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Fine hair, Hair fall, Thinning hair or Hair loss? What is the difference and what can you do?

Fine hair, Hair fall, Thinning hair or Hair loss? What is the difference and what can you do?

The facts on fine hair, hair fall, thinning hair & hair loss. 

Fine hair can be either straight, wavy or curly and the term fine generally refers to the thickness or diameter of each individual strand and not to the actual number of hairs on your scalp. It’s a fact that people with fine hair actually have more hairs on their scalp than any other hair texture and as each hair has an oil gland attached, fine hair has the tendency to get oily and limp quickly. If you have fine hair, your hair will feel thin and lack natural body and bounce. Holistic Hair have products suitable for fine hair.

Hair shedding sometimes referred to as hair fall is normal and everyone loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day. It is normal for every hair to pass through 4 stages before it falls out and is replaced by a new hair. The four stages are anagen (growing), catagen (regression), telogen (resting), and exogen (hair detaches and falls out). When the scalp sheds significantly more than 100 hairs every day and for a consistent period, a person is deemed to have excessive hair shedding and the medical term for this condition is telogen effluvium.   Excessive hair shedding can be triggered by; significant weight loss, poor diet, pregnancy, stress and illness (particularly high fever) to name a few. The hair loss may not show up for 2-3 months but a Trichologist will look at your history to determine any possible reasons for the excessive hair shedding. Often this resolves itself and the excessive shedding stops. Within 6 to 9 months, the hair tends to regain its normal fullness.

Hair loss differs from hair shedding. Hair loss occurs when something stops the hair from growing. The medical term for this condition is anagen effluvium. The most common causes of hair loss include; hereditary hair loss, immune system disturbances, hormone imbalances, iron deficiency, conditions of the scalp, exposure to certain chemicals and some drug treatments. With so many factors to consider, it can be hard to get to the root of the problem without seeking professional help, either from a medical doctor or a Trichologist. More often than not, blood tests need to be done to determine the cause of any hair loss and/or hair thinning, as well as a thorough examination of your scalp and hair.

Thinning hair also referred to as reduced volume or follicle miniaturisation is a gradual reduction in the diameter of individual hairs overtime. It happens very slowly, and is not always accompanied by increased hair shedding, which means it often goes unnoticed in the early stages. Miniaturisation is a word used to describe the progressive thinning of hair. It is synonymous with the genetic condition androgenic alopecia or male/female pattern hair loss. Hair follicles that are producing healthy hairs begin to produce thinner, shorter, more brittle hairs with weaker shafts. These hairs are less dense and lead to the appearance of hair loss. Cases of female pattern baldness are not as high as male and females tend to lose their hair in a different pattern to men. High levels of male sex hormones, called androgens, contribute to hair loss in men. It’s generally felt that androgens are also at play in female pattern hair loss. Another factor is the presence of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT is the primary hormone linked to hair loss. Testosterone naturally converts to DHT through a hormonal pathway called the 5 alpha reductase. Certain hairs on your head may be genetically susceptible to thin if exposed to excess levels of DHT. DHT can attach to the hair follicle, prematurely make it shed and begin to shrink the follicle. Age is also a factor. The older you are, the more likely you are to experience miniaturisation of your hair.  If you suspect hair thinning you should seek the opinion of a specialist such as a Trichologist or a Dermatologist.

What can you do to ensure a healthy head of hair?

There are two basic considerations to be made when trying to ensure a healthy head of hair. The first is to be aware that as hair is forming it is alive. Each follicle, the pocket within the scalp where the hair is growing from, has its own network of nerves and blood supply. The capillaries in the follicle are delivering nutrients to the live cells as they become the keratinized protein that grow outward from the scalp. The nutrients that the hair needs come from what an individual consumes internally in their diet, therefore a healthy diet is the most important. Read our blog Nutrition for Healthy Hair for more information.

Once the hair is formed and it grows away from the scalp, external factors must be taken into account to maintain healthy hair. These factors include an awareness of choosing appropriate hair care products that specifically target ones needs. Holistic Hair recommend a Natural Shampoo, and Conditioner, with our Herbal Finishing Rinse and Essential Scalp Spray for individuals who are experiencing excessing hair shedding or hair loss. A weekly scalp treatment with our Scalp Treatment Oil is helpful for inflammatory scalp conditions and removal of scale/plaque build-up that can cause hair loss. Using the Scalp Treatment Oil for a weekly scalp massage can encourage blood flow to the hair follicles. Care should also be taken in styling of the hair.  Although hair is resilient, constant abuse, will cumulatively take a toll. Avoid being rough when towel drying, keep a blow dryer at a lower setting both with velocity and heat, and use the proper aids for styling, brushing and combing.

 Authored by the Holistic Hair panel of experts

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