Recently, I’ve had a few friends and family members come to me asking questions about hair thinning and how you can help. After being asked several times it finally clicked in my brain that this would make a stellar blog post and help tons of people dealing with the same issue.
This blog post is going to be long, factual and broken down as best as I possibly can. I have chalked this post full of information for you guys, so let’s dive in.
The Growth Process
First and foremost, to understand hair loss and thinning you have to understand the growth process, as well as the factors that come into play that contribute to hair loss.
Our hair strands go through 4 stages of growth; anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen.
Anagen- This is the “growing phase” that typically lasts between 2-7 years; 7 being the absolute most. Depending on how long the hair strand is in the anagen stage determines how long the hair will grow. For most people, the hair can grow anywhere from 18-30 inches.
Catagen- This is the “transition phase” where the strand detaches from the skin. This typically lasts 10 days.
Telogen- This is the “resting phase” that lasts about 3 months. Around 10-20% of hairs are in this phase at a time. During this phase, the old hair is pushed out by the growth of the new hair.
FACT- Every hair strand can be in a different stage of growth at any given time. If not, all hair would shed at once.
Exogen- This is the “new hair phase” where the old hair now sheds and detaches from the scalp allowing the new hair growth to come in.
FACT- The average person sheds between 50-150 hairs a day. These hairs can be shed in the shower or from brushing and combing your hair.
FACT- All of the hair follicles you will ever have are formed when you’re a fetus.
FACT- Your hair grows half an inch a month which equates to approximately 6 inches a year.
Outside Factors Affecting Hair Growth
The main factors that affect hair growth are; stress, malnutrition/diet, illness, and medication. Heightened levels of stress can cause the hair to enter the catagen stage prematurely. Meaning, with increased stress, it can cause the hair strand to go from the telogen stage to the catagen stage quicker than it normally would’ve.
FACT: It is important to know that the telogen stage lasts 3-5 months. So, even though your stress may cause the hair to prematurely enter the catagen stage, you may not see the results, meaning the hair loss, until a few months later. This also applies to changes in diet.
FACT: Another common factor that can cause hair loss is genetics. You can inherit hair loss and the official term is Androgenetic Alopecia. Genetic hair loss is something that gradually happens over time with age.
Poor diet and malnutrition, including eating disorders, can majorly affect the loss of hair. This especially true if you are lacking protein. Lack of protein can cause the hair to prematurely enter the telogen phase.
If you lack the proper vitamins and minerals your body needs, this can result in hair loss. That’s where supplementing can come into play which we will talk about later. But of course, the best thing for your hair over a supplement is a healthy, well nourished diet.
When I say illness can affect hair loss I am referring to, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, diabetes, lupus and anemia to name a few. Also, radiation, chemotherapy and some larger scale surgeries can affect the hair as well.
If you’re worried about an illness or medical surgery affecting hair loss I would always recommend consulting with your doctor.
FACT: Hormones also come into play during hair loss. Especially after giving birth and during menopause. Both are when your estrogen levels drop dramatically.
Lastly, similar to illness and surgery, medication can absolutely play a role in hair loss. Depending on the medication, this could be a listed side effect. Always consult your doctor if you’re concerned a medication you’re taking is resulting in hair thinning.
Androgenic Alopecia or “Male Pattern Baldness”
I wanted to address Male Pattern Baldness briefly in this post because of DHT. DHT is an androgenic hormone that causes Male Pattern Baldness where the follicle shrinks and fails to produce new hair growth. This affects the growth process by making the effects from catagen stage more severe.
FACT: Not all follicles are sensitive to DHT. Usually it’s the follicles around the hairline and crown of the head.
DHT can take place in both men and women because it is a steroid hormone produced by the testes, ovaries and adrenal gland. In order to prevent this you can “block” the DHT which in return shortens the telogen stage and causes the hair to shed faster so then it grows faster.
Popular “blockers” are Minoxidil and Finasteride. I would always recommend consulting with your physician before usage.
FACT: You can only produce regrowth from follicles that are still active. If a follicle is inactive, then no new hairs will grow from here.
What You Can Do to Help
First and foremost, you can try supplementing where your body is lacking. But, it is important to address the reason you’re having hair loss. If your body isn’t lacking anything and instead the result is from another issue, taking a supplement won’t help you. It’s always best to consult with your physician if you are concerned your body may be lacking certain nutrients.
If you’re still feeling like you want to try and help your hair with a gummy or vitamin supplement, it’s important to know what ones are going to be beneficial VS what ones aren’t.
Like I’ve talked about in previous blog posts, fillers are ingredients in a certain product that are cheap and easy for a company to use. Many companies use them, but you would never know unless you did some research.
I’m going to use a popular brand, Sugar Bear Hair, as an example. You often see this brand being endorsed by influencers and celebrities. Also, it tastes like candy! But, why does it taste like candy? Because it’s full of sugar and syrup to make it taste sweet. It also contains wax and artificial coloring.
I’m using this brand as an example because it’s common, well known and even endorsed by some of our favorite people. But, while it does have a high percentage of biotin, the unnecessary additives aren’t benefiting you in any way shape or form.
To finish this blog post off, I am going to link 2 hair supplements I found that have great ratings and reviews with no fillers and clinically proven results.
What a whirlwind of information that was! I hope this truly educated and helped someone struggling with hair loss, thinning and growth!
If you’re interested in learning more, I will also link an absolutely amazing article that helped me with my research on this post. It is also where I found the supplement recommendations.