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Irregular Hair Growth
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LisaMarie2490 posted:
My hair does not grow at the same rate. The left side of my head seems to grow hair at a normal rate, however the right side barely grows at all. Theres a good 2 inches in difference. The left side of my hair sits right below my shoulder, but the right side barely even touches shoulder length. Its extremely frustrating. This started happening about a year ago. There has been no major changes to my diet or lifestyle at all. I use deep repair masks and conditioners. I get my hair trimmed regularly. I use heat protectants when I blow dry and flat iron my hair. Im running out of ideas. Meanwhile, my hair is everywhere. I always have little hairs on the back of my shirt, and when I brush my hair, there is so much breakage. My pillow has hair all over it. Im 22 years old, in good health, i have a decent diet, and am fairly active. My hair stylist seemed very concerned about this. She said its not normal for someone like me to have so much breakage. Please Help! Why isnt it growing consistently? And what should I do to fix it? Im already taking a multi vitamin and Biotin. Its just not working!
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Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear LisaMarie: Normal amounts of hair loss are up to 100 hairs per day. As you may know, hair moves through three phases—growth, rest, and loss. One of the common causes of hair loss occurs when many of the hairs are suddenly synchronized in the loss, or shedding phase. Yet in your case, as your stylist describes it, you have hair that breaks off at the far ends just on the right side.

I know that hair can have different growth patterns from the scalp (ie clockwise spiral rotation in the northern hemisphere), but I have not heard of a directional breakage pattern. Local trauma (sunglasses hinge, leaning into the gas fireplace, sleeping on only one side) have likely been eliminated as culprits in your case..

A literature search at the National Library of Medicine site yielded only a few citations on hair breakage. Here are two of the better ones:

J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Nov-Dec;62(6):579-85.
Hair breakage by combing and brushing--a comment on: T. A. Evans and K. Park, A statistical analysis of hair breakage. II. Repeated grooming experiments, J. Cosmet. Sci., 41, 439-456 (2010).
Kamath YK, Robbins C.
Source

Kamath Consulting Inc., Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852, USA.
Abstract

Literature dealing with the mechanisms of hair breakage in combing and brushing published so far has been reviewed as a background for the critical evaluation of the method and data analysis of the paper "Statistical Analysis of Hair Breakage. II" by Evans and Park (1). Accumulated knowledge about hair breakage in these grooming processes indicates that hair breakage in combing and brushing results from tangling, looping, knotting, and impact loading. Fatiguing, though responsible for some weakening of the fiber in the grooming process, it is unlikely to be a significant factor in hair breakage in combing and brushing.

J Cosmet Sci. 2007 Nov-Dec;58(6):629-36.
Hair breakage during combing. IV. Brushing and combing hair.
Robbins C, Kamath Y.
Source

Textile Research Institute, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA.
Abstract

During combing of hair, longer fiber breaks (>2.5 cm) occur principally by impact loading of looped crossover hairs, while short segment breaks (<2.5 cm) occur primarily by end wrapping. Brushing provides breakage similarly but with a higher ratio of long-to-short segment breaks, and the ratio of long-to-short segment breaks (L/S) is a good way to follow these two pathways of breakage under different conditions. For example, bleaching hair, a longer comb stroke, increasing fiber curvature, wet combing versus dry combing, and brushing versus combing all provide for an increase in long segment breaks and this ratio, with the largest effect produced by brushing.

If all of these have been considered, and you have taken the following dietary suggestions:

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/features/top-10-foods-for-healthy-hair

you may need to see a dermatologist who specializes in female hair problems to get the most accurate diagnosis.

Yours,
Jane


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