Balding is either a result of hair follicles ceasing to regenerate or shedding. Hair strands gradually decrease in length and thickness as a hair follicle becomes dormant. This is what usually occurs during androgenic alopecia. Hair loss conditions such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium causes hair to shed in clumps. A person who is balding could have a better understanding of the process if he also has some knowledge of how hair grows.
The hair growth cycle is a regular process that the scalp goes through to renew itself. It can be divided into three parts though it could also be discussed in four.
The first is the anagen or the growth phase. Up to eighty five percent of the hair follicles are engaged in this stage at any given time lasting anywhere from two to six years. Hair has been measured to grow at a rate of one centimeter for every twenty-eight days. How long this could actually be before it is shed differs from person to person. Asians are reputed to grow their hair the longest, up to one meter in length before it is naturally lost. Stress, illness and an unhealthy lifestyle can disturb the normal flow of this process.
It is the catagen or transition phase that comes next. Hair growth slows down during the shortest stage in the hair growth cycle which could be anywhere between two to three weeks. About five percent of the hair follicles go into this mode on different areas of the scalp. It is during this phase when the hair strand slowly detaches from the root and club hair begins to take shape.
This is followed by the telogen or the resting phase. It is here where about ten to fifteen percent of hair growth gradually comes to a halt. During this period of about two to three months, the club hair that began to form in the catagen stage reaches its completion. A round, whitish substance at the end of the hair strand is evidence of this.
The final stage of the hair growth cycle is the exogen or new hair phase. It is during this time when the hair strands are actually shed. Normal hair loss is considered to be about twenty-five to one hundred fifty hairs a day. It is also during this time when new hair starts to grow. This will mark the renewal of the hair growth cycle as it goes back to the anagen stage.
Excessive hair loss occurs when more hair is shed than is being replaced. This happens when there are less anagen hairs than telogen. Hair that is at rest is not growing at all. It is actually just waiting to be shed and for new hair to take its place. Another way that balding manifests itself is when there is a decrease in length and circumference of the hair strands with each and every hair growth cycle. This would actually be a symptom of androgenic alopecia caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone binding with the androgen receptors of the hair follicles resulting in a blockage of the nutrients from the bloodstream. The hair strands that grow slowly become wispy until eventually they do not grow at all because of the shrinkage of the hair follicles due to lack of nutrition.
These are the motions that a basic hair growth cycle goes through as well as how to tell if the scalp is undergoing excessive hair loss. Self-diagnosis should however be avoided. Noticing such symptoms is only a sign that a qualified physician should be consulted to confirm its existence as well as to make a proper classification of the type of hair loss condition in order to seek appropriate treatment.