It is easy to forget that by itself, a strand of hair is just a lifeless string of proteins. The follicle – located right at the scalp and inside the skin itself – is where all the action happens. All hair strands have a lifecycle consisting of three different stages.
The growing stage: This is called the anagen phase. Each individual head hair has its own lifespan of 2-7 years, and almost all of it is spent in the anagen phase, growing rapidly. At any given time, about 90% of the strands on your head are in this stage.
Growth stops: Eventually each hair will stop growing and enter the catagen phase. It cuts off its own circulation and dries up.
Hair shedding: This is known as the telogen phase and it is when the dried up follicles naturally fall out, and a new one starts growing in its place.
Every single hair goes through these stages, but the length of each phase varies a lot. Eyebrows, for example, only have an anagen phase of about 4 months and grow much more slowly, which is why they never get too long.
Clinical thinning or baldness occurs when something is interfering with these stages or with the hair strands.
We have the most advanced hair loss specialist equipment at all of our clinics in Sydney, Newcastle and Parramatta, in addition to professionals with decades of experience and everything we need to accurately diagnose and fix issues. We do a number of tests to get a clear idea of all the factors in play, and then put it all together in order to identify the problem.
Some of the tests we do include:
Pull tests: This is exactly as low-tech as it sounds, and you can even do it at home. It involves gently tugging on a group of a few dozen strands and counting how many come out. Generally, a few should be in the final telogen phase and will come out easily. If a disproportionate amount comes loose, then it is a decent indicator of clinical hair loss.