Science & Skin

Hair loss - a sensitive topic

What causes hair loss, and who is affected most? Discover what are the news on the market and active ingredients that effectively fight hair loss.

The hair growth cycle

In people with healthy hair, about 85 – 90 % of the hair is in the anagen phase and the other 10 – 15 % is in the telogen one.  Hair loss, also called alopecia, is caused by an imbalance of the hair growth cycle. It is characterized by changes in the proportions of anagen and telogen hair:

• the number of anagen hairs is reduced and at the same time too many hairs remain in the telogen phase

• a decrease in the duration of anagen phase leading to shorter and thinner hair

a prolongation of the interval separating the loss of a hair in telogen phase and the emergence of a replacement anagen hair.

hair loss
Hair loss has several causes

Hair loss is typically related to one or more of the following factors: 

  • Genetics (heredity): The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition which usually occurs gradually with aging.
  • Hormonal changes and medical conditions: P.e. hormonal changes due to pregnancy, puberty, childbirth, menopause as well as thyroid problems. 
  • Medications and supplements. Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure.
  • Stress
  • Certain hairstyles and treatments. Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss. 



Women and men are affected from hair loss in different ways: Hair loss affects at least 50 % of men and about 25% of women by the age of 50. 40 % of women aged 70 and over are concerned.

Besides, women experience diffuse hair loss and tend to lose the hair on the top of their head. Hair loss in men may be much more extensive, affecting mostly the temporal areas and the top of the head.

For men, the most common hair concerns are hair loss and dandruff, where women are more concerned about grey hair, frizz and split ends. Gender reveals a variety of differences in hair concerns. Women over-index for nearly all hair concerns, as they are more involved in the category and likely have higher expectations for their hair, ultimately leading to higher levels of concern.

Brands & Products

The market for anti-hair loss or hair growing products is immense: the lauch of products with the claim "anti hair loss" increased i from 2015 to 2019 by 56% (source: Mintel).

Brands and products for anti hairloss include cosmetics such as shampoos, serums and tonics as well as food supplements. Popular ingredients in food supplements for healthy hair include: biotin, silica, zinc, amino acids, essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, and B12, folic acid. Popular ingredients in topical treatments are caffeine, biotin, vitamin B complex, gingko extract.

We can see that more and more beauty & hair care brands are offering nutrition supplements for skin & hair next to their cosmetic portfolio, bridging again the gap from food to cosmetics. Brands with a holistic approach like this – treating the problem from inside and outside – will probably win in the long term.

hair loss
A pea sprout extract to stimulate hair growth and fighting hair loss

AnaGain, which is based on organic pea sprouts stimulates specific signal molecules in the dermal papilla required to reactivate hair growth. Thanks to its composition, AnaGain™ successfully offers a sustainable and novel approach to fight hair loss.

In a clinical study involving AnaGain™ it was shown that the anagen:telogen coefficient (proportion of active hair follicles to degenerating ones) could be improved from 4 to 7.2 corresponding to a 78% increase in hair growth in just 3 months. AnaGain™ is thus a natural and sustainable contributor to fuller and thicker hair.

AnaGain™ is available in two COSMOS approved versions.

AnaGain™ Nu is an unique water-soluble extract prepared from organic pea shoots suitable for functional food and supplement applications.

Developed by a bioassay-guided approach it enhances FGF7 and Noggin expression, specific signaling molecules in the dermal papilla cells, which favors the natural hair growth cycle to initiate the growth of new hair.

Clinical results show that AnaGain™ Nu reduced hair loss and improved visual hair density.

Ana Gain
Christine Meier
Written by

Christine Meier