I’m here to give you some information about hair so you may have a decent mane to highlight your body. First, we’ll look at the makeup of the follicle itself, then we’ll work our way into products, both bought and mixed/created, so you will see how they might benefit you.
Everyone experiences hair loss on some level. After all, the average person sheds 50-100 hairs a day as part of the natural hair growth cycle. Noticeable hair loss, however, occurs when this cycle is disrupted. These interruptions can happen for a variety of reasons—read on to learn more about how different causes and conditions can play a role in hair loss.
What is hair?
The growth of human hair occurs everywhere on the body except for the soles of the feet, the inside of the mouth, the lips, the backs of the ears, the palms of the hands, some external genital areas, the navel, scar tissue, and, apart from eyelashes, the eyelids. Hair is a group of multi-layered flat cells whose rope-like filaments provide structure and strength to the hair shaft. The protein called keratin makes up hair and stimulates hair growth. Hair follows a specific growth cycle with three distinct and concurrent phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the length of the hair. Hair grows from the ends. There is no real correlation between split ends and the roots where hair does indeed grow. Keep in mind that split ends as compared to hair breakage can happen—even with healthy hair. There are several types of splits which can occur at the ends.
The body has different types of hair, including vellus hair and androgenic hair, each with its own type of cellular construction. This varied construction gives the hair unique characteristics, serving specific purposes, mainly warmth (redundant in modern humans) and physical protection. Most humans develop the longest, thickest hair on their scalps and (mostly observed on male faces.) This hair will usually grow to several feet before terminating, but many humans develop much longer hair.
See: Hair Loss Causes and Conditions | HairClub for full disclosure.
Why hair falls out
First off, we must consider the obvious, and that is genetics. It’s one of those “sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield” things in life that we can do nothing about. In reality, a good majority of us were male in our past lives, and most are prone to male pattern balding. Our Estradiol slows the process, but sooner than later it’s going to happen to most of us because of our relatives. But we also have to be careful of other things our bodies endure. For instance, a deficiency in certain vitamins and/or minerals can contribute to hair loss. Some nutrients important for your hair include B vitamins (particularly Biotin), vitamin D, iron, zinc, protein, and essential fatty acids.
Hormones: Fluctuating hormone levels in women may cause or contribute to hair thinning or loss. These changes can often occur postpartum or be attributed to perimenopause, menopause, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Drugs: often, side effects from prescription drugs or medical treatments can include hair loss. These treatments can include:
Acne medications, Antibiotics, Antidepressants, Bariatric surgery, Beta-blockers for high blood pressure, Blood thinners, Chemotherapy and radiation to treat cancer, Cholesterol-lowering medications, Epilepsy medications, Hormone replacement therapy, Immune-suppressing drugs, Lithium, NSAIDs, Oral contraceptives, Steroids, Thyroid medications, and Weight loss drugs.
Stress: While everyday stress won’t impact your hair, three types of hair loss are associated with high stress levels, including:
Telogen Effluvium: This condition occurs when there’s a sudden shock to the system like that experienced with childbirth, surgery, rapid weight loss or any major, traumatic event such as a death in the family, divorce, or an accident.
Trichotillomania: The stress-induced impulse control disorder, trichotillomania, is a hair loss condition that drives people to pull out their own hair.
Alopecia Areata: This autoimmune skin disease mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other areas of the body.
Styling practices: Frequent use of harsh styling practices can cause breakage and make hair fall out. Some of the most damaging styling practices include tight hair styles such as ponytails, braids or buns worn for extended periods of time; chemical treatments such as coloring, perms, and relaxers; and incorrect use or overuse of hot styling tools.
Remedies to help retain hair
There are as many hair remedies and clinics as there are hairs on your head, ladies. Please be careful and research all oils and over-the-counter applications, and unless it’s been researched or prescribed, I would be wary of anyone on the internet. At 61, I have had good success with natural remedies and with good hygiene, but whether the other one’s work or not is still up in the air. For instance, according to WebMD, pumpkin seed oil and rosemary oil may be just as effective as minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, at restoring hair growth. Again, additional research is needed to back up this finding. Other essential oils such as peppermint oil, jojoba oil, and lavender oil.
I have been using a tried-and-true remedy my Busha (Grandmother) taught me that contains Castor oil as one of the three natural ingredients. When I told my beautician about my concoction’s ingredients, she shushed me and quietly whispered “that’s my secret too!!” (She’s Polish as well)
What I do and have done for years (unless you’re allergic to one of the natural ingredients) won’t hurt you. It should leave your hair as soft as a baby’s. There are many recipes on-line, and your knowledge of the ingredients should tell you if they are any good. Once again, research it. After all, it’s YOUR hair ladies.
With Beta Keratin, (not to be confused with “Beta” Caradine) and/or Collagen, that it may help to grow and keep your hair. Each has been known to help the skin, where hair follicles reside. The frequency of washing your hair and the products you use on your hair are also a factor. Many shower with a cap and wash their hair periodically to allow the natural oils to assist/repair, but in all of my research, I have found little information to verify this practice. Most don’t want to pull their hair out in the initial brushing it after washing it. They find a big bundle of hair in their brush and think their hair is falling out every time. For older girls who have thinning or baldness, I somewhat agree, but hair needs to be clean and groomed to be healthy as well. Brushing your hair massages the scalp and rids your head of dead skin cells and hair so that new may grow.
So, the never-ending circle (should I or shouldn’t I) is unbroken. Soft brush/firm brush, how often, and what products do I use? I have found it’s your own knowledge of your own body, as well as the products that you use to maintain it. It’s as simple as that.
Finally, if you find something that works, stick with it. It’ll go a long way to help if you do. Don’t pick a shampoo just because it smells good, and BTW it’s actually true what beauticians say about getting your hair trimmed periodically to help it grow as hair grows from the tip, not the scalp.
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Read my reply to Alexis’ post, Kelly. The root is where the nutrients and pigment are introduced yes. But growth happens much like an elongated/slender balloon being blown up a clown uses/ties to make animals. If the follicles grew from the root, the end would/could never split as they do. Think about it for a minute. But thanks for your input and curiosity. Huggz Tia
Hi Tia. Loved this post. You mentioned 3 ingredients castor oil being one of them what are the other 2 if it’s not a secret 😊 . My hair is now about 15″ long and luckily I am not losing too much. I quit dyeing my hair and it’s growing back to grey/white. Unfortunately I have dry scalp and I am using a zinc based shampoo for the dandruff.
I also use Live Clean plant based shampoo with Biotin and same product conditioner with Bali oil. Thanks for the info. Hugs, Reiht
I room temp egg, 2 Tbsp of Castor oil, 2 Tbsp organic honey. Mix and apply working it in well. cover with a plastic bag and leave in for 3 hours at least. rinse well, and don’t wash. cream rinse. repeat every week. Huggz Tia
As usual, a very good, and detailed, article Tia. Please keep up the great work. You have quite a few of these insightful Articles I would suggest everyone have as recommended reading. Hugs, Michelle
Alex, that is your hair’s way of telling you it’s replenishing the nutrients within the follicle. When you dye your hair only the outside area of the follicle absorbs the dye. This is more evident with grey hair as well, only the hair closest to the scalp loses color and turns grey first, but as you look closer, you’ll actually see the entire follicle becomes grey in streaks as it makes its way to the tip. I would’ve elaborated on this more but thought it was common knowledge. Thank you for correcting this part I left out. Huggz Tia
Grows from the tip? So why the roots grow out and show Tia? I’m confused.
Technically you don’t ever need to wash your hair…it is self cleaning. Takes a month or so without washing to stabilise. No I didn’t believe it either but I saw the experiments and it’s true.That was for a 30yr old women…so not sure how that holds up for others.
I agree with Alex. Everything I’ve read says your hair grows from your roots.