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Thinning Hair and the Hair Growth Cycle
If you’re starting to notice your hair thinning, it’s only natural to wonder why. Could it be the beginning of male or female pattern baldness, or is it simply the result of the natural aging process? To better understand why your hair may be getting thinner over time, we first need to look at how your hair grows.
Natural Hair Shedding
The average adult head can have anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 hairs. On any given day, you can lose between 100-200 hairs as part of the normal shedding process. Hair is made of the protein keratin, and the hair you can see is simply a string of dead keratin containing cells that have been pushed through the skin by newly formed cells.
Stages of the Hair Growth Cycle
Your hair typically grows at a rate of six inches per year. About 90% of it can be growing at any given time, although hair growth can also be affected by your health, stress and other factors.
The human hair growth cycle is made up of three distinct phases:
- 1. Anagen Phase
Also known as the growth or active phase, the anagen phase occurs when the cells in the hair follicle divide to produce new hair fibers. The majority of your hair is in the anagen stage.
- 2. Catagen Phase
Sometimes referred to as the transitional phase, the catagen phase is when your hair stops growing and starts to transition into the final growth stage. This stage can last about 10 days.
- 3. Telogen Phase
The final stage in the human hair growth cycle, the telogen or resting phase lasts approximately three months. At the conclusion of the telogen phase, the old hair shaft will finally break free and start to shed. A new hair will then start to grow.
Factors that Affect Hair Growth
As you get older, your hair growth cycle can change, or it can be affected by temporary external factors like stress, health, medications and pregnancy. However, some men and women experience a progressive, hereditary condition known as androgenetic alopecia (more commonly known as male or female pattern baldness).
Thinning Hair in Men
Typical male pattern hair loss results in your hair thinning around the temples and crown of the head. The hair on the sides and back of your head have a genetic resistance to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone responsible for hair loss.
Thinning Hair in Women
Women’s hair thins throughout the scalp and can be caused by changes in hormone levels and sensitivity to those hormones, which is exacerbated by menopause and aging. There are many different conditions that can cause thinning hair in women, so it’s always good to identify the true cause of your hair loss before looking for a solution.
Hair Transplantation for Thinning Hair
While you can’t regrow hair that’s already lost, hair transplant surgery can take healthy, DHT-resistant hair follicles and transplant them to your thinning or balding areas. This is because the genetic predisposition for hair loss resides in the follicle, rather than in the scalp. With hereditary baldness, your hair maintains the characteristics of where it was taken from, regardless of where it’s placed in the scalp. That’s why hair transplant surgery is such an effective solution to hair loss.
If you’re worried about your hair thinning and are looking for a safe, permanent, natural-looking solution, download Bosley’s FREE guidebook, The Complete Book On Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look.