Have you ever noticed a hairless spot on your scalp? Have you ever wondered if it’s baldness or just a normal hair whorl?
What is a hair whorl anyway and why is it hairless? More importantly, is it a sign of impending hair loss?
Hair loss around the whorl area can be stopped before it becomes serious the earlier it is addressed.
First of all however, since many people tend to confuse a normal hair whorl with hair loss, let’s take a look at the difference between the two so you can check your scalp and determine what the best way to address the problem is.
1. Hair whorl? Or hair loss? How to tell the difference
What’s a hair whorl anyway? A hair whorl is the center area of the direction of your hair growth. The hair on this area is thin compared to the rest of the head and may stand out and appear bald depending on lighting conditions and hair style. This is also the reason why people tend to imagine that this area is a bald spot in the making.
You can determine whether your head is showing signs of hair loss or just a hair whorl if your hair flows in a swirl.
If the spot you see is at the center of your hair flow as shown on the picture above, then congratulations! It’s nothing more than a hair whorl. Baldness does not manifest itself in a whirlpool-like pattern.
If you cannot determine by yourself, it would be better to check the spot regularly and document its progress.
Compare the spot with previous photographs (if available) and verify whether the spot appears to be growing bigger with time. Also check with people you trust, such as friends and family.
If you’re too embarrassed and would rather check by yourself, use a mirror or your mobile phone’s camera. You can check the progression of the spot given time and photographic evidence.
Note that direct light on the hair whorl tends to get reflected, making the spot stand out even more. Avoid using flash or electric lighting when taking photographs of the area.
2. Why hair loss starts from the whorl area
The hair whorl is where the hair is most easily parted, making it prone to pulling and UV damage. This in turn makes the spot vulnerable to hair loss.
Women in particular, usually use the hair whorl to part their hair for styling. This eventually stresses the area, causing gradual hair fall.
For men, the main cause of balding in this area is hormones. If you notice your hair whorl slowly but surely expanding, you may be experiencing hair loss.
3. Possibility of hair loss treatment
While the hair whorl is indeed more vulnerable to hair loss and balding, the possibility for treatment is actually better compared to other types of hair loss. This is because in a lot of cases, hair loss in this area is caused by lifestyle issues and improper hair care.
The earlier hair loss is addressed, the better the chance of treatment and reversal.
If you ever notice that your hair whorl appears to be increasing in size, do not hesitate to implement whatever steps you can to mitigate the hair loss.
If you’re suffering what you suspect is the early stages of hair loss, see “4. Self-care tips for controlling hair loss.” For quick and immediate treatment options, see sections “5. Seek medical treatment” and “6. Consider hair transplant therapy.”
4. Self-care tips for controlling hair loss
Hair loss can be controlled and mitigated by taking conscious note of several important points. The important factors to take note are: lifestyle change, lessening stress on the scalp, and promoting hair regrowth.
It is important to implement the following measures while your hair loss is not at a severe enough level that would require treatment.
4-1. Change your lifestyle
There are several known causes of hair loss. Since lifestyle factors are deeply linked with the probability of hair loss, avoid habits that could potentially lead to hair loss.
Making a conscious effort to put these three points into practice in your life will go a long way to help control hair loss.
* Control stress
Stress interferes with the growth of healthy hair. Stress causes blood vessels to constrict, making it more difficult for nutrients to reach the hair follicles and roots.
This is because blood carries essential nutrients to your scalp and hair.
Although stress is indeed an unavoidable part of life, make a conscious effort to relax by taking a warm bath at the end of the day, or exercising.
* Get enough sleep
Avoid sleep deprivation as sleep is essential to the growth of healthy hair.
Sleep deprivation causes a host of other factors that prevent the growth of healthy hair and cause hair loss, such as poor blood circulation, excessive sebum secretion, and hormonal imbalances.
Not only that, but the body secretes growth hormones that are actively involved in hair growth in large quantities during sleep.
The secretion of these growth hormones however, does not start until around 2 hours into sleep.
People who are unable to secure the time needed for sleep should still make every attempt to get good sleep that relaxes the mind and body.
* Eat a balanced diet
It goes without saying that nutrition from meals is essential in keeping hair nourished and healthy.
Healthy hair cannot grow without sufficient and nutrition. Make every effort to eat proper, well-balanced meals.
In particular, be conscious about eating food rich in protein and minerals that are conducive to hair growth, such as seaweeds.
4-2. Avoid stressing the scalp
Although the tips provided below may be basic and fundamental, they are nonetheless important in preventing hair loss. Keep these three points in mind:
* Proper hair washing and hair care
The scalp must neither be too dry or oily.
Proper hair washing and care is essential in creating the ideal scalp needed for hair growth.
If you experience itching, dandruff, oiliness or inflammation, your shampoo may not be suited to your scalp.
Take this opportunity to shop around for a new shampoo that better suits your scalp care and hair growth needs.
Avoid washing your hair more than twice a day, applying strong, direct force on the scalp when washing, and leaving shampoo residue on your scalp.
* Protect against UV rays
Avoid prolonged, direct UV exposure of the scalp. Wear a hat or seek shelter during times of the day when UV rays are the strong.
UV rays gradually damage hair matrix cells (the cells responsible for hair growth), weakening the cells and negatively affecting hair growth.
Remember that the hair whorl is not covered in hair and is the part of the body most exposed to the sun, making it especially vulnerable to UV rays.
* Be careful with your hairstyle
Make a conscious effort to use hairstyles that do not stress the hair whorl and scalp.
Always parting your hair at the same location for example, causes your hair to be pulled by its own weight the longer your hair is, stressing the scalp.
While this advice may be more difficult to put into practice if you have short hair, make an effort to change where you part your hair every so often.
This reduces stress on the scalp and avoids concentrated UV exposure on one area of the scalp.
4-3. Use hair tonic
A more proactive approach to hair loss prevention is the use of hair tonic.
Hair tonic works by regulating the scalp and providing external stimulation for blood flow. The condition of the scalp and nutrition are both important for spurring the growth of healthy hair.
Hair tonic is effective for hair loss due to impaired blood flow to the scalp, or if the scalp is not in the best condition to stimulate hair growth.
Remember though, to use the type of tonic appropriate for your gender, as hair tonic for men is too strong for most women.
5. Seek medical treatment
A visit to a specialist clinic is a good idea especially when the hair loss is too rapid, lifestyle changes don’t help, or when you suspect other causes may be responsible for the hair loss.
Make an appointment with a specialist clinic if you need relatively quicker results.
A specialist hair clinic will provide you with not only individualized treatment, but also a wealth of knowledge and experience that can potentially give you a better diagnosis than a general-practice dermatologist.
Most clinics offer free consultation services and won’t pressure you into a treatment plan.
Specialist clinics will not only discuss treatment options with you, but can also give day-to-day hair loss prevention advice. You can make an appointment with a specialist clinic today, discuss your options, and decide whether to proceed with treatment at a later time.
6. Consider hair transplant therapy
It’s time to consider hair transplant therapy if the hair loss is at a severe enough stage, or if there are no observable improvements even after undergoing self-care or specialist clinic treatment.
Hair transplant therapy involves removing hair from other parts of the body and transplanting them to the problem area. This option is recommended because it uses your own hair for the transplant procedure, resulting in less problems overall.
The hair whorl for example, has a relatively smaller area compared to the rest of the head, requiring less hair to cover. This area can be covered by around 1000 to 2000 strands of hair.
We just covered the how to spot the difference between a hair whorl and hair loss, and how to deal with hair loss.
If your lifestyle makes you prone to hair loss, it’s a good a idea to make a few changes now before the problem becomes more serious.
You can never be too early when it comes to hair loss treatment. You can also consider making an early visit to a specialist hair clinic for more timely and appropriate treatment options.
This article was last updated on May 11th, 2016
No two individuals are alike. Please note that your results and experiences may vary from what is described in this article.