Hair shedding is completely normal. Just like our skin, hair regrows and replaces itself in a cycle. If you notice hair coming off of your head when you brush your hair this is quite normal.
Hair has a natural growth cycle and it grows in stages. There is a long cycle of growth followed by shedding and then dormancy. This repeats in cycles during a hair follicle’s life. If your parents suffer from hereditary hair loss then it’s likely that you will too, so look for ways to extend the life of your hair follicles early on as it will help to lengthen the time before you lose more hair.
There are three phases of hair growth, these are the hair growth stages.
The anagen stage
This is a long phase of growth called the anagen phase. It’s an active growth cycle which lasts somewhere between two and six years. The hair follicle grows new cells and your hair will grow at roughly half an inch per month
Every hair follicle has it’s own clock, so if you have a long anagen phase you can grow your hair longer in a shorter time.
The catagen stage
This is the end of the growth cycle and is a transitionary stage where the follicle is preparing to shed hair. Hair comes away from the bulb and the follicle starts a dormant phase. This stage lasts roughly two to three weeks.
The telogen phase
Once the hair shaft has been shed, the follicle gets ready for another anagen cycle. The state lasts around two to three months, then the anagen stage starts again with active growth.
What causes hair loss?
Hair is grown using a chemical process which is controlled by hormones and cell division speed. If you have hereditary hair loss then you’ll find that hormonal changes in your body start a shorter anagen stage that means your hair grows slower and is generally much thinner.
The hormones slow down the new growth and makes the anagen cycle much shorter. Gradually the cycle gets shorter and shorter, with hair being lost over time.
Luckily hair isn’t lost all in one go and hair is shed in these stages rather than just falling out quickly. Hair treatments to restore the hair are successful because they stimulate growth during the hair growth stages and can help to lengthen cycles, giving the hair more chance to grow longer.
Once a hair follicle has died it can’t be revived and that’s why permanent bald spots are often shiny, as no hair can grow from a dead follicle. Once this happens the only treatment is to replace the hair through transplantation. This is why it’s important that as soon as you notice your hair thinning and falling out that you get early treatments to help extend the life of your hair follicles