, the body is not actually suffering from hair loss, but only returning to its normal pre-pregnancy state.
Although the apparent hair loss that results from these two causes is almost always temporary, several non-surgical hair restoration techniques like red light laser therapy, blended topical medications, or even vitamin supplements can be used to minimize the loss so that it is less noticeable. If you are interested in learning more about any of the non-surgical or surgical hair restoration treatments that we offer at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research or the new Griffin Center for Women’s Hair Loss, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration at (404) 256-4369 to schedule a consultation. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.