All You Need to Know About Hair Shedding
We’ve all been there.
One morning, you can’t help but notice the huge clumps of hair in your brush. Or the giant clump left behind in the shower drain.
Panic hits you. Could you be losing your hair? Are you headed for baldness?
We understand your feelings. But there’s no need to stress. Hair shedding is a part of life. It’s just what your body does. In fact, it’s normal to lose 50-100 hairs a day. This may seem like a lot; but since you have a total of over 100,000 hair follicles on your scalp, it’s not really that big of a deal.
However, if you are experiencing hair loss that seems excessive, there are things you can do about it.
Here we’ll explain the various causes of hair loss, as well as give you some strategies to prevent it.
The Life of Your Hair
Did you know that every fiber of your hair has its own cycle of growth and shedding?
These stages in the life of your hair are called the anagen, catagen, and telogen stages.
During the anagen stage, cells are rapidly dividing to create new ones, stimulating hair growth. Hair in the anagen stage has long roots. This stage can last anywhere from two to seven years. Of course, the longer the anagen stage lasts, the longer the hair will grow. Aging, stress, or a poor diet can shorten the anagen stage. Estrogen prolongs it, and testosterone shortens it.
Next, the hair enters the catagen stage. This stage averages about 2-3 weeks. During catagen, the hair stops dividing into new cells, and hair growth stops. The hair detaches itself from your blood supply.
Finally, your hair enters the telogen stage. This starts out as a resting phase, as new hair begins to grow beneath the telogen hairs. Your telogen hairs have short roots; they simply rest in your skin until the new anagen hairs force them out. This is a natural process.
However, there are some problems that can disrupt the natural cycle and lead to excessive shedding and/or hair loss.
Causes of Excessive Hair Shedding
If you are noticing excessive hair shedding or hair loss, be aware of these potential triggers.
Sudden Weight Loss
Have you recently lost a dramatic amount of weight? If so, this could be a factor in excessive hair shedding.
When you lose a lot of weight, your body goes into survival mode. As much as we all love having a full head of beautiful hair, it is biologically inessential. Your hair follicles require a good amount of protein to continue growing hair. If protein is in short supply due to dieting and weight loss, your hair is the first thing to go on the chopping block.
Typically, you will begin seeing this about 6-12 weeks after the weight loss has occurred.
Your hormones are directly related to the cycles of hair growth and hair loss. Remember that female hormones (like estrogen) contribute to a longer anagen phase, stimulating hair growth. That’s why women have such a full, abundant head of hair during pregnancy. But after birth, when estrogen levels abruptly drop, excessive hair shedding may occur.
Women also experience a dramatic drop in estrogen levels during menopause, once again triggering excessive hair shedding and hair loss.
These strong medications and drugs are designed to attack any rapidly growing cells in your body…and unfortunately, that includes the cells in your hair follicles.
Improper Hair Care
If you routinely put your hair in tight ponytails or braids, the constant pull may be causing trauma to your hair follicles.
Frequent exposure to high heat (such as with a permanent) can also lead to trauma and hair loss.
If you are taking medication on a regular basis, be aware that this could be causing excessive shedding and hair loss.
Acne medicine, cholesterol-lowering drugs, antidepressants, blood thinners, and beta-blockers have all been linked to hair loss.
This is a fancy term for pattern baldness, a hereditary condition affecting both men and women.
Although no one knows the cause of alopecia, we do know that it is related to levels of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
If a close family member has struggled with hair loss or baldness, chances are it will affect you too.
Of course, these are not the only possible causes of hair loss. Stress, scalp infection and excessive hair pulling are some of the many triggers you could be dealing with.
What You Can Do
If you are experiencing excessive hair shedding, you may feel helpless.
But there are a number of steps you can take to minimize or even completely stop hair shedding and to regrow some of the hair you have lost.
Improve Your Diet
By giving your body the nutrients it needs to be healthy, you are nourishing your hair too.
So, eat a balanced diet that includes lots of vegetables, fish, and lean meat.
Protein, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin B12 are essential to keeping your hair healthy. If you are not getting enough of these nutrients from your food, consider taking a supplement.
Use Care in Your Styling Routine
Try to avoid tight ponytails and braids and adopt a looser style instead. This will place less stress on your hair strands.
If you’ve noticed a lot of hair shedding, it might be a good idea to stay away from heavy styling creams, high heat or strong chemicals.
If you just can’t resist hair dye or your flattening/curling iron, use them in moderation. Color your hair only one or two shades lighter than your natural shade, and use a low heat setting on your styling tools. Don’t forget to spray in some heat protectant product when using these tools, too.
So, try to relax. Spend time every day doing something that you enjoy, whether it’s a hot bath, a yoga session or chatting with a good friend.
Remind yourself that hair shedding happens to almost everyone and that it is within your power to treat it.
See a Dermatologist
The reasons you are experiencing hair shedding or hair loss are unique to you. Each person is different and affected by a unique interplay of triggers. A dermatologist can help you understand why you are losing hair and what the best treatment is.
Use a Laser Growth Hair Treatment
We’ve come a long way in our ability to treat hair shedding. No longer do you have to resign yourself to gradually losing more and more hair.
A laser growth helmet provides a fast, convenient and effective way to regrow hair.
Most dermatologists recommend a Theradome helmet because it combines the best practices of cool lasers and phototherapy. It’s also much easier to use than other laser treatments on the market.
Whatever the reason for hair shedding, it can be a scary and demoralizing experience. But it doesn’t have to be. With these simple treatments, you can take control of hair shedding.