Before we elaborate on the types and causes of hair loss, it is beneficial to review basic information about how hair grows. The hair follicle, which appears as a tiny opening in the skin, is the base from which each hair grows. Each hair’s root resides within the follicle where it receives nourishment from the body’s blood supply. The hair follicle which produces the hair is an incredibly tiny, yet complicated micro-organ in the skin. It is connected to our blood circulation and nerves as well as oil (sebaceous) glands. Each follicle is also connected to a small muscle (that causes your hair to stand up on the back of your neck or your arm!) Hair follicles communicate within themselves and with other nearby follicles with small protein molecules and are also responsive to changes in your body’s hormones, stress level, medications you may take, food you may eat and many other influences.
•Anagen. The growth phase of hair. An unknown signal tells follicle stem cells to do their thing. Next, the permanent part of the follicle — the dermal papilla — gives the “go” signal to hair matrix cells. Those cells grow wildly and become pigmented, creating a new hair shaft. At any given time, 90% of hair cells are in this stage.
•Exogen. The new hair shaft pushes the old, dead hair shaft out of the skin. The old hair falls out.
•Anagen finished. The new hair extends beyond the surface of the skin and keeps growing. The hair shaft fully matures.
•Catagen. The lower two-thirds of the follicle shrivels up and is destroyed. The dermal papilla remains attached to the regressing follicle.
•Telogen. The withered follicle rests. It waits for a signal telling it to start all over again.
Losing hair is part of a normal cycle of growth and replacement. Hair follicles go through the growth and resting cycle in a nonsynchronized fashion. But sometimes things go wrong.
When an average, healthy individual reaches physical maturity, at or around the end of adolescence, he or she will have between 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on the head. Under normal conditions, the average person will “lose” or shed approximately 100 Telogen hairs per day and grow 100 Anagen hairs per day. Baldness or hair thinning occurs as the normal growth stage slows. As most individuals get older, the percentage of hairs in the resting stage (Telogen phase) increases, while less hair remains in the active growth Anagen phase. Hair follicles may also produce a thinner, less pigmented hair over time.
For many years, researchers told us that hair loss resulted from the genetics inherited from the mother’s side of the family. Now, advances in medical science offer proof that “baldness” genes do not discriminate by the sex of the parent. In fact, the related genes can be passed down from both sides of the family tree. We also know that this inherited trait can appear to skip generations and even affect siblings differently. There are over 200 genes that regulate hair characteristics, including the onset and speed of hair thinning and baldness.
The first step in the hair restoration process is scheduling a consultation with Dr. Sefrioui. He will use this appointment to assess the patient’s medical background, current health, and any conditions that can pose risk to an efficient recovery. This consultation will be used to determine the patient’s candidacy for the SmartGraft procedure; therefore, it is a crucial part of the hair restoration process. If after the evaluation the patient is considered to be a candidate, they will be able to schedule their SmartGraft procedure during this time if they please.
Dr. Sefrioui works one on one with each patient to construct a custom treatment plan based on their exact needs. The doctor understands that each patient’s case is different and the extent of treatment required may vary. He brings his years of experience and expertise in hair restoration to every consultation, ensuring that his patients receive the best results possible.