Hair loss is a normal part of the body’s functions, but more and more people are suffering from early severe hair loss. As frustrating as this problem is, understanding the roots of the problem can provide solutions to fix this.
The hair cycle
Every strand of hair has its life cycle; this cycle is split into three phases – anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen phase lasts 2 to 4 years, and during this time, the hair is usually long and thick, and it is usually the healthiest at this stage. Next, the catagen phase lasts two to four weeks, where the hair stops growing. Lastly, the telogen phase is when the hair follicles begin to shrink, and the hair naturally falls out of the follicle. The follicle then returns to a healthy state, where the cycle begins all over again. Occasionally, if the follicle undergoes injury or trauma, hair that grows out of the follicle may be weaker and finer than before, or hair may not grow out of the follicle at all.
Normal hair loss
Typically speaking, an average person loses around 50 to 100 strands of hair every day. Hair that falls out naturally will have a small white piece of keratin attached to the end of the hair – this is normal and is a sign of healthy hair loss. However, if the hair is curved at the end where it was previously attached to the scalp, this may be a sign of abnormal hair loss.
While it isn’t necessary to count the hairs that fall out every day, if your hair is becoming noticeably thinner and the scalp is becoming increasingly visible, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor or a professional to seek an answer for hair loss problems.
Tips for healthy hair
1. Proper hair washing
- Thoroughly wet the hair before shampooing, and avoid using water that is too hot to prevent irritating the scalp
- Lather the shampoo in your hands before applying it to the hair
- When shampooing, only use fingertips to massage the scalp, as fingernails can damage the delicate skin on the scalp
- Using a conditioner can help reduce knotting and ensure smoothness in the hair
- Use a towel to gently dry the hair before blow-drying
- When blow-drying, make sure to keep the blow dryer moving to avoid overheating one section and keep the blow dryer away from the scalp. Avoid using high temperatures so that the scalp doesn’t become irritated
2. Choosing the right products
Although many shampoos on the market advertise themselves as “anti-hair loss” or “reduces hair loss”, the Hong Kong Consumer Council reports that most hair loss comes from combing, and these “anti-hair loss” products do not prevent hair loss. The Consumer Council has collected 60 types of shampoos available for purchase on the market and upon inspection, more than half of the samples contained an excessive amount of dioxane. The dioxane levels in these shampoos exceeded the safety limit of China’s “Cosmetic Safety Specifications”. If not removed entirely, chemicals left behind on the scalp by these products can cause irritation, dryness, and tightness in the skin.
Before purchasing hair products, reading and understanding the ingredients in each product can help determine whether the product is right for you. Natural products often contain a variety of minerals and extracts to help combat hair problems more gently. Iron is a great ingredient to prevent hair loss and increase circulation in the scalp, improving overall hair health. Botanical ingredients such as coltsfoot are rich in amino acids, helping the hair become stronger and soothing the scalp at the same time. Horsetail is another ingredient that helps strengthen fragile and damaged hair, perfect for maintaining healthy hair.