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How to Tell If Hair Follicles Are Alive

author image Leigh Wittman
Leigh Wittman has been writing professionally since 2007. She writes primarily on health, career advice, outdoor pursuits and travel for various websites. Wittman is a licensed nurse and studied nursing at Arizona State University.
How to Tell If Hair Follicles Are Alive
Senior man looking at his hair in a mirror Photo Credit: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

According to "The Science of Hair Care," hair follicles are the root of hair. Without hair follicles, hair cannot grow. If you are experiencing hair loss, you may be concerned about the health of your hair follicles and may be questioning if they are alive. In some cases, according to "Foundations and Adult Health Nursing," it is simple to determine if your hair follicles are alive. In other cases, however, you must consult a physician for assistance to determine if your hair follicles are living.

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Step 1

Inspect your scalp in a mirror, paying special attention to any areas of your scalp in which your hair is especially thin. If you notice new hair growth, which will likely be most apparent in thinning areas, the hair follicles are alive, according to "The Science of Hair Care," since hair follicles are required for new hair to be grown.

Step 2

Visit your physician to discuss your hair loss concerns if you do not see any new hair growth upon inspection of your scalp. With the assistance of your doctor, determine if you are a good candidate for a scalp biopsy. According to "Foundations and Adult Health Nursing," a scalp biopsy involves removing mall section of the dermis of your scalp for examination. Hair follicles, which are located in the dermis, are viewed under a microscope and evaluated to a determine whether or not your hair follicles are alive.

Step 3

Undergo a hair pull test if your physician decides that you are a poor candidate for a scalp biopsy, but feels that you are a good candidate for this test. Though a hair pull test is less accurate than a scalp biopsy, it is much less invasive and may therefore be used as a diagnostic tool for some people who who cannot undergo a scalp biopsy, according to "Foundations and Adult Health Nursing." The hair pull test is performed by pulling several strands of hair from the scalp and examining them under a microscope. The follicles can be closely examined and the doctor may be able to tell if your follicles are alive.

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  • "The Science of Hair Care"; Claude Bouillon and John Wilkinson; 2005
  • "Foundations and Adult Health Nursing"; Barbara Christensen; 2006
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