WHERE’S MY HAIR?
By Ursa Wylie Duncan
“What? Isn’t this a problem only men have to deal with? “
The clues are everywhere. Strands are clogging the shower drain, tangled up in your bed linens, on your children’s favorite snuggie, down your shirt, even in the chicken curry you served for dinner last night. All these clues can only add up to one conclusion: you are losing your hair.
What? Isn’t this a problem only men have to deal with? Will my husband and I have matching bald heads? The answers are, no, this isn’t just a problem for men. And, no, while you will not eventually be your husband’s twin, thinning hair can become a big pain in the butt when it comes to personal appearance and self esteem. According to the American Hair Loss Association, 40% of people battling hair loss are women. So not only are we dealing with losing that last five pounds, but apparently we are struggling to hold on to our hair.
So why is this happening? There are plenty of reasons. If you can identify the culprit, this situation can often be reversed. Good news, right? If we break down hair growth to a science, understand that it grows about six inches per year, roughly half and inch per month, going through three phases during its life span. That’s pretty slow, I know. Frustrating right?
The three stages of hair’s life include the birth of the hair strand, called the anagen (active)phase. If you are predisposed to have shorter hair, this phase doesn’t last very long. But if you are one of the lucky ones with locks reaching down to your waist, then this phase lasts much
longer for you. The second phase, called the catagen phase, is when the hair growth calls it quits and stops growing. The telogen phase, the third and last phase, is the strand’s resting point, generally lasting about 100 days. After this point, the hair falls out of your head.
Premature hair loss is due to biology forcing the body to skip from phase one directly to the end of phase three. And this happens for many reasons you may never have considered.
Stress is the number one reason for hair loss among women 35 to 55 years of age. Also on the list of reasons are child birth, lack of sleep, and an unbalanced diet cause muscles in the scalp to restrict, slowing blood flow to the follicle, thus depriving the delivery of oxygen and vitamins needed for healthy hair growth.
“Multi-toned highlights and lowlights add depth and dimension.”
Anything you can do to get that blood pumping is going to help. Regular exercise, foods high in biotin, iron, and B12 are top-notch in follicle nourishment. Regular deep-scalp massage, along with stimulating shampoos and products such as Aveda’s Invanti haircare collection, Neem’s invigorating natural line, or Kevin Murphy’s Pump It Up products, can actually extend the hair’s anagen phase. If thinning is advanced enough to where you are starting to feel self conscious and/or the cause is hormonal or due to certain medications (a doctor can help you to identify this), reach for topical haircare products containing Minoxidil 2-5%.
Styling can either be your best friend or worst enemy. Remember, we want fullness and overabundance! Opt for shorter cuts that rock a few layers with blunter lines, steering clear of flat shapes. Multi-toned highlights and lowlights add depth and dimension, as do along body-building styling products such as root lifters. These are best used while blow-drying hair upside down. Wrap tresses around Velcro rollers while hair is cooling to set the style, extending the finish to last all day. Only use hairsprays labeled “finishing,” for they are light and won’t add weight. Steer clear of styling products promising to add shine or strong control; they will make your style appear greasy. And while it may be tempting, avoid styles that add strain to the scalp such as braiding and hair extensions. These options often worsen the problem by damaging the follicle permanently. And for the good news, nine times out of ten, premature hair loss is not a permanent problem.