Nails and Hair


Our bodies are almost completely covered with hair (except for the mucous membranes, palms, soles of the feet, lips and nipples).
Human hair consists of three layers, is mainly composed of the elements carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulphur and usually has a water content of 10 %. This ratio has a considerable effect on the properties of hair. The main part of the hair essentially comprises proteins (90 %), called keratins. All of the processes required for hairdressing (e.g. for a permanent wave) take place within the keratin. Melanin is responsible for hair colour. Hairs are appendages of the skin and consist of the hair root, the hair shaft and the hair follicle. The hair roots contain the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the hair. The number of hairs on the human scalp can range up to 150,000, and the hair density on one square centimetre is around 200 hairs. In a month, the hair on the scalp grows by about one centimetre. A single hair has a diameter of 0.04 to 0.12 mm. The normal daily hair loss is 60 to 100 hairs, but their roots remain in the scalp.

Fingernails and toenails are extensions of the upper layer of skin (epidermis) and are formed on the nail root from keratin plates. Nails consist of up to 150 irregularly stacked layers of horny cells. A fingernail or toenail is normally up to 0.75 mm thick. The various nails grow at different speeds, approx. 0.5-1.2 mm in a week. The nail on the middle finger grows the fastest.

Every body loses hair every day. If our hair keeps getting thinner, we feel uncomfortable. The hair is replaced the same way as our blood, skin and other body cells. It is only when more than 100 hairs (with their roots) come out in our hair brush, however, that we speak of hair loss. This can affect circular areas or even the entire scalp.
Approx. 1.4 million people in Germany suffer from circular hair loss. It is referred to as familial predisposition (10-25 %). For men, hair loss is usually a given from the time they are born, and it already starts in the second half of their third decade of life.

The true cause of hair loss still seems to be one of medical science’s unsolved riddles.

However, there are many causes simultaneously responsible for hair loss.

Possible causes include:
- thyroid function disorders
- diabetes mellitus
- taking of certain drugs (beta-blockers, cholesterol-lowering medicines, contraceptive pill, thyroid drugs, etc.)
- mineral deficiencies
- excessive consumption of alcohol and nicotine
- malnutrition / eating disorders
- functional disorders in the digestive system
- anaemia (reduced red blood cells)
- bacterial infections, fungal diseases
- an overdose of folic acid and vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- pollutants (e.g. thallium)
- skin diseases (e.g. psoriasis)
- dyeing of the hair
- stress and mental problems
- radiation therapy for cancer, among other things.

Hair loss mainly affects the hair on the scalp and, with men, facial hair as well. More rarely, it can affect the eyebrows, armpit or pubic hair. A loss of the hair root can never be replaced.
For a nice full head of hair, it is important to have healthy scalp and for the hair root to receive a sufficient supply of nutrients.

Fingernails and toenails can be damaged by a variety of diseases. However, it is especially the fingernails that are regarded as a sign of beauty in women. Brittle, cracked fingernails, unevenness and white spots are perceived as being particularly disturbing. The most frequent complaints, especially in women, involve soft or brittle nails, which can be signs of biotin (vitamin H) deficiency. Biotin is necessary for the formation of the horn-like substance, keratin, and contributes to the healthy growth of the nail.

When there are changes in the nail, diseases such as
- thyroid function disorders
- hormonal disorders
- vitamin deficiency and
iron deficiency anaemia
should be ruled out.

The sooner the causes are detected, the better the chances of healing will be.

Various blood tests in your doctor’s laboratory can help to find out the cause of hair loss.

Consult your doctor.


  • Inflammation parameters (blood count, blood sedimentation, C-reactive protein)
  • Hormones (oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone)
  • Thyroid values (TSH, thyroid antibodies)
  • Blood sugar
  • Ferritin, iron in the serum, folic acid
  • Creatinine (renal function value)
  • Zinc, selenium, calcium
  • Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
  • Liver enzymes (GGT, GOT, GPT)
  • Vitamin H (biotin)
  • Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

If your results deviate from normal findings, your doctor will discuss options for further diagnostics with you and, if necessary, therapy.