How to Find Out If Your Scalp Hair Follicles Are Absolutely Dead

Written by katherine harder
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How to Find Out If Your Scalp Hair Follicles Are Absolutely Dead
Baldness occurs when scalp follicles die. (Marcy Maloy/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Hormonal issues, genetics and environmental factors all may cause hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss, you may wonder whether the loss is permanent. In some cases, before all your hair is lost, you can try medical treatments to save your follicles and keep your hair growing, even if at reduced amounts. The loss of your hair follicles, though, usually signals permanent baldness. Figure out whether your scalp hair follicles are completely nonfunctioning and dead.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Analyse the cause of your hair loss. If a recent event, such as childbirth, caused you to lose some hair, the loss is probably not permanent. If you are male and your hair loss appears concentrated at the top of your head or at your hairline, it's probably androgenetic alopeci, or male-pattern baldness. This type of baldness is permanent. Female-pattern baldness, where the hair becomes thin over the entire scalp, also is permanent if not treated.

  2. 2

    Examine the hair you lose. If you don't see a small bulb at the end of the shafts you're losing, you're probably losing the hair because of damage to the shaft, not the follicle.

  3. 3

    Look for areas with some fine, soft hair growth where your thicker hair once grew. This fine hair is vellus hair and appears all over most of your body. The hair that once grew where the vellus hair now grows is terminal hair, which is much thicker and grows much longer. If you are still growing vellus hair, your follicles aren't dead.

  4. 4

    Look for areas on your scalp with absolutely no hair growth. The follicles in these areas are completely lost, and you won't see hair again in the area without hair restoration surgery.

Tips and warnings

  • If you aren't sure why you are losing your hair, you should visit a doctor immediately. Hair loss is a symptom of a range of conditions.

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