Understanding Hair Loss

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Hair loss can occur in both women and men, but the way it manifests itself is different in each sex. The term baldness is used to describe hair loss in men; when women are afflicted by hair loss, the disorder is referred to as female pattern baldness. Whereas men can go completely bald, women tend to experience thinning of the hair shaft with a maintained hairline, making the hair look sparse and patchy.

Am I Losing Too Much Hair?

 It’s normal to notice some hair shedding. But when does it become too much, and how can you know for sure? According to a study in the Archives of Dermatology, a simple 60-second hair count is an easy and reliable way to assess hair shedding. The study followed 60 healthy men between the ages of 20 and 60 who had no evidence of hair loss. Hair was combed forward over a towel or pillowcase for 60 seconds and the number of hairs shed was counted. On average, the shedding range was zero to 78 hairs for those in the 20 to 40 age bracket and zero to 43 hairs for those ages 41 through 60.

How Hair Normally Grows

The normal growth cycle of a single strand of hair can last anywhere from two to six years. When your hair is healthy and growing at a steady rate, it grows about a half-inch per month. “On a ‘normal’ head of hair, 85 percent of the hair is growing while 15 percent is in a state of rest,” says Boca Raton, FL, dermatologist Marta Rendon, MD. “Shortly after the loss of a hair, a new one grows in the empty spot,” she adds. Because our hair is constantly growing and shedding, it’s normal to see some hair fall out on a day-to-day basis, especially when washing or styling it.

Even at the very first signs of temporary hair loss, you should seek out the advice of your doctor or dermatologist. Failure to treat the problem in its early stages could result in a misdiagnosis or even permanent hair loss. 

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