Springtime isn't always all it's cracked up to be. While some people have their minds on the birds and the bees, others are anxiously eyeing the fallen hairs strewn across their pillow. Spring, like fall, is a season associated with hair loss. To find out whether you've got a problem and how you can solve it, read on.
Know your hair
To understand why your hair’s falling out, you need to know how it operates. Your scalp contains some 100,000 hair follicles – the tiny factories responsible for producing your precious locks. Within each follicle, at the base of a flexible collagen sheath, lies the bulb: a tiny protuberance containing all the substances responsible for hair growth.
The follicles work on a three-phase cycle, consisting of a growth phase, a short regressing (or transition) phase and a resting phase when the follicle sheds its hair and becomes dormant. After anything from 2 to 12 months, it wakes up and the cycle starts all over again.
For normal hair, between 90% and 95% of follicles are growing at any one time, while 5% to 10% are resting. That translates into natural hair loss of between 50 and 100 hairs each day. But in spring and fall, the figure may well be higher. Scientists suspect exposure to sunshine which could affect your body’s hormones, switching more follicles over into the resting phase. But there are only hypothesis.
At that point, you have a problem - left untreated, an abnormally high rate of hair loss is going to leave your hair looking thin and your scalp visible.
Assessing the situation
So what’s to be done? “The first thing is to determine if your hair is actually falling out or not,” says Pascale Mora, Vichy’s head of scientific communication. A few dozen hairs in your comb or hairbrush are no big deal, but handfuls of hair on your pillow should set alarm bells ringing. Women, especially, should be careful not to confuse fallen hairs with broken ones – long dry hair gets fragile and can break easily.
Get it right
“During a period of hair loss, the top priority is prevention,” says Pascale. “You need to stop the hair falling out.” For that, you want a product that’s specially formulated to combat the stiffening of the follicle’s collagen sheath that provokes hair loss, while strengthening the hair fiber and stimulating the microcirculation that keeps hair healthy.
Outside the periods of hair loss, patches of thin hair call for a different approach: “At that point, the idea is to reduce the follicle’s resting phase to a minimum and stimulate the hair bulb into activity again,” Pascale explains.
Easy does it
Whichever solution you adopt, don’t be in too much of a hurry. Hair likes to do things slowly and it’ll until 3 months before any treatment has a visible effect. Patience, in this case, is definitely a virtue.