Read about the basics of hair loss and hair growth. Here you will find more discussion on the science of hair loss, as well as the debunking of myths, the psychology of baldness, and even the fun side of hair.
The reasons we have hair, and the functions of its growth patterns, are not completely understood. Our prehistoric ancestors were much hairier than we are today; the reason for the decreased hairiness of modern man is unknown, although it is reasonable to assume that it parallels the use of clothing for warmth and protection from the sun and physical trauma.
Each hair follicle measures about 3-4 mm in length and produces a hair shaft about 0.1 mm in width. The hair follicle has five main parts. Starting from the bottom of the follicle, they are; the dermal papillae, matrix, outer root sheath (ORS), inner root sheath (IRS), and the hair shaft.
At any given time, about 90% of terminal hairs on one’s head are actively growing. This phase, called anagen, can last from 2 to 7 years, though the average is about three years. In catagen, which is the shortest phase lasting about 2-3 weeks, growth stops, the middle of the follicle constricts and the lower portion expands to form the “club.” The other remaining 10% of scalp hairs are in a resting state called telogen that, in a normal scalp, lasts about 3 to 4 months.
There is a sea of rumors floating out there that attempt to explain the “root” of the problem. After all, the great Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, thought that baldness could be cured by a mixture containing horseradish and pigeon droppings. The desire to have a simple solution – particularly one that is within our control – is understandable. But today, let’s debunk some of these hair loss myths and learn what the facts really are.
What is Anagen effluvium? Densitometry? Traction Alopecia? Find out the definition of these and many other hair loss terms in our glossary.
Hair loss is a problem for millions of men and women, both young and old. It can decrease self-esteem and confidence and limit the ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Balding affects people in different ways, but certain emotional reactions seem to be shared by many. Read on for a discussion on the psychology of baldness and balding.
Chat rooms are filled with speculation about the seeming rise and fall (and sometimes rise again) of follicles for such stars as Matt Lauer, Mel Gibson and Jude Law. And for sports figures like Tiger Woods and Pete Sampras. In the summary of an article in the Bergen Record, we see that such stars as Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, and Matt Damon must increasingly depend upon their stylists to avoid bad hair days. Read this article on celebrity hair loss and how people in the public eye manage their hair loss.