How Your Hair Grows
Your hair is made of keratin (KER-uh-tin), the same protein that makes up your nails and the outer layer of your skin. The part you see and style is called the hair shaft. It’s actually dead tissue make by your hair follicles – tiny bulb-like structures beneath your scalp’s surface. The average head has about 100,000 hairs. Your hair grows and is shed regularly. But many factors can disrupt this cycle. About 90% of the hair on most people’s scalp is in a 4 to 5 year growth stage at any given time. The other 10% is in a 2 to 3 month resting phase, after which it is shed. Most people shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. Once a hair is shed, the growth stage begins again as a new hair from the same follicle replaces the shed hair. New hair grows at a rate of approximately ½” each month although this slows as you age. Hair loss may lead to baldness when the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of re-growth, when new hair is thinner than the hair shed or when hair comes out in patches.
The Beauty Taboo
Confronting the stigma of hair loss poses considerable psychological and emotional challenges for both men and women. For every five men with hereditary hair loss, three women experience the same condition. Yet women’s hair thinning remains a “taboo” subject for the media, the public and patients. “Hair thinning is common, among otherwise healthy women, and can begin in women as early as their twenties, women need to better understand the various reasons why hair loss occurs and seek treatment options that are proven to work. Thinning hair and hair loss can have a profound effect on self-image and self-confidence, causing women to feel unattractive, embarrassed and helpless,” said Ellen Rubin, Psy.D. Clinical instructor of psychology at NYU School of Medicine. “It’s important for anyone experiencing hair loss to remember that they’re not alone, to confront their hair loss and take action to safely regain control of their appearance and self-esteem.”