Before you know about your future see your past before improving your future hair see what has been and is the state of your hair now Ravi Bhanot

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1 Chapter 1 All you need to know about hair almost Before you know about your future see your past before improving your future hair see what has been and is the state of your hair now Ravi Bhanot Typically we shed between 30 and 100 hairs daily so we are all losing hair daily. Usually however this hair is replaced. Before understanding how to slow down hair thinning, we need to understand what hair is, how it grows and conditions that may play a part in this growth. An average head carries 100, ,000 hairs. If you don t believe me count them yourself! There are a variety of colours in hair - black is the most prevalent particularly amongst the Middle Eastern and Asian countries. In the west we have blondes, brunettes and redheads - only 2% are blondes and red heads. These have a low level of the dark pigment eumelanin and a higher level of the pigment phaeomelanin. Brown hair contains high levels of the dark eumelanin and lower levels of the pale pigment phaeomelanin. Hair s primary function is to regulate temperature. Human beings being warm blooded animals need to keep their body temperature stable. In cold temperatures muscles attached to the hair follicles contract causing the hair to stand up. This results in warm air being trapped between the hair. Since we have other means to keep warm e.g. clothes, our partners (they can certainly get you heated up), exercise and eating hot curries - the main purpose of hair is cosmetic. How does hair form? Hair is made from strong strands of a protein called keratin. Chemically this means oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, carbon and hydrogen (2). Hair is made up of two types of Keratin-type 1 and type 11. Type 1 is acidic in nature whilst type 11 is basic. Together they make the keratin to form hair and nails. (No wonder many people with alopecia also have problems with their nails- and you thought it was nerves!). The proportions of the individual elements that make up hair differ between people of different ages, sex, type and even in the colour of the hair. Hair is not living. It has no nerves and is difficult to destroy. So why have some people s hair been destroyed prematurely?

2 Hair grows in our scalps from follicles. These are unevenly spread in the scalp - usually in groups of two to five. Each follicle has its own life cycle. It produces about six inches (15cm) of hair annually for about four years. It then falls out and after a short period the whole cycle starts again. Just imagine if this did not happen you could have used the same hair dye once in your lifetime - no such luck I am afraid! Natural hair loss is not a disease. When hair loss is excessive or when the pattern of loss is abnormal, we get worried. We lose self-esteem and confidence. Why? This is the physiology of hair growth The base of the tip of the hair in the scalp has a small outgrowth of the skin that looks like a doorknob. This is called the papilla. The papilla contains blood vessels. These supply food to the hair. During the growth period the new cell grows and pushes out the older part of the hair away from the papilla. It does so until the hair falls out. A bad hair day for the old hair you could say! The pattern of cell growth in this papilla determines the characteristics of the hair - whether it will grow straight, wavy or curly. Structure of Hair In adolescence the hair grows at its fastest rate and this reduces with age Just imagine if you were an adolescent all your life - all the challenges with your parents and revising for those exams - I

3 would rather be older and fight to keep my hair! What would you prefer? The cell growth pattern can change due to drugs, pregnancy, illness etc. With age the growth phase of the hair cycle reduces in length and the subcutaneous (below the skin surface) of the scalp also becomes thin and the hair becomes more brittle. Each hair may look like a single fibre but it is made up of three distinct layers - the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla. The cuticle is the layer on the outside. It protects the inner cortex layer. The cells here are flat, hard and horny shaped. Frequently using harsh chemicals on the hair damages the cuticle. When the cuticle breaks at the end of the hair it results in split ends. The second layer is the cortex. The make up of the cortex determines the strength, elasticity, direction and growth pattern of hair. The width and texture of hair is also determined by the composition of the cortex. The cortex is made up of fibres twisted together, a bit like a rope. The cortex gives the colour of the hair. There are four natural pigments - black, brown, yellow and red. What determines the colour and shade of hair is: 1. The amount of pigment and 2. Amount of air space in the cortex (Of course your parents and your genes play a part too!) The medulla is the inner part of the hair. It is made of soft keratin. It is composed of large cells that give the appearance of looking hollow. The medulla may or may not be present in the hair but this does not affect the hair in any way. Every hair has a life cycle of its own. Each hair grows from its own individual hair follicle. A follicle will produce new cells for a certain period of time. This period is called the growth phase. When the hair follicle enters the rest phase, the hair shaft breaks. The existing hair falls out and a new hair takes its place. The length of time that the individual hair is able to grow during the growth phase controls the maximum length of the hair. How do we keep the hair in this phase? The cells on the arms stop growing every couple of months. That is why hair on the arms stays short. The hair follicles on your scalp let hair grow for many years, so the hair can grow very long. Each hair grows on average half inch every month in the Anagen (growth period). In the resting phase hairs are shed per day. On average around

4 85% of hairs are in the growing phase and 14% are in a resting state and 1% in the Transitional stage (1). If the Anagen hair count is less than 80% of the total, the person has true hair thinning. The loss of a single or few hairs generally goes unnoticed as there are hairs around the lost hair that are in the Anagen or growing phase. Each hair is replaced every three to five years. Hair Cycle Anagen (Growth stage) Catagen Hair shedding Telogen (Resting stage) Catagen starts when the Anagen phase comes to an end. In the Catagen phase cell division stops and the hair stops growing. The hair follicle shrinks to about one sixth of its normal diameter. Almost 1% of scalp hair is in Catagen phase at any given time. Hair is normally in the Catagen phase for two to four weeks and in the Telogen phase for about two to four months. To understand what is going on the outside we need to know what is going on in the inside. The balance from within keeps the body balance on the outside. This may not be necessarily the conventional western scientists trail of thought but read on It is said that the body has all the Pharmacy within it. Medicines, food and food supplements help in creating the right environment for the body to repair and renew. The body heals itself. Let us start from the heart.. Blood leaves, the left side of the heart, rich in oxygen. As it passes around the body, blood gives oxygen to these tissues and removes carbon dioxide from them. Blood goes back to the heart through veins and then removes the carbon dioxide through the lungs.

5 The lungs exchange the carbon dioxide for oxygen. This then goes through the blood circulatory system to join the left side of the heart. The whole cycle starts again. Poor blood circulation results in not only a poor oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange but also poor removal of toxic waste products from the body. This results in ill health and acceleration in the ageing process. The areas furthest away from the heart suffer most, particularly fingers, feet and the scalp. A small imbalance in the body affects the hair and scalp. This could be seen as losing or thinning hair, dry or itchy scalps, dandruff or inflammation. Please bear in mind that the body imbalance could be due to poor circulation, imbalance in hormones, drugs or diet, trauma, stress or due to inherited traits. Healthy diet and good blood circulation is therefore vital. The body is more than the elements that make it. The body is holistic and any method that slows down hair loss, hair thinning and reverses hair loss has to take this into account. Well done you have just learnt the hair cycle!

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