Hairs grow from little pockets within the skin called hair follicles. The hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle. Cells divide and grow to produce the hair shaft. Which is made from a protein called keratin. The papilla, that surrounds the bulb. Contains blood vessels that nourish the hair follicles. They deliver hormones to regulate the growth and structure of the hair.
Hair growth occurs in cycles. A hair follicle produces hair for a few years and then goes into rest mode for several years. The hair follicle will shed hair on a daily basis. Enabling new hair to grow. This hair shedding can be on average 100 hair per day.
Each follicle produces hair for 2 to 6 years. The time depends on the individual´s characteristics. After growing the hair follicles rest for several months. This is when the hairs shed, or fall out. Each of the approximate 100,000 plus hair follicles over the head lay dormant at different times. Hair loss is usually unnoticeable. Unless there is a change in the growth cycle. As a result, this causes an increase in the shedding pattern. Then hair loss starts to become an issue.
The anagen phase is known as the growth phase. This is the phase where the hair physically grows approximately 1 cm per month. It begins in the papilla and can last from two to six years. The span at which the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow. During this phase, the cells in the papilla divide to produce new hair fibers[contradictory], and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. About 85% – 90% of the hairs on one’s head is in the anagen phase at any given time.
The catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase. This lasts about two weeks, the hair follicle shrinks due to disintegration and the papilla detaches and “rests,” cutting the hair strand off from its nourishing blood supply. The first sign of catagen is the cessation of melanin production in the hair bulb and apoptosis of follicular melanocytes. While hair is not growing during this phase, the length of the terminal fibers increases when the follicle pushes them upward.
During the telogen or resting phase, the follicle remains dormant. 10 – 15 % of the hair follicles lay dormant at any given time.
Male pattern baldness or genetic hair loss in men occurs when the hair follicles production of hairs starts to produce finer and thinner hairs, commonly known as miniaturised hairs. As well as producing inferior quality hairs the growth slows down with the dormant cycle becoming more dominant. This results over time in the hair follicles reproducing less hair and the hair coverage over the head becoming thinner exposing the scalp. The severity of this depends on your genetic tolerance to the male pattern baldness gene.
Some hair follicles appear to be genetically oversensitive to the actions of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a hormone that is converted from testosterone. DHT binds to receptors in the hair follicles and shrinks them, making them progressively smaller. Over time, the follicles produce thinner hairs, and they grow for a shorter time than normal. Eventually, the follicle no longer produces hair, leaving the area bald.
Not all the hair on a man´s head is sensitive to DHT and even advanced hair loss leaves a band of hair around the back and sides on the scalp. Due to this fact it is possible to use some of this hair, remove it with either the Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT) or the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant techniques to cover areas over the top of the scalp that have suffered from hair loss.
Hair loss can be treated if caught in the early stages with a number of hair loss treatments that have been approved by the FDA in America. Results will vary from person to person and it is impossible to promise an exact result can be achieved. Before starting a treatment or considering a surgical option to tackle your hair loss you should seek professional advice, with an online hair loss consultation being a simple and convenient option.