To understand how hair grows, you need to turn your attention to hair follicles. Hair follicles are found on various parts of the body, and they play a crucial role in growing and maintaining hair. The scalp, for example, has between 90,000 and 150,000 hairs. Knowledge of hair follicles can be helpful in understanding your hair issue and help you make informed decisions going forward.
Here, we will explain the basics of hair follicles, including their function, what causes damage to them, how to restore them, and why you should consider seeing the ultimate expert on hair – a hair transplant surgeon.
What Are Hair Follicles?
Hair follicles are tube-like structures made up of cells within layers of skin. They surround the root of hair strands in the epidermis and dermis, which are the two levels of the skin. At the base of each follicle is a bulb, and it is where hair growing begins.
The primary function of a hair follicle is to grow hair. The papilla, located at the base, supplies nutrients to the growing hair, which it gets from the blood vessels in the dermis. Surrounding the papilla is the matrix, responsible for the production of new cells that form the hair shaft. The hair shaft is what exits the scalp and is made up of the medulla, cortex, and the cuticle.
Hair grows in three cycles: the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. The first phase is the longest – between two to seven years – and refers to when a hair actively grows. The catagen phase or resting phase lasts about two weeks and is when a hair is getting ready to fall out. The telogen phase refers to when the hair falls out of the follicle.
It is normal to lose up to 100 hairs from the scalp daily. However, since new hairs are continuously growing and replacing those that are shed, this process of natural hair loss remains inconspicuous.
A problem arises if there is damage to the hair roots, or if a lot of hairs go into the resting phase, and no new hair replaces the hairs that have shed, which can result in hair thinning or balding.
What Affects the Health of Hair Follicles?
You are born with over one million hair follicles on your head, but they are one of the structures of the body that can stop functioning. Several factors negatively affect the health of hair follicles. Factors such as stress, unhealthy lifestyle habits, malnutrition, hormonal imbalances, and harmful hair care routines can cause damage to the hair follicles.
Signs of hair follicle conditions include dry and brittle hair, hair loss, and a receding hairline. A pull and plug test, among other things, is one way to check the health of hair follicles.
What Can Restore the Health of Hair Follicles?
There are different ways to improve the health of hair follicles. Some things you can incorporate into your routine include:
- Avoiding pulling out hair
- Switching from harsh hairstyles that pull at the hair
- Maintaining a well-balanced diet or taking supplements, as needed
- Managing stress levels
- Not using hair products with harmful chemicals like ammonia
- Minimizing the use of heat-emitting devices to style hair
- Protecting hair from the sun
If you are still experiencing hair loss despite your best habits, it could be due to a medical condition, such as a hormonal imbalance.
An experienced hair transplant surgeon can examine your scalp and hair closely to assess the extent of hair loss, pattern of thinning, and the quality of existing hair follicles, and recommend a treatment plan to improve your condition.
How Can a Hair Transplant Surgeon Help?
A hair transplant surgeon can use a combination of non-surgical and surgical methods for hair restoration appropriate for the patient to treat their hair issue.
Hair transplant surgery is a popular and highly advanced method of transferring hair to areas of the scalp that are seeing hair thinning or balding. A hair transplant is also referred to as a hair replacement. During the procedure, the hair specialist removes healthy hair follicles from unaffected areas on the patient’s scalp and transfers them to thinning areas.
The hair transplant surgeon will work with the patient and evaluate their goals to ensure optimal results. There are several types of hair transplant procedures, including FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) and FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation). The doctor will recommend the appropriate technique for a patient based on their unique needs. To support the healing and growth of new hairs and reduce scarring, the hair replacement surgeon may use Acell and PRP therapy to create a potent blend of healing and growth factors for a more successful outcome.
Top Hair Transplant Surgeon in Tacoma, Seattle, and Spokane, WA
Find out what Dr. Robert Niedbalski, a top hair transplant surgeon at Northwest Hair Restoration, will recommend for you. Dr. Niedbalski has over 25 years of experience treating hair thinning and hair loss, and is considered the most experienced hair transplant surgeon in the Pacific Northwest. He leads the team of hair restoration experts in the delivery of patient-centric service.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Niedbalski, call our hair restoration clinic today at (253) 572-2949 or use our convenient online request form.