Hair loss: what tests to do and who to contact

Hair loss: what tests to do and who to contact

If the hair loss becomes consistent it is good to contact the dermatologist and do targeted tests to understand if it is androgenetic alopecia

The leaves are falling this season. And almost by nature, with autumn the hair that is on the pillow or that remains attached to the comb or brush can also increase. Do not worry: it is completely physiological to lose, every day, 50-60 hairs that are born, grow and die according to a precise cycle that always ensures their replacement. Nor should we be too frightened in this period. Generally in spring and autumn the hair undergoes a phenomenon similar to the "moult" of the hair of animals. Obviously the situation changes if “visible” spaces are created on the skull. It could be androgenetic alopecia, which mainly but not only affects men and can also manifest itself in young men.

Pay attention to the hair cycle

This form of baldness is determined by several genes, which can come as a predisposition from one of the parents or from both. In addition to heredity, male hormones, ie androgens, are responsible for androgenetic alopecia. In any case, the disease causes a slow and imperceptible, but irreversible, fall and therefore it is advisable to act as soon as possible with the help of the dermatologist, who can understand if it really is this form of baldness and arrive at the differential diagnosis of hair loss, understanding also at what stage of development is most of the hair.

The life cycle of the hair is in fact divided into three phases: anagen (growth), catagen (involution), telogen (rest): normally about 80 percent of the hair of the scalp, at any given time, is in phase anagen. The follicles in this period are very active and, consequently, are extremely sensitive to metabolic changes.

Hair has a relatively long growth phase which can last from 2 to 5 years. There is a direct relationship between hair length and the length of the anagen phase. Therefore, the longer the anagen phase lasts, the more the hair grows. Of course, the speed of growth is also an important factor; the typical growth rate of the hair is about 0.2 – 0.3 mm per day.

The phase of involution, or catagen, characterizes the beginning of the regression of the hair cycle which progressively leads to the arrest of the functions of the follicle. Normally very few hair follicles are simultaneously in this phase.

Finally, there is telogen: it is the resting phase of the hair cycle and less than 20 percent of the hair is in this phase. Telogen lasts about three months. The passage in this phase determines the block of hair growth. The dermatologist, evaluating the state of the hair, can also understand if it really is androgenetic alopecia and not other forms of baldness such as telogen effluvium which leads to widespread hair loss due to the simultaneous passage of many follicles from the anagen phase to the telogen. After about three months from this episode, profuse hair loss occurs, especially in the area of ​​the temples and the vertex of the head. In this case, fortunately, the problem is not chronic. Below, in fact, the bulb is producing a new hair in place of the fallen one.

Trichogram but not only

Understanding the phase in which the hair is located is fundamental. For this, the triogram (in its various ways of carrying out it) is helpful for the execution of which a microscope is sufficient. The analysis procedure consists of the tearing, from at least two areas of the scalp (frontal and occipital), of about fifty hairs which are then subjected to microscopic observation and distinguished on the basis of the appearance of the roots in: anagen, catagen, telogen.

Then there are other more specific tests. Think for example of the "Pull test." It consists in grasping a lock of about 50-100 hairs between the thumb and forefinger by exerting constant traction from the emergence of the hair shaft in the distal direction, at the level of the frontal, parietal and occipital areas. At the end of this operation, the extracted hairs are counted. If the number is between 0 and 6, the normal test is considered, but if it is greater than 6, an anomaly in hair loss must be suspected. The performance of this test must take into account when the last washing was carried out. In fact, if the hair has been washed a few hours before the test, there will be a reduction in the number of extracted hair.

Category: Health
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