Losing hair is a natural part of the hair growth cycle. We lose hair so that new hair can replace it. However, when hair does not grow back as it should, we start to notice thinning hair and a more visible scalp through the hair. In order to understand hair loss, one must understand normal hair growth and shedding cycles.
The hair growth cycle is ongoing, and on an average day, 90% of your hair is in the resting phase while the other 10% is either growing or shedding. Balding occurs when the hair sheds, and no hair re-grows to replace it. Hair is made of keratin, the same material that makes up your nails and the outer layer of your skin. Hair is really a dead structure while the follicular bulb is the growing center. Because the actual strand of hair is not alive, hot curlers, chemical processing, hard plastic combs can cause damage and lead to split ends and fracturing of the shafts.
The hair growth cycle begins with the anagen or growth phase. During this phase cells in the root of the hair divide to add to the hair shaft. Depending on your genetics, the growth phase can last anywhere from 2 to 6 years. As the anagen phase comes to an end, an unknown signal tells the hair to enter the next stage. The hair grows about a fourth of an inch each month, and though it is technically dead, a healthy hair care regimen can keep it looking beautiful while it’s in the anagen phase.
The catagen stage follows the anagen phase and is made up of a 2-3 week transitional period in which the hair is no longer growing. During this stage, a club hair is formed. A club hair occurs when the section of the hair follicle attaches to the hair shaft, cutting the follicle off from its blood supply and the cells that produce new hair. This club hair leads to the next stage of the hair growth and shedding cycle.
The final stage of the hair growth and shedding cycle is the telogen or resting phase. During this two to four month phase, the hair begins to shed at normal levels, and the anagen phase begins again producing new hair.
The average person sheds around 100 telogen-stage hairs a day between brushing the hair, showering, and other activities. High-stress and trauma like high fevers, nutritional deficiencies, pneumonia, and accidents can cause hair to shed in higher than normal amounts. Patterned baldness (androgenetic alopecia) occurs when hair production slows and beings to produce weak, shorter hairs, eventually ceasing to grow completely in some areas.
Men and women often lose hair for different reasons and should be properly diagnosed before beginning any hair restoration treatment. Depending on the cause of your hair loss, there are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options including hair restoration surgery and medications like Propecia®, Rogaine®, and Proscar®.
For more information on hair loss causes and hair restoration, contact the Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter for more hair regrowth news and updates.
You’re invited to what’s sure to be one of the most exciting Halloween events around! Dermatology Associates of Atlanta‘s Skin Medics Medical Spa is hosting a Spooktacular Cosmetic Day on Monday, October 31, 2011.
Our specials on facial fillers, dermal injectables, spa products, and cosmetic laser treatments are sure to be a scream! You must take advantage of these offers on Monday, October 31 or schedule your treatment on that day to receive the special prices, so make sure to mark your calendar!
As an expert in hair restoration surgery who is dedicated to ongoing hair loss research, Dr. Edmond I. Griffin prides himself on staying abreast of new hair loss studies and possible treatment methods. If you keep up with his blog, you’ve probably read about some of the newest techniques for hair regrowth, those used at The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research and those currently still being researched like the MartiStem® MicroMatrix. Research in the field of hair loss and hair restoration is becoming more promising every day with possible options for hair loss treatment like the aforementioned pixie dust, Botox® injections, and the use of platelet rich plasma. Recently, Yale researchers have been studying the use of stem cells for hair loss treatment.
Researchers have studied stem cells previously for disease treatment, but it was just recently that Yale researchers pinpointed stem cells in the scalp of bald men as an underlying cause of androgenetic alopecia (patterned baldness). The researchers concluded that hair growth is dependent upon fat within the scalp. In men with male pattern baldness, the strip of fat on the scalp shrinks and hair cannot grow. When hair grows, the scalp’s layer of fat expands (a process called adipogenesis). Specialized stem cells, known as precursor cells, are responsible for expanding the layer of fat.
The researchers reached this conclusion after injecting precursor cells into mice that were unable to produce hair or the fat necessary to produce hair, and in two weeks hair began to grow. The precursor cells produced a chemical called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) that produced hair growth 100 times faster than the rate of non-treated mice. Overall, the mice treated with PDGF saw 86% restored hair follicle growth. Before stem cells can be used for hair growth in humans, scientists must determine that the cellular signaling in humans is the same as that of the mice.
It may be a while before humans are treated for baldness with stem cells, but the research shows promise. The providers at The Griffin Center are watching this research closely for further developments. Whether you’re searching for a hair loss prevention regimen or debating hair transplant surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Griffin today so that he can listen to your concerns, determine a cause for hair loss, and recommend a method of treatment. To stay on top of new techniques for hair restoration, be sure to find us on Facebook and keep reading his blog.
Did you know that the American Hair Loss Council states that one out of every four women will encounter some degree of hair loss during their lifetime? According to a spring People Magazine article, Lady Gaga is one of them. In her May interview, Gaga cites repeated chemical dye application as the primary reason she is losing her famously dramatic hair.
If you’ve read our blog series on female hair loss treatment and female hair loss prevention, you know that the causes of hair loss are numerous. Just as skin conditions like rosacea and acne can flare with environmental and emotional triggers, so can hair loss. While identifying the cause of your hair loss is an important part of determining an appropriate treatment, it’s also important to realize that there are two types of treatment for most hair loss: restorative and preventative.
More recent reports regarding the pop diva’s hair loss condition speculate that she has begun using Rogaine® (minoxidil) to prevent further loss. While the exact cause of hair loss cannot be diagnosed without a proper hair restoration consultation, it would seem that stress related hair loss might be the culprit of Gaga’s condition. Besides topical minoxidil treatment, oral Propecia may also prove an effective treatment for female hair loss patients who do not plan to become pregnant as exposure to the drug, even handling it, has been linked to increased birth defects. More >>
Generally used to treat wrinkles, muscle relaxing BOTOX® Cosmetic has a proven variety of other medical uses. Aside from removing wrinkles around the eyes, a couple of BOTOX® injections can also correct the appearance of cross-eyes and uncontrollable blinking. Some doctors also inject BOTOX® to reduce sweating for patients who suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Others use it to treat patients with migraine headaches. In fact, back in 2006, dermatologist Eric Finzi studied treating depression with BOTOX®. His research showed that BOTOX® treatment helped his patients who suffered from depression come off their depression medication. However, the newest use for BOTOX®, and the one I find most interesting is using BOTOX® to stimulate hair growth.
A dermatologist from Beverly Hills, Dr. Simon Ourian, administered BOTOX® injections to help relieve his mother’s chemotherapy-related migraines, and was surprised to find her hair returned around the injection sites. Since then, more research has been conducted on the topic including a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons discussing BOTOX® use in the treatment of male pattern baldness.
The study consisted of fifty male subjects, ranging from 19 to 57 years of age, who were observed over a 60 week period. Each subject received two treatment cycles of 150 injections during the 60 week period. Researchers utilized various methods of determining hair loss rates, like measuring hair count within a fixed 2 cm area and collecting loose hairs from a pillow with a lint roller. None of the subjects experienced adverse effects. The results suggested that BOTOX® appears to reduce hair loss and stimulate hair growth in some men suffering from androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness).
Aside from the study’s results, I’ve found through use with my patients that injecting BOTOX® around donor regions during hair transplant procedures helps hair re-grow around the incision scars. Not only does it help hair grow around scars, I’ve noticed BOTOX® also lessens the redness and thickness of scars. It may not effectively treat all types of hair loss, as hair loss causes are different for different people, but it will be interesting to see if more studies confirm using BOTOX® to treat male patterned baldness.
Men, women and children all experience hair loss for different reasons, but my staff at the Griffin Center and I are here to help. If you are experiencing hair loss and are looking for a hair loss prevention or treatment method, contact us to schedule an appointment today. First, I will determine what’s causing your hair loss, and then, I can devise a treatment plan specific to your condition. For more information, visit my website and keep reading my blog. Also, find me on Facebook and let me know what you’d like to read.