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Hair loss occurs naturally. The hair cells, just like other body cells, tend to wear out and are often usually replaced after they die off. The average human shed between fifty- a hundred single hairs per day. Hair growth occurs in three stages:
The anagen: This accounts for a majority of the hair present on the head with viable growth
The catagen: In this stage, the hair follicle begins to show signs of shrinking. Its cycle(catagen) is completed between two to three weeks.
The telogen: In this last stage of hair growth, the hair turns to dead cells, falls, and dies off. The telogen is also called the resting stage.
Hair loss happens to everyone, both males and females. Some Statistics estimate that about 50% of men experience hair loss before 50 and 70% as they get much older. Women are not left out of this predicament as roughly 40% also suffer the same fate before they hit the 50-year mark. Children make up the whole with less than 5% of different forms of hair loss. No wonder there’s a huge demand for solutions.
Your hair defines how beautiful you are, whether short or long, straight or curly, and you’ll give all it takes to retain its beauty. But you wake up one morning, and as you dress up for work, you discover clumps of hair begin to fall out. And there you are, mouth open, what is happening to me!! How can I stop this? Hair loss can therefore take a toll on our psychological and emotional well-being.
A visit to the doctor to register your disparaging condition known as alopecia. Alopecia? What does that even mean? How does it occur? You’ll find answers to these questions as you keep reading.
Alopecia means hair loss. It can affect not just the scalp but also the entire body. If not detected and corrected on time, it could lead to temporary or permanent damage. There are various types of hair loss:
- Androgenetic alopecia is also known as male baldness: this is the most common type of hair loss, as it causes hair loss from the defined areas on the scalp.
- Telogen Effluvium (excessive shedding): this happens when clumps of hair fall out from the scalp by just pulling or combing through. This could be due to stress or a medical condition. Again, this commonly happens to females.
- Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that starts with some hair follicles being destroyed and replaced with scar tissues forming patches on the scalp and can proceed to total hair loss.
How does Hair loss occur?
It occurs when the chemical signals that tell the scalp to grow new hair stop. So, if by chance hair grows, it is thinner and not attractive. Hair loss could be a result of
- Heredity: This is the most common cause of hair loss. A person’s genetic makeup could be a determining factor in hair loss, as in male baldness.
- Emotional or psychological stress: most people experience hair loss due to a recent physical or emotional shock.
- Medical conditions: Iron deficiency, scalp infections such as ringworm, hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania) are some of the contributing factors to hair loss.
- Aging: male baldness become more prominent as they age
There have been so many solutions developed to cure or reverse hair loss, but they have not given a permanent result. One of such is the use of Hair plugs, which look unnatural to balding men. Chemical treatments were also in use to treat hair loss. But these come with some side effects. Stem cell treatment is the most recent method to treat hair loss.
What are stem cells?
A stem cell is a cell that is capable of replicating itself. It can produce new cells that the body cannot produce by itself. For example, when damaged hair stops growing, the body cannot replace them. Recently, it has been discovered introducing stem cells to the scalp of the damaged hair could help to re-trigger the growth and restore the beautiful, lustrous hair.
How does the Stem cell treatment work
Traditionally, a large amount of hair is removed to be transplanted to the area of hair loss, which has not been effective. The stem cell hair transplant involves removing a small part of extracts of hair follicles. Then, the hair follicles are replicated in the laboratory and implanted to the scalp in the areas of hair loss, and this allows hair to grow from where the hairs were and where it was transplanted.
The stem cell treatment procedure
The stem cells develop into various cells in the human body to repair damaged or worn-out tissues.
In 2017, some Italian researchers carried out a successful stem cell hair transplant. The treatment is carried out through a process known as punch biopsy, which involves administering an anesthetic. A circular blade is then used to puncture the epidermis and dermis layers to gain access to the subcutaneous fascia of the skin, which houses the hair follicles. Next, the needed samples are taken and transferred to a centrifuge, where the needed parts are separated from the non-essentials of the follicular cells, a cell suspension is then produced. The stem cells then divide and begin to multiply. Finally, the affected scalp is cleaned and disinfected, and the extracted stem cells are injected into the scalp to stimulate new hair growth.
Stem cell treatment recovery process
The patients might experience some pains after the process but should subside after weeks. Extreme exercise should be avoided during this period. Slight scarring could occur from the area of extraction. In addition, dizziness might occur due to the anesthesia.
Stem cell hair transplant side effects
The stem cell hair transplant is a recent hair treatment with little or no information. The side effects are almost similar to any medical procedure. They include;
- Infection at the point of injection
- Nerve or arteries damage
- Postprocedural pains
Not all cell treatments are approved by the FDA (Food Drug and Administration), so all stem hair cell transplants are considered clinical trials. While there are advantages and disadvantages to hair loss treatment, it is best to speak with a hair care specialist.