Before we begin to discuss how we can help you to replace hair that is lost, lets deep dive into finding a little more about hair anatomy and physiology. As mentioned briefly in our first article hair is made of a hard protein called keratin. Even though the part of your hair that you see is dead, your hair is actually a surprisingly sophisticated piece of body equipment.
Think about it for a minute. You’re usually born with some hair. That first hair falls out, and new hair grows in, often a different color than the first hair. As you age, your hair may change color: first getting darker in your youth, then getting lighter in your adulthood. Throughout your life it grows, rests, and falls out at regular intervals mostly determined by genetics. The texture of your hair and the spacing of your follicles is also predetermined by genetics. And as most women can attest to, it’s frustratingly difficult to get rid of if it’s growing in a place you don’t like.
There are two main parts to your hair. There is the hair shaft, the nonliving part you see and the follicle, the living part that resides under the skin. Many of you will have heard of the phases of hair growth: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), telogen (resting), and exogen (shedding.) At any one time, roughly 85 to 90 percent of your hair is in the anagen phase. Read more
Humans have two kinds of hair: terminal hair and vellus hair. Terminal hair is the thicker hair that grows on your scalp and vellus hair is the very fine short hair found on most other parts of the body. Although there is technically a third type called lanugo, these colorless fine hairs are only found on fetuses and normally shed before birth.
The terminal hair growing on your head is made of a hard protein called keratin. The hair you see is dead. Only the bulb of the hair, buried beneath the skin, is alive. Terminal hairs grow at a rate of roughly six inches per year, on average. The final length of each hair is largely determined by genetics; therefore some individuals can easily grow their hair out while others struggle to achieve length. The fur on your dog is also classified as terminal, but dog’s hair is genetically programmed to stop growth sooner and remain short.
The Purpose of Hair
The two primary purposes of human hair are insulation and cooling. Each hair is designed to keep you warm in the winter while also acting as a vehicle for perspiration to keep you cool. Perspiration comes from two different types of glands: eccrine and apocrine. The apocrine glands secrete fluid into the base of the hair shaft. Then, the hair acts as a wick to remove excess moisture to make room for more moisture. In addition to temperature regulation, hairs – especially those found within eyelashes and eyebrows– are intended to protect delicate membranes against dirt and debris. Read more
Maybe you’ve heard of Low Light Laser Therapy. LLLT is an emerging science, and research is currently underway to explore its usefulness for a variety of medical issues including joint pain, skin problems, and veterinary medicine. The full extent of the benefits of LLLT is not yet known, but there is clear evidence that LLLT can stimulate, inhibit, or modulate a number of cellular processes. Fortunately, there is already hard science supporting its use to treat hair loss.
How Does LLLT Work?
Exactly how LLLT reverses hair loss is not well understood. The good news is that the treatment works, is safe, painless, and is approved by the FDA.
There are several theories about LLLT works. One theory is that the laser stimulates hair follicles that are in a resting (telogen) or shedding (catagen) phase to convert to a growing (anagen) phase. Another theory is that the laser stimulates increased vascularization of the scalp, which helps to prevent a build-up of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Too much DHT in the scalp plays a role in genetic-based hair loss. Another possibility is that increased vascularization leads to better transport of nutrients to the hair follicle.
Fortunately, while research teases apart these unanswered questions, patients can benefit from a treatment that works. Read more
What is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is the generic name of an anti-hypertensive vasodilator--minoxidil dilates blood vessels. The oral medication was originally approved by the FDA for the treatment of high blood pressure in 1979. Purely by accident, physicians noticed that patients taking the drug for high blood pressure were growing lots of new hair. The rest is history.
In 1988, the FDA finally approved the drug under the trade name, Rogaine, for topical use for hair loss, although doctors had been prescribing it off-label for that use for years previous to the approval. Now minoxidil is sold under many names worldwide. Read more
Time passes far too quickly. One minute, you're scoring the winning touchdown at the championship football game. The next, you barely recognize the person in the mirror. Even if you’re fortunate enough to age gracefully with few wrinkles, most men and women experience some form of hair loss in their lifetime. Fortunately, people with hair loss have more than one option when it comes to treatment. Pinpointing the right treatment through diagnosis, trial and error is a more nuanced journey. You’ve probably heard of topical foams and prescription pills, but these forms of hair loss treatment have their limitations and restrictions. Technology has allowed for several more options to choose from – most notably, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) with Capillus®.