If you find that suddenly you are losing hair more than usual and seeing them in shower or your pillow then you might be wondering what might be causing it right. Whether you are dealing with stress at work or just daily chores of life or any traumatic event, such occurrences can play havoc with your hair growth. In this article we will deep dive into the hair growth cycle and then relate it to how stress affects it followed by some hair loss treatments which you can opt for.
The hair growth cycle consists of 4 distinct phases known as anagen phase (growing phase), catagen phase (transition phase), telogen phase (resting phase) and exogen phase (shedding phase).
A] Anagen phase: This is the first phase of the hair growth cycle and is also the longest lasting anywhere between 3 to 5 years and also 7 years for some people. It is not the same for all types of hair like it is shorter for pubic, eyebrows and eyelashes while it is longest for scalp hair.
B] Catagen phase: This phase starts when the anagen phase ends. This phase lasts only for 10 days where the hair follicles shrink and hair growth slows down. The hair begins to pull away from the base of the hair follicle yet remain anchored in place.
C] Telogen phase: This phase is also called as resting phase where hair neither grows or nor they fall out. Hence they remain in a stalled position. Here in this phase new hair just start to form in the hair follicle. This phase usually lasts round 3 months.
D] Exogen phase: This phase is accepted as a continuation of telogen phase by some scientists. Losing about 50 to 100 days is normal where it is aided by brushing or washing. This phase lasts from about 3 to 5 months.
Three main conditions are linked that cause hair loss which are:
A] Telogen effluvium: This condition is characterized by the difference in the amount of hair follicles producing new hair where it can result in hair fall. This is normally localized and not evenly spread everywhere on the scalp and body but in the most serious cases thinning can take place especially on the head. Once the root cause is taken care of then this condition is reversible.
B] Alopecia areata: This is an auto-immune disorder i.e. your immune system attacks your own hair follicle which can be instigated by stress. Hair is seen fading and round patches can appear on your scalp. If this condition goes uncontrolled then full body hair loss can occur which is called as alopecia universalis.The cycle of hair fall and hair growth may repeat many times. However sadly there is no cure for this condition but some prescription medicines may help.
C] Trichotillomania: In common man’s language this is also known as hair pulling disorder. There is a constant need to pull out your hair and is often seen as an impulse control disorder. This behavior can happen if you are bored or dealing with some negative emotions. This disorder usually begins in your pre-teens and can last for the rest of your life.
D] Hormones: The hormone corticosterone is responsible for inhibiting hair growth. It acts on some cells below the dermal papilla and inhibits an enzyme that keeps the stem cells in the hair follicles active thus paving the way for slow hair growth and finally hair loss.
There are various treatments available for hair loss which can vary according to their method, procedure and cost. Some of them are as follows: