Natural Causes of Hair Fall

The hair follicles undergo continuous growth cycles with involution and resting phases. This process, lasting weeks to months, seems to be related to a circadian clock, approximating a 24-hour cycle.

If you don't use harsh chemicals in the form of shampoos and other hair products, and yet wonder how you suffer from hair fall, don't fret. While chemicals from hair products are the main culprit for hair fall these days, there are also some natural causes for this phenomenon. Here's a look at some of the common ways you could be losing your hair, as well as clearer idea into the 'life cycle' of your hair.

THE NATURAL HAIR LOSS CYCLE


Seasonal variation: Human hair cycles are really no different from dogs and cats or even other animals. While not so noticeable in people, there are cyclical variations, based upon the fact that there is low shedding in the winter and increased shedding as summer wanes. November seems to be the month with the maximum loss of hair in northern emperate climates and sometimes May. It has been postulated that hair provides insulation to the head in the winter and protection against the sun in the summer.

Nutritional variation: This is not a consideration in normal, healthy people; however, with persistent hair shedding, there can be other factors involved. For example, people who have eating disorders, be it anorexia or bulimia, or who place themselves on crash diets may deplete their bodies of necessary nutrients and vitamins, needed for hair growth.

Similarly, patients receiving parenteral nutrition may experience hair loss, probably because all of the vitamins and trace minerals are not being absorbed. These would nclude, zinc, selenium, biotin, and even iron, but excessive intake of any one of these can also cause hair loss. For this reason, supplements to induce hair growth are not recommended, unless there is an underlying condition.

CONCERNS OVER NATURAL HAIR FALL


Hair fall is a major concern for consumers. In a global consumer survey9, it was revealed that hair fall was a top 5 concern across the world, and was the number 1 consumer concern in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) for 1 in 5 women (21%).

Wanting ‘stronger hair’ was also listed as a top 5 need in BRIC markets: a quarter in Brazil (26%) and Russia (23%), nearly a fifth in India (17%) and also high in China (15%).

Concerns about hair fall are not confined to the older woman; those worried about this issue range from 16-45+ years. Unlike hair breakage, hair fall is perceived as a problem with no solution, and fear of hair fall leading to baldness results in anxiety and changes in behaviour. For example, women limit the hair styles they adopt (tying it up, cutting it short, stop colouring).

The self-perceived hair fall problem can lead to a feeling that they are unable to express their personality or mood as hair and hair style are an “expression of self”.

Over two thirds (69%) of women feel the way their hair looks has a big impact on how they feel about themselves, this sentiment being strongest in India (80%) and Russia (72%).

Three quarters (75%) of women are worried about how the environment affects the overall quality of their hair, and over a third (34%) feel their bodies and biological make up are the main cause of hair fall, blaming hereditary causes (10% in Brazil), illness (15% in Russia, 12% in India), stress (9% in Russia) and age (15% in China).

Many women overreact to their hair fall level. Whereas they may be exhibiting normal levels of hair fall, they perceive themselves to be in a clinically problematic area, e.g. androgenic alopecia, telogen effluvium etc. They are looking for a product regime to reassure themselves that they will have normal hair.

HAIR GROWTH:

• The amount of time that hair stays in the hair follicle is genetically predetermined
• The longer that hair remains in the anagen phase, the longer the hair will be
• Hair growth occurs in a mosaic pattern, meaning that at any one time, the hair visualized is in different phases
• The duration of the anagen phase is genetically predetermined, but it may decrease with age

• Normal growth:
- 1.06 cm (2.54 in) every 28 days or about 10 cm (25 in) per year
- Approximately 0.35-0.37 mm (.014 in)/day
• New growth generally matches the amount of hair shed
• Newly formed hair takes about 3 weeks to be seen on the scalp

Duration of hair on the head:
• Eyebrows: about 4 months
• Scalp: several months to about 7 years

Although the stated average natural hair loss is 100 hairs per day this can vary tremendously between individuals. Unilever use an internal definition that “normal” shedding is up to 150 hairs per day and high shedding is greater than 150 hairs lost per day.