You may be surprised to learn that human hair does not grow continuously. Each individual hair follicle goes through cycles of growth and rest. The resting period of the follicle is called the telogen phase.
Prediction of hair loss is a prevalent topic given how many people experience alopecia in some form. When a male comes in for a hair loss consultation, I'm trying to look into the “crystal ball” to question where the patient sitting in front of me will end up or which stage in hair loss progression could be the endpoint, so I can recommend appropriate treatment options.
Unlike some cosmetic and health fields where treatment preventions can start before any symptoms occur, hair loss is a condition not everyone will experience. When we talk about prevention as it relates to hair loss, the focus of this discussion is preventing further hair loss, not preventing hair loss from ever appearing. Likewise, any "prevention" approach to hair loss, we only recommend after miniaturization has begun.
October brings us Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual international campaign is designed to increase awareness of this disease including the prevention, early detection strategies and possible treatments. Various charities participate in hopes of raising funds that may ultimately contribute to the eradication of this disease that affects about 1 in 8 American women and 1 in 1,000 men.
This September, let's increase awareness of a specific type of alopecia, Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is an obsessive compulsive disorder that causes people to pull out their own hair. At the root of an obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions) and behaviors that drive them to do something over and over (compulsions).
September brings us Alopecia Areata Awareness Month. In the large family of alopecia and its causes, the focus this month is on Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune disease affects as many as 6.8 million people in America and causes hair loss that can range from patches of hair, typically circular and coin-size, to complete hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia totalis.