Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
Scalp Eczema or seborrheic dermatitis can lead to minor hair fall but it is not in any manner or form connected to the normal hair fall cycle. They are not connected.
There is a very specific phenomenon of hair fall in the human body. This is known as the hair fall cycle. As simple as it sounds, the phenomenon is equally simple.
The hair fall cycle has four phases:
The Anagen phase of the hair fall cycle is the period wherein new hair follicles emerge from the roots and grow. This phase is, therefore, also known as the growing phase. It is the longest phase in the hair fall cycle. This phase can last up to 3 to 4 years. The hair follicles that have emerged out of the roots keep growing and reach their full potential in this stage. The hair keeps growing and reaches its full length. They have a specific lifespan and they will continue to grow throughout their lifespan during this phase. This phase also has the largest number of hair follicles in them. According to studies and research, almost 90% of the hair follicles in our scalp are always in the Anagen or the growth phase.
Also known as the stagnant phase or the transition phase, this phase is one of the shortest phases in the hair cycle. This phase can last for an average of 10 days for any individual. In this phase, the hair on the scalp stops growing or the growth of the hair starts to lessen. The hair growth becomes stagnant. Sometimes, the hair follicles also detach themselves from the bottom of the hair shaft but still stay in place and stay stagnant. This happens until the hair follicles enter the phase known as the telogen phase. It is estimated according to studies and research that only 5% of our hair is in the catagen phase.
This is the time when the hair stays on the scalp without growing at all. The hair follicles will neither grow nor will they fall off in this phase and will stay on the scalp until they enter the last phase of the hair cycle. It has been observed that 10% to 15% of our hair stays in this phase at all times. This phase could last for a period of an average of 90 days.
With this, we come to the last phase of the hair cycle which is known as the Exogen phase or the shedding phase. In this phase which is also generally known as an extension of the Telogen phase by most experts and hence usually called the Telogen phase, the hair follicles start to fall off or shed from the scalp. The hair follicles could fall off while combing, brushing, styling, washing, etc. of the hair. In this phase, you will lose 50-100 hairs daily. This phase lasts for 60 days to 150 days for the hair follicles experiencing it.
The hair fall cycle is a normal phenomenon and it is not a disease or a disorder in the body. This is a manner for our body to grow and replenish new hair by getting rid of the old ones after their life span has been completed.
Generally, when we go to the experts to have our hair health observed and scrutinized, we are told that 50 to 100 hair fall daily is normal. This is because our hair follicles experience the hair fall cycle. There is nothing to worry about.
Now when we talk about scalp Eczema, it is Seborrheic Dermatitis. This is a condition in which there are patches on the head where the skin starts to become dry and flaky. It is usually accompanied by various other symptoms such as itching, redness of the skin, irritation of the skin, scaly skin, oozing from the skin, discharge of fluid from the ear canal, oily/greasy/waxy scalp, burning sensation on the affected area, etc. It can make the scalp look dirty, dry, and unwelcome. One of the main reasons for such a visual of the scalp when affected by scalp Eczema is the production of dandruff. It could be excessive and stubborn. Hair fall is also a common consequence of this condition.
The fact that the hair follicles go through difficulty in growing through the scaly, flaky skin in this condition causes hair loss. Also, because this condition causes unbearable itching and irritation or burning on the scalp, excessive touching or scratching of the scalp can lead the hair follicles to get damaged and fall off or become extremely weak and vulnerable. You can face this problem at any age. However, we can find solace in the fact that this condition can be treated and the hair fall reversed and prevented.
Scalp Eczema is usually seen more in men than women. But this does not mean that it does not affect women. This condition is not contagious. The reason why Scalp Eczema develops is when the sebaceous gland produces excessive sebum on the scalp. When this happens a form of yeast known as Malassezia starts to overdevelop on the scalp causing the scalp skin to be flaky, greasy, full of dandruff, and irritable. The hair follicles will not be able to thrive in such a condition and hence there will be hair loss and hair thinning over time if not treated immediately.
Hence, we can safely conclude that there is no relation between the normal hair fall cycle that we go through and Scalo Eczema. However, Scalp Eczema could result in minor hair loss or hair thinning due to certain factors of the condition. The hair loss during Scalp Eczema can be reversed and treated.
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Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.