is shedding and why does it happen after using a hair
loss product or treatment?
is one of the most commonly asked hair loss question and
the most perplexing for the hair loss sufferer. Why does using
a product that is supposed to grow hair actually cause more
hair loss? To understand this question you have to understand
how hair grows.
grows in a cycle that consists of three phases: Anagen, Catagen
- This is the growth phase that lasts between two and eight
years. During the anagen phase the growth cells in the papilla
rapidly divide and produce the hair shaft which becomes keratinized
as it pushes up and out of the hair follicle into the pore. At the
same time, the hair follicle grows down into the deeper levels of
the dermis (skin) to get nourishment.
- The Anagen phase is followed by a brief two to four week Catagen
phase or transitional phase. This is part of a renewal process
where the hair follicle is literally degraded and the hair stops
growing but does not fall out. During the Catagen phase the
hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6 of the normal length. The
lower part is destroyed, the dermal papilla breaks away, the
bulb detaches from the blood supply and the hair shaft eventually
is pushed up as the hair follicle disintegrates.
- The hair follicle then goes into the Telogen or resting phase for
two to four months, during this time the hair still does not
grow but remains attached to the hair follicle while the dermal papilla
is in a resting phase below. Approximately 10-15 percent of
all hairs are in this phase at any one time.
the Telogen phase the cycle is complete and the hair goes back
into the Anagen phase. It is at this time when the new hair
shaft is forming that the old hair is pushed out and lost. So
when you start using a product like Rogaine or Propecia you
stimulate the hair follicle to start producing hair. What often happens
is that many hair follicles that are in the Telogen phase then go
into the growth phase.
the hair follicle starts growing a new hair it has to first get rid
of the old hair, which is still attached to the hair follicle. When
this happens to many hair follicles at the same time you see a lot
of hair falling out which is what causes shedding. So instead
of these hairs falling out gradually at different times, they
all fall out together giving you the impression that you are
losing more hair.
reality is that this hair had stopped growing and was due to
fall out anyway. So shedding is a positive sign and means that
you are responding well to treatment. In fact its ironic that
people who respond the best to treatments often lose the most
hair in the beginning. This often leads to people going off
their treatment program when they should stay on it.
should last no longer than 4-6 weeks and usually occurs
6 weeks into a hair loss treatment program. If you are still
shedding a lot of hair after 2 months you should consult
may not be a shed. Shedding can also reoccur periodically since
hairs that were put into the growth cycle at the same time
a synchronized growth cycle so they tend to go into the resting
phase at the same time. This tapers off after a while. However
be aware that its normal to lose between 50-100 hairs every
day due to this natural growth process.
line is that shedding is normal and usually is a sign of good
things to come. However if you are experiencing any redness
or intense itching or irritation consult with your physician.