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Simple Technique for Tracking Conditions Associated with Hair Loss
Simple Technique for Tracking Conditions Associated with Hair Loss

(June 16, 2008 - Insidermedicine) A simple, standardized hair counting test can reliably determine whether changes in hair loss are occurring over time, according to research published in the Archives of Dermatology.

Here is some information about the life cycle of hair:

•    A single hair will grow for an average of two to six years. At any given time, about 90% of your hair is in its growth phase.

•    The remaining 10% of your hair is in its resting phase, meaning it has stopped growing. This phase lasts about two to three months.

•    When the resting phase is over, the hair falls out or is shed. It is considered normal to lose an estimated 50 to 100 hairs a day.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston recruited 30 men aged 20 to 40 and 30 men aged 41 to 60 to participate in a study investigating a simple hair loss test. None of the men had any signs of baldness. They all washed their hair with the same shampoo and used the same comb for three mornings straight. On the fourth morning, they combed their hair forward over a pillowcase or towel of contrasting color for 60 seconds before shampooing. They then counted the hairs that were shed.

Both groups of men counted an average of about 10 hairs that had fallen onto the pillowcase or towel. When they repeated the test six months later and when a trained professional verified the hair counts, the average number of hairs lost remained about the same.

Today's research offers a simple technique that can be useful for tracking the progress of conditions associated with hair loss, such as natural balding or the side effects of some medications.

For Insidermedicine in Depth, I'm Dr. Susan Sharma.