Too Little Hair

By Kira Mayo

Comb

Hair. It’s among our most defining characteristics. It’s probably one of the first things you notice when you meet someone. As such, we spend a lot of time thinking about our hair. What if you think you don’t have enough hair? What’s “normal?” How can you prevent more hair loss?

Your hair normally goes through cycles of growth and arrest. The length of each cycle varies from person to person, but the growth phase generally lasts two to three years and the resting phase typically lasts three to four months. At the end of this resting phase, hair strands fall out and new ones begin to grow in their place, initiating the growth cycle.

People shed about 100 strands of hair per day. That may sound like a lot, but with 100,000 strands on your head, it shouldn’t make a visible difference. You may notice a difference if the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of growth, if new hair is increasingly thinner, or if hair comes out in clumps.

The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Pattern baldness (also known as “androgenic alopecia”) is the most common type of alopecia, and it affects about one in three men and women. In pattern baldness, the growth cycle shortens, hair becomes thin and less sturdy, and strands become rooted more superficially, which makes them fall out easier. Heredity plays a big role in pattern baldness; a history of it in either side of your family increases your chances of balding, and also affects the age at which you begin to lose your hair, the speed at which you lose it and the pattern and extent of your hair loss.

So what are some things you can do to slow down the process? Minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride (Propecia) are FDA approved drugs used to treat alopecia. Minoxidil prolongs the growth phase of the hair and transforms fine hair into coarse hair. Finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, decreasing the hormonal effects seen in male-pattern hair loss.

There are many other reasons for hair loss: poor nutrition, medications, and underlying medical conditions are some examples. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice increasing, sudden or patchy hair loss, and before using any medications to treat it.

Originally reported for CavalierDaily.com

4 responses to “Too Little Hair

  1. I’ve been using Rogaine for about a year now and it has worked for me, but I never knew how. Great info!

  2. Hi Kira,
    I have a few questions….
    1. My feet sweat a lot, what can be the cause or cure?
    2. Are facials bad for your skin?
    3. How often should I see a dermatologist about “beauty” marks on my skin?
    4. Any recommendations for scars on my skin, any creams?

    Thanks Kira, I love your page!

    • Hi Kelly,
      So glad you asked these questions! I’ll answer all of them briefly now, but I’ll post more thorough answers on this page in the form of blogs by the end of this week. Check back on the weekend and let me know if you still have questions.

      1- There are many (around 250,000) sweat glands in each foot, and we produce around half a pint of moisture per day just through our feet. If you sweat more than you’d like, try some of the following:
      -Apply a foot powder after washing and drying your feet (make sure they’re super dry when you put the powder on). As far as which foot powder you should use, try either Lamisil AT defense with tolfnaftate, an antifungal, if you have a tendency to get athlete’s foot, or Dr. Scholl’s Deodorant Foot Powder with Zinoxol if you have smelly, sweaty feet.
      -Try to wear synthetic socks (which keep moisture out) instead of cotton ones (which soak moisture in like a sponge).
      -Try a spray antiperspirant such as Gold Bond Maximum Strength Foot Spray. You can use your normal antiperspirant, but it has less aluminum chloride, so it’ll be less effective.

      2- The term “facials” is rather ambiguous. There are many different types, and some are great while others can damage your skin. I’ll write a blog detailing different types of “facials.” Since different facials work for different skin types, you can decide what is best for you after going through your options.

      3- GREAT question! A lot of different variables go into this. Do you have risk factors for skin cancer? If so, get your skin checked out once a year by a certified dermatologist. Also, as a rule of thumb, remember the ABCDE’s of skin cancer: Is your skin lesion Asymmetric? Are the Borders of your skin lesion irregular? Are there different Colors in your skin lesion? Is the Diameter of your skin lesion bigger than a pencil eraser? Is your skin lesion Evolving or changing? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please see a certified dermatologist to check it out.

      4- Scars are a tricky issue. Most dermatologists would agree that it takes a full year for a scar to completely heal. Therefore, if your scars is less than a year old, you’re more likely to be able to do something about it. A big way to make it less noticeable is to keep it out of the sun (cover it with a thick layer of sunblock or keep it covered by clothes). The sun will pigment the scar, resulting in a darker scar down the road. If your scar is older than one year, there’s not too much that can be done. I’ll have to do some research and come up with a more detailed answer for you later on this week.

      I hope this helps! Again, check back for more detailed answers and let me know if you have any more questions.

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