We want to know how to prevent hair loss. Hairstyles are an essential component in a person’s aesthetic arsenal. Along with our general grooming and outfits, our hairstyle is an important element for our self-expression and how we present ourselves to others. Whether you prefer a sharp trim or a stylish hairdo, one feature is always present, and that is hair.
Some days, you might notice that significant amounts of hair get washed down the drain after showering. You might ask yourself if you are finally going bald. Before having these thoughts, it’s important to note that it’s completely normal to shed a few strands of hair daily.
When is Normal Hair Loss No Longer Normal?
Hair loss affects women as well but not as severely as in men.
According to Jon Johnson of Medical News today, “A certain amount of hair loss is normal in both males and females. On average, a person loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day.”
So if you see a few strands of hair on your hands after shampooing, don’t worry too much.
However, we must face the reality that at some point in our lives as we age, we will lose some of our hair. According an article written by James Roland for Healthline
“Approximately 25 percent of men who have hereditary male pattern baldness start losing their hair before the age of 21. By the age of 35, approximately 66 percent of men will have experienced some degree of hair loss,” and “by the age of 50, approximately 85 percent of men will have significantly thinner hair.”
One of the conditions for this hair loss is male pattern baldness which is commonly experienced by men as a natural effect of changes in levels of hormones as they age. This is not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Hair loss is a normal not only for men but for women as well.
Although some men can rock the bald look like Walter White from Breaking Bad or The Rock, is not for everybody. Some of us would like to keep a full head of hair. So, how do we distinguish normal hair loss from genetic pattern baldness?
First, we must understand how hair grows and sheds.
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What Are the 4 Stages of Hair Growth?
A single strand of hair is made up of two parts; the hair follicle and the hair shaft. The hair follicle is where our cells divide to grow new hair. As it grows, it gets pushed up to the hair shaft and out of the scalp which results in the hairs we see on our heads. This process of hair growth happens in 4 phases namely, anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
During this phase, new hair cells are continually produced in the hair follicle which results in continuous hair growth. This phase lasts up 5 years. As stated in Healthline, “At any time, about 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase.”
Hair follicles consist of two parts; the dermal papilla which supplies nutrients to the hair and the bulb where the cell division takes place. During the Catagen phase, the hair strand enters it final days of growth. The bulb separates from the dermal papilla, and nutrient supply. As a result, hair growth stops and the bulb forms a root of keratin. This phase lasts for 10 days.
After forming the keratin root, the hair follicle lies dormant for a period of three months. Although the individual hair strand stops growing it usually does not fall out either and would normally stay on your scalp until the next phase.
After resting for a few months, the hair follicle starts growing hair again. At this point, the old strand of hair which has separated from the hair follicle will fall out. This is what we typically witness when our hairs shed when we shower.
This natural cycle of hair growth and shedding will continue as long as you keep a healthy diet and manage your stress. Stress can sometimes shock the hair follicles into the telogen phase regardless of where it was in the cycle. We also recommend using mild shampoos to avoid scalp irritation.
Given this understanding of the natural cycle of hair growth, when does the actual condition of baldness enter the equation?
Hair Loss and Male Pattern Baldness
Androgenic alopecia is a condition that affects both males and females. For men, this condition is what is commonly known as male pattern baldness. The speed at which it progresses is mostly determined by genetics among other minor factors such as environmental. This is the reason why we see seniors who still carry a full head of hair. Some of us, who have not lucked out in the genetic lottery, will start having receding hairlines as early as our 20s.
So, how does hair loss actually happen? The first telltale signs of male pattern baldness is when your hair starts getting thinner. This happens because the hair follicle starts shrinking, the Telogen phase, or the growth phase starts to last shorter and the Telogen phase, also known as the resting phase gets longer. After every cycle, the hair follicle will continue to shrink. The growth phase progressively shortens until it gets too short that the hair no longer breaks through the scalp.
This shrinkage is caused by the hair follicle’s sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (commonly known as DHT). DHT is a byproduct of testosterone. Testosterone and DHT are hormones that are produced by both men and women. For men, this helps form male characteristics during puberty and further into adulthood.
How is DHT related to hair loss? The sebaceous glands in the scalp convert testosterone into DHT. As DHT levels in the scalp increase, it stimulates an increase in the production of the skin’s natural lubricant, sebum. Too much of which contributes to hair loss. Hair’s sensitivity to DHT depends on a person’s genetics. So, if your dad is bald, you are most likely sensitive to DHT as well.
Going bald is not something to be embarrassed about of course since it is a normal part of aging. However, it would be nice if we could keep our hair for as long as possible wouldn’t it? We want to know how to prevent hair loss. There exist treatments for male pattern baldness which are either quite pricey or can only be used after a certain age.
Methods on How to Prevent Hair Loss:
Hair transplants are a sure-fire way on how to prevent hair loss albeit expensive. Hairs are taken from parts of the scalp where growth is still abundant and transferred areas where hair no longer grows. While this is certainly an effective treatment, it carries a very hefty price tag of up to 30,000 euros depending on the level of hair loss.
Another available and treatment on how to prevent hair loss are DHT blocking medications. These work by limiting the production of DHT in the body. These medications could carry risks because although DHT contributes to hair loss, it is still an essential hormone in humans, especially men. DHT work alongside with testosterone in the development and maintenance of male characteristics, male reproductive health.
If you plan on going down the route of DHT blockers, proper consultation with your doctor is necessary. These can only be taken when you have finished the final stages of growth; at around 25 to 30 years old or more. Still, anti-DHT medication’s cost can be quite hefty as well.
Shampoo and Conditioner Remedies:
So, more attractive and inexpensive remedies on how to prevent hair loss could be found in shampoo-based systems that do not block the production of DHT entirely inside the body. These systems work on the hair and scalp itself by cleansing the hair and scalp of excess sebum and delivering DHT blocking formulations deep into the scalp and the hair follicle. This limits the production of too much sebum and promotes hair growth.
It is important to note however that hair treatment shampoos and conditioners must not contain harsh chemicals such as alcohol and sodium Laureth sulfate—more commonly known as SLS, which can damage the hair and scalp.
SLS is a surfactant; which are compounds that are both hydrophobic (water-hating,) and hydrophobic (water-loving.) What this means is that the water-hating characteristic of SLS allows it to attach to oils such as sebum, which could not be washed of by water only since water and oil do not mix. In turn, the water-loving characteristic allows it to be rinsed off by water.
This makes it so, that SLS can be used to clean the hair and scalp of dirt and grime. This, however, entirely strips the scalp of its natural oils which leave the scalp dry and susceptible to irritation. Alcohols which are sometimes used by hair loss treatment shampoos to deliver their DHT blocking formulas into the scalp results in dryness as well.
You may like to read: ACTiiV Shampoo Review: Could it be the Answer to Your Hair Loss?
Oil-based hair regrowth systems work in a similar way as well. These differ from shampoo-based systems on how to prevent hair loss. Their method of delivering regrowth formulations to the hair follicles uses herbal infusions and natural oils. They do not double as general hair cleansers and work more as supplements applied directly to the hair and scalp.
An important thing to consider for growth oils is their ingredients. Some people with sensitive skin and hair could have adverse effects when using oils.
Our Recommendations on How To Prevent Hair Loss:
A general rule of thumb when you want to have healthy hair and skin is to eat and live healthy, first and foremost. Seems like it has been said over and over again right? That’s because that is the first step in being healthy.
These four steps could be done without spending much on hair regrowth products:
1. Have a balanced diet
The nutrients skin and our hair come from the food we eat. It is important for us to get all these essential nutrients in our diet for the proper growth of our skin and hair. Taking supplements that contain the necessary nutrients could help as well. Just be sure to check what it contains and ask your doctor if you could take these.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is good not only for your cardiovascular health and physical fitness as well. Having a well-maintained circulatory system allows the nutrients you get from food to reach the blood vessels in your scalp and your hair follicles.
3. Sleep regularly
The cells in our bodies regenerate during our sleep including our hair cells. We sleep regularly and adequately not only for our hair but also for our general well-being.
4. Manage your stress
Stress can sometimes disrupt the regular growth cycle of the hair follicles so it is best if we could manage or stress levels.
Investing in Hair Regrowth Products:
We have reviewed many products tackling the problem of how to prevent hair loss. These are shampoos, oils, supplements, and general hair hygiene products. Check these out to read more about them.
Bottomline: Hair loss is inevitable but it could be stalled.
We will lose our hair eventually even if we live as healthy as possible. Be it from our genetic predisposition or just generally as we age. In the topic of how to prevent hair loss, we humans used to have no answer to it. Now we have all these solutions available to us. We have covered many of these products in our website and we will carry on.
Gen is a Master Stylist in Tampa, Florida who specializes in extremely thin hair and hair loss care. Working with hundreds of clients with hair loss/thinning concerns allowed her to recognize products and routines that can cause damage. She has discovered what hair products work and what doesn’t and shares all of this info to the readers of Union of Barber. When she’s not writing, you can find Gen hiking or at home with her army of cats!