Hair health overview
Many factors affect hair health and hair growth. Most people describe the cycle of hair growth into 3 stages and these stages affect 2 parts of the actual hair, which are the follicle and the hair shaft. The hair follicle is located beneath the scalp and is usually not visible. It contains the active cells and the blood supply that “feed” the hair. The hair shaft is the visible hair that grows out from the follicle which is made up of a hard protein called keratin and a protective layer called the cuticle.
The first stage of the hair cycle, Anagen is also considered the growth and regeneration phase. During this phase, the cells are actively dividing, and depending on nutrition, genetics, stress, and overall health, the hair can grow between 18-30 inches over a 2-7 year period. The hair shaft is actively attached to the blood supply in Anagen. The 2nd phase is called Catagen and during this phase, which lasts about 2 weeks, the shaft detaches from its blood supply and doesn’t actively grow anymore. The last phase, called Telogen, starts as a resting phase where a new hair starts to grow below the detached hair. This phase can last up to 3 months before the “older” hair falls out. It is quite normal for someone to lose up to 50-100 hairs per day as most people have over 100,000 hairs growing on their heads at any given time.
image credit: iRestore
Many factors affect the different stages of hair growth. For example, as the hair is actively growing, it requires a good blood supply as well as the right micronutrients in order to replenish and contribute to hair growth. Some of these nutrients include B-vitamins such as biotin, niacin and folate, as well as Vitamin K, and a myriad of other vitamins and minerals (some of which are found in CBD). The blood supply can be affected by things such as stress which creates less oxygen from shallow breathing, scalp massage which is beneficial to stimulating blood flow, or diseases that affect cardiovascular health. We kept all of this in consideration with our Safo products.
Hormones and Gut Health
Hormones are also important messengers for hair growth and shedding. For example, estrogen stimulates the hair to remain in the Anagen or growth phase longer, while DHT (dihydrotestosterone) causes the hair follicle to either shorten the Anagen phase or increase the resting phase, which then leads to more hair loss. Dramatic changes and fluctuations in the hormones such as occur during pregnancy or stress can increase a period of shedding.
As mentioned before, the gut is often referred to as the second 'brain'. It aids in making and regulating hormones as well. When there is an imbalance in the gut bacteria it can result in a hormone imbalance, which is a sign of an unhealthy gut.
Signs of an unhealthy gut:
- Hormone imbalance
- Skin irritation
- Fatigue and sleep disturbances
- Food sensitivity
- Unintentional weight change
- bloating, gas
- diarrhea or constipation
- Autoimmune conditions