The hair on our heads is constantly growing, shedding, and renewing itself and the hair growth cycle consists of three main phases - anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each of these phases has its own unique characteristics and duration, and they all work together to maintain a healthy head of hair. Let's take a closer look at each of these phases.
The anagen phase is also known as the growth phase. It is the period of active hair growth and can last anywhere from two to six years. During this phase, the hair follicle is rooted deeply in the scalp and receives nutrients and oxygen from the bloodstream. The hair shaft grows longer and thicker as new cells are produced at the root. This is also the phase where hair colour is determined by melanocytes, which produce pigment.
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The catagen phase is a transitional phase that lasts around two weeks. During this time, the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the blood supply, causing the hair to stop growing. The hair is essentially preparing to shed, but the follicle is still holding on to it. The catagen phase is sometimes referred to as the "resting phase" of the hair cycle.
The telogen phase is the final stage of the hair cycle and lasts around three months. It is the shedding phase where the hair follicle rests and prepares to release the hair. At the end of this phase, the hair follicle will push the hair out of the scalp and a new hair will begin to grow in its place. This is a natural part of the hair cycle and can result in the shedding of up to 100 hairs per day.
Once the hair has completed the telogen phase, it will enter the anagen phase again, and the cycle will repeat itself. This cycle continues throughout our lives, although the length of each phase can be influenced by factors such as age, genetics, and health. Understanding the hair growth cycle is important for maintaining healthy hair and identifying any issues that may arise, such as hair loss or thinning.
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What happens to Hair when you get Older
As we age, our hair undergoes a number of changes that can affect its thickness, texture, and overall appearance and here are some of the most common changes that occur in hair as we get older that you will experience like everyone else.
One of the most noticeable changes to hair as we age is that it tends to become thinner. This is because the hair follicles shrink and produce finer, thinner hairs. This can make the hair look less full and voluminous.
As we get older, our hair also tends to lose its natural colour and turn grey. This is because the pigment-producing cells in the hair follicles gradually decrease in number over time. The age at which hair begins to turn grey varies from person to person, but it is generally more noticeable as we get older.
As we age, the oil-producing glands in our scalp produce less oil, which can cause the hair to become drier and more brittle. This can make the hair more prone to breakage and split ends.
Slower Hair Growth
Another change that can occur in hair as we age is that it may grow more slowly. This is because the hair follicles become less active and produce fewer hairs over time. As a result, it may take longer for hair to grow back after it has been cut or falls out naturally. Hair loss is also a common problem that can occur as we get older. This is because the hair follicles may become damaged or stop producing hair altogether. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions.
Natural Aging Process
These changes in hair are a natural part of the aging process. While they may be frustrating, there are many ways to care for and maintain healthy hair as we get older, including using gentle shampoos, avoiding harsh chemicals, and eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support healthy hair growth.
Why does hair go Grey?
As we age, the pigment-producing cells in our hair follicles gradually decrease in number, leading to a loss of colour in the hair. This is why hair turns grey as we get older. The pigment that gives hair its colour is called melanin. It is produced by specialized cells in the hair follicles called melanocytes. Melanin is responsible for the wide range of hair colours, from blond to black, and everything in between.
As we age, the number of melanocytes in our hair follicles decreases, and the remaining melanocytes produce less melanin. This results in a gradual loss of colour in the hair. At first, the hair may become lighter in colour, and then eventually turn grey, silver, or white.
While aging is the most common cause of grey hair, there are other factors that can contribute to it. For example, genetics play a role in determining when and how quickly hair turns grey. If your parents or grandparents went grey early, you may be more likely to do so as well.
Other factors that can cause premature greying include stress, certain medical conditions, and exposure to chemicals or pollutants. Smoking has also been linked to premature greying.
Embrace the Grey
While there is no cure for grey hair, there are many ways to embrace it and make it look its best. Some people choose to dye their hair to restore its natural colour, while others opt to embrace their grey hair and wear it proudly. Ultimately, the decision to dye or not to dye your hair is a personal one, and it's important to do what makes you feel confident and comfortable.
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When can Hair loss Start in Men and Women?
Hair loss is a common problem that affects both men and women, although it tends to occur earlier and more frequently in men. Here's a look at when hair loss can start in men and women.
When for Men?
In men, hair loss typically starts to occur in the late 20s or early 30s, although it can begin earlier or later. The most common form of hair loss in men is male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia. This is a hereditary condition that is caused by a combination of genetics and male hormones.
It typically starts with a receding hairline and thinning at the crown of the head, eventually leading to complete baldness in some cases. Other factors that can contribute to hair loss in men include stress, illness, medication, and lifestyle factors such as smoking or poor nutrition.
When for Women?
Hair loss in women is less common than in men, but it can still occur. Women tend to experience hair thinning rather than complete baldness, and it usually starts to occur later in life. The most common cause of hair loss in women is female pattern baldness, which is similar to male pattern baldness but tends to affect the top of the head rather than the hairline. Other factors that can contribute to hair loss in women include hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause, illness, medication, and lifestyle factors such as stress or poor nutrition.
It's important to note that hair loss can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as thyroid disease or an autoimmune disorder. If you are experiencing hair loss, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Does bleaching contribute to Hair loss?
Bleaching your hair can contribute to hair damage and breakage, but it is not necessarily a direct cause of hair loss. Bleaching involves the use of chemicals to strip the hair of its natural colour. These chemicals can weaken the hair shaft and make it more prone to breakage. If the hair becomes damaged and breaks off, it may appear as if there is hair loss. However, the hair follicle itself is not affected, and the hair will usually grow back once the damage is repaired.
That being said, repeated bleaching can cause cumulative damage to the hair, which can lead to thinner and weaker hair over time. This can make the hair more susceptible to breakage and may contribute to the appearance of hair loss.
Additionally, some people may experience an allergic reaction or scalp irritation from the chemicals in hair bleach, which can cause hair loss in rare cases. While bleaching your hair is not a direct cause of hair loss, it can contribute to hair damage and breakage, which may affect the appearance of your hair. It's important to use caution when bleaching your hair and to take steps to protect your hair from damage, such as using a deep conditioner and avoiding excessive heat styling.
Products that can contribute towards Hair Loss
There are several hair products that can potentially contribute towards hair loss if they are not used properly or if they contain certain ingredients. Here are some examples that should be avoided where possible
1, Hair dyes and chemical treatments: Chemicals found in hair dyes and other chemical treatments, such as relaxers and perms, can damage the hair follicles and contribute to hair loss. Repeated use of these products can cause cumulative damage to the hair and scalp, which can lead to thinning and breakage.
2, Hair extensions and weaves: Hair extensions and weaves can put tension on the hair follicles, which can lead to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. This type of hair loss occurs when the hair follicles are pulled too tightly and become damaged, leading to hair breakage and loss.
3, Heat styling tools: Excessive use of heat styling tools, such as flat irons and curling irons, can damage the hair shaft and cause breakage. This can make the hair appear thinner and weaker over time.
4, Certain hair styling products: Hair styling products that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol, such as hair spray or gel, can dry out the hair and scalp and lead to breakage. Some hair products can also clog the hair follicles, which can inhibit hair growth and contribute to hair loss.
5, Poor quality hair brushes or combs: Using poor quality hair brushes or combs can cause hair breakage and damage. It's important to choose a high-quality hair brush or comb and to use it gently on your hair to avoid causing damage.
It's important to note that not everyone will experience hair loss from using these products, and proper use and maintenance can help minimize the risk of damage. If you are concerned about hair loss, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a hair specialist for advice on how to maintain healthy hair.
Which products do you avoid to prevent hair loss? If possible, please let us all know by leaving a comment in the comment box section provided below – so that others across the wider community can learn also…