How does hair grow?
When talking about hair loss, a good place to start is with hair growth.
Hair grows by half an inch a month on average and will continue doing so for around 3-5 years if left alone.
Once it has reached its maximum length, it stays as it is for around 10 days before falling out. That hair follicle will then shut down for around 3 months before starting the cycle again.
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Why does it fall out?
Each follicle is different – hence people going bald in different ways – but on average you’ll shed about 80 hairs a day as part of this cycle. However, if something disrupts the cycle it can cause hair to fall out earlier or the follicle to stop working completely.
There is a difference between genetic hair loss and alopecia. Genetic hair loss, or male pattern baldness, is down to various family traits, genetic factors and just getting older.
Alopecia occurs in spots and may come and go. It is thought to be caused by a number of problems include complications with the immune system, genetics and stress.
Can vitamins help?
While there is little evidence to suggest that vitamins can prevent male pattern baldness, some studies suggest they could be helpful with intermittent baldness like alopecia.
Some studies suggest that biotin or vitamin H could be useful in treating alopecia. Biotin is used to build hair, skin and nails and the study says that if combined with zinc, it can treat alopecia.
As alopecia is an auto-immune condition, some experts believe that upping your vitamin D levels could help as this helps strengthen your immune system.
The study found that people with alopecia had a lack of this vitamin D – in fact, those with the lowest levels had the worst cases of alopecia.
However, there is little hard and fast evidence directly linking vitamin supplements or lack of vitamins with hair loss.
Sources of vitamin D:
- The sun – most of our vitamin D comes from the sun
- oily fish – like salmon, sardines and mackerel
- powdered milk
Stress can also be a factor in hair loss. Being healthy and making sure you reach the recommended daily intake of vitamins has been proven to reduce stress. Therefore, it could be suggested that all vitamins could help reduce hair loss.