Terminal and vellus hairs and hair loss

General Hair Loss

There are two main types of hair on the head, commonly known as terminal hairs and vellus hairs. The type of hair growing on different parts of the scalp is a good indicator of impending hair loss

Vellus is the short very fine hair which is particularly noticeable on the body of a child. It is there to regulate the body temperature, keeping the heat in when cold and letting it out when hot. They are less than half a centimetre in length but very effective at doing their job.

Terminal hairs are the scalp hairs that are thicker and longer and darker and it is when these terminal hairs become thinner that hair loss and thinning starts. If it is due to male pattern hair loss and no more hair is grown then it becomes impossible for it to regrow. It is important for medically approved treatments to be successful to start it as soon as thinning hair is noticed. Once vellus type hair begins to grow on the scalp it is a sign that male pattern hair loss has landed.

In male pattern baldness the hormone DHT is the cause of hair loss. DHT is an androgen that is formed when 5-alpha reductase enzyme comes into contact with testosterone, the male hormone. DHT destroys the hair follicles until they can no longer hold hair. when hair loss is noticed the sooner treatment is started the less hair will be lost and there are two medically approved treatments that can work for men.

Have a good head of hair is very important to many people as it part of who they are and helps them to feel and look good. When hair starts to thin and bald patches occur it can be embarrassing and cause low self-esteem for that individual. Many see it as a sign of ageing even though it can happen in late teens.

Alongside commonly used drugs minoxidil and finasteride, there are a number of potential solutions depending on your situation. These include laser therapy, hair transplant surgery and of course, Scalp Micropigmentation. For more information about SMP please see our treatment section.


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