Every time I shower, rest my head on the pillow, or comb my hair, I wonder why my hair is falling out. Is it normal?
Yes, it is.
And we call it hair shedding.
What is Hair Shedding? How do you stop it?
To understand how to stop hair shedding, you must first understand the difference between hair shedding and hair loss and how your body reacts differently to each of them.
Hair Shedding vs. Hair Loss
Our scalp hair grows in cycles that consist of two main phases:
- The growth phase (Anagen): This lasts between three and five years depending on your age and genetics.
- The shedding phase (Telogen): This lasts between three to six months.
So, most of the time, the hair you shed will be just an end to a chapter in your hair-growth story. If everything is normal, your hair will grow back at the same intensity and speed as the fallen one.
Now, what about hair loss?
Hair loss happens when the replacing hairs are either fewer or less thick than the fallen ones. It may go under the radar for a few hair cycles, but the person will eventually notice the difference when the bald patches across the scalp get bigger.
Is Hair Shedding Normal?
In a nutshell, yes.
Hair shedding is normal, and sometimes, it doesn’t require professional help. Hair loss, however, requires an early diagnosis from a specialist who can stabilize the balding patterns and stimulate hair growth through medical or surgical intervention.
Why am I shedding so much?
Hair shedding has so many reasons. Luckily, they are all curable, and you can reduce hair shedding and even stop it if diagnosed early. Here are some of the causes of hair loss based on how commonly they occur:
Hair Shedding Reason #1: Stress (Telogen Effluvium)
Problems at work, a bad breakup, or a global pandemic that never seems to end! Any of these stress triggers can be the reason you are experiencing excessive hair shedding and the sad part? You may have no clue.
Stress, according to the American Journal of Dermatology, is the primary reason behind unexplained hair loss in women. Not just that.., severe stress can also hurt your skin and cause acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Hair Shedding Reason #2: Hair Falling out During or After Pregnancy
Postpartum hair shedding is a common situation among women, especially those who are giving birth for the first time. Studies show that accidents, surgeries, and pregnancy usually take their toll on a woman’s hair and cause it to shed in a matter of two or three months after the actual incident.
During this period, the body takes a rest from hair growth (the Telogen phase) and focuses its resources on healing the injured/stressed organs.
Sounds a little bit horrifying, but the good news is that another hair-growth cycle will begin six to nine months later.
Find out how pregnancy and hair loss are related.
Hair Shedding Reason #3: Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is a strong antioxidant that keeps your hair follicles healthy and stimulates the sebaceous glands to secrete hair oils called sebum that lubricate the scalp and make your hair look shiny and alive.
Even though zinc deficiency isn’t the main cause behind alopecia areata, some studies have found a strong link between the severity of alopecia and zinc deficiency.
Studies also found that most of the diets circled around one or two types of food can cause excessive shedding of hair. This is because your body doesn’t generate zinc on its own and can only get it from high-protein foods such as chicken, red meat, and fish. So, a single-item diet may not be the go-to option when suffering from hair problems.
Hair Shedding Reason #4: Iron Deficiency
To understand the link between hair shedding and iron deficiency, we must first understand why oxygen is so important to your hair.
In one study, a research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital increased the hair volume of male mice by 70 percent by expanding the blood vessels in their scalps. The team also found that such expansion depended mostly on the amount of oxygen reaching those blood vessels.
I.e., more oxygen = bigger vessels = thicker hair follicles
Now, guess which nutrient is responsible for regulating the oxygen supply that reaches the scalp cells? Yes, it’s iron, and its deficiency, according to some studies, can cause both hair shedding and female pattern baldness.
Hair Shedding Reason #5: Menopause & Hormonal Imbalances
Estrogen is one of the few hormones that activate hair growth. During pregnancy, the ovaries produce more than enough estrogen to speed up the hair growth cycle.
This rule, however, is inverted after menopause, and the rates of both estrogen and progesterone (female sex hormones) decrease while the rates of androgens (male sex hormones) spike subsequently and cause two problems:
- Hair thinning: This happens when the androgens reduce the follicle diameter and empty the scalp of its hair.
- Slow hair growth: By not having enough estrogen/progesterone, the hair growth cycle will slow down, and the process of replacing the fallen hairs becomes much harder.
Get to know The relationship between menopause and hair loss.
Hair Shedding Reason #6: Thyroid Problems
The main function of the thyroid gland is to regulate the energy you get from food by secreting two primary hormones into your blood: Triiodothyronine (T3), and Tetraiodothyronine (T4). Any sparse or excessive production of these hormones can cause a number of hair problems that range from hair thinning to excessive hair loss depending on the severity of the case.
Learn more on Thyroid Induced Hair Loss.
Hair Shedding Reason #7: Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition that occurs in either the colon or the gastrointestinal tract. Studies are yet to show whether it’s the disease or the treatment that causes hair shedding but what we are sure of is that hair shedding is usually a byproduct of IBD.
Hair Shedding Reason #8: Traumas, Accidents and Fevers
Unexpected losses, misuse of hair products, or severe fevers with illness are some of the most common reasons for hair to fall out. The common theme in such situations is that the hair starts to fall three or four months after the MAIN incident which leaves a lot of room for wrong speculations.
This situation, also known as Hair Follicle Miniaturization, is usually accompanied by notable shrinkage in the follicles` diameter, which causes the hair to either grow weak or not grow at all.
Hair Shedding Reason #9: Traction Alopecia
That high Ariana Grande ponytail may look cool, but it could be placing terrible stress on your hair follicles. Avoid tight hairstyles that place traction on follicles. This can lead to a condition called traction alopecia. Hair care is more than just buying a good shampoo and conditioner. Tugging at your hair from the roots can really harm your hair follicles. Theradome user, model, and biomedical engineer Megan Pormer experienced this right after she appeared at the American Influencer Awards. Hear Megan's story here:
Hair Shedding Reason #10: Chemotherapy & Medications
There are two types of drug-induced hair loss:
A severe hair loss occurs during the hair growth phase (the Anagen phase), and it’s usually caused by chemotherapy.
This Happens during the resting phase of hair growth (the Telogen phase), in which the scalp sheds between 25 to 75 extra hairs a day in addition to the 50-100 hairs.
This type of hair shedding usually takes place 15 to 30 days after taking specific drugs such as antibiotics, antidepressants, acne drugs, cholesterol and high blood pressure drugs, steroids, and birth control pills.
So, now that you know why your hair could be falling out, let’s jump to the more important question…
There are two major questions that may be concerning you right now:
How to Stop Hair Shedding and grow back the hair I lost?
Yes, you can reduce, stop hair shedding and grow back/reverse the hair loss. However, you must understand that the process of growing back the hair won't happen immediately, and you'll have to do some lifestyle changes in order to see some real progress. There are various factors that contribute to hair shedding and hair loss like genetics, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, medication side effects, stress, certain medical conditions, and styling practices. To address and stop hair shedding and promote hair regrowth, it's essential to identify the root cause and adopt some lifestyle changes.
Although hair shedding is a natural process of hair growth, excessive hair shedding is a worrying condition that should be addressed early. Here are some ways you can prevent it with these hair shedding remedies:
If you want to have healthy hair and minimize hair shedding, then you must eat a balanced diet in accordance. Any diet/lifestyle you follow should include the following nutrients to encourage healthy hair growth and stop hair shedding naturally:
Eat Extra Protein
Proteins are the building blocks of hair and constitute about 95% of the hair structure. Your diet can significantly impact hair growth and its strength if you include protein-rich foods like eggs, lean meats, fish, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
In addition to its hair-growth benefits, zinc also improves your digestion, immune system, and the development of your central nervous system.
Some of the foods rich in zinc are shellfish, lentils, beans, red meat, hemp and pumpkin seeds, eggs, and nuts.
Iron has so many benefits; it improves your energy and mood, prevents anemia, and makes your skin glow. It’s also crucial that pregnant women get sufficient amounts of iron (usually double the regular amounts) to increase the oxygen supply reaching their fetuses.
Examples of foods rich in iron are spinach (of course), liver, peas, lentils, quinoa, tofu, broccoli, and shellfish.
Take the Right Supplements
There are so many supplements in the market, but these are the ones your hair really needs.
Vitamin D is a natural immunity booster that increases the absorption of calcium in the blood and thus strengthens your bones. It can also improve your memory and prevent cardiovascular damage.
According to a 2019 study by the University of Dublin, almost one billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency that may lead to depression, cancer, and inflammation.
Another study found that vitamin D replacement therapy helped a group of patients with nonscarring alopecia get their hair back in a matter of a few weeks or months, depending on the severity of their cases.
Vitamin A, similar to zinc, moisturizes your scalp through the process of sebum production. Studies show that vitamin A deficiency can contribute to both anemia and hair shedding and may also cause alopecia.
You can find vitamin A as a stand-alone supplement or in multivitamins. You can also find it in dairy, fish, liver, carrots, and broccoli.
We already mentioned both zinc and iron and the foods rich in them. But you can always take zinc as a supplement to make sure you have enough of it.
Biotin (the hair vitamin)
Scientists call biotin the hair vitamin or Vitamin H (the H stands for hair and skin in the German language), so imagine how dangerous it will be for your hair to suffer from biotin deficiency. Biotin stimulates the production of Keratin which is the number one protein your hair needs for growth.
Find more on how biotin promote hair growth.
Your body usually gets sufficient amounts of biotin from common foods like meat, eggs, and nuts. However, in some cases, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, you will need to increase your biotin intake to prevent hair shedding. This should always be under the supervision of your doctor.
Exercise, meditate, and meet some friends
Do whatever makes you happy and stress-free. Hit the weights, go for a run, meditate, do yoga, or just hang out with your buddies.
Your mental well-being is as important to your hair as the food you eat or the new shampoo you just bought. You must invest in your mental strength, even if it means sparring an extra 15 minutes each morning for yoga. According to recent studies, even a five-minute session of daily meditation can permanently rewire your brain to increase happiness, boost your immunity and lower your cortisol/stress levels. So, why would someone deny their body that amazing gift of peacefulness…and good hair?
Find out how exercise can improve your overall hair growth.
Use OTC hair loss medication
OTC hair loss medications can be a convenient and accessible option to reduce hair shedding and promote hair growth. There are several OTC medications available, but their effectiveness varies from person to person. Minoxidil is the only FDA-approved hair loss medication for both men and women. The effectiveness and results may take several months to become noticeable.
Take good care of hair and scalp
Maintaining good hair and scalp health involves a combination of a healthy lifestyle, proper hygiene, a balanced diet, and the use of appropriate hair care products. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and implementing proper hair care practices, you can maintain healthy scalp and promote the growth and vitality of your hair.
Use Theradome Laser Hair Growth Helmet Consistently
Theradome laser hair helmet helps in preventing hair loss, strengthens the hair shaft, and promotes new hair growth. For men and women wanting to prevent hair loss, it helps to strengthen existing hair. For people who want to stop their current hair loss immediately, it can produce results as soon as 4-6 weeks from the start of treatment. First, it will miniaturize hair loss by slowing it down. Second, it will reverse miniaturization by thickening existing hair. Lastly, it renews and promotes new hair growth. The timing of results may be different as individual results may vary. Achieving effective results requires time and patience but is very rewarding! The best part about Theradome is that there are zero side effects.
So Who is a Good Candidate for Theradome?
A good candidate for Laser Phototherapy is someone who is suffering from hair loss, a receding hairline, or looking to strengthen their current hair. The Theradome is designed to prevent and effectively treat the earlier stages of hair loss, I-1 to II-2 for women and IIA to V for men. Additionally, it’s ideal for anyone leading a busy life who doesn't have time to visit a clinic twice, or a week or would like to save money on clinical strength hair loss treatments.
Can Hair Loss be Reversed?
In some cases, hair loss can be reversed or slowed down. It depends on the underlying cause. Treatments like medications, lifestyle changes, hair transplants, or using theradome hair growth helmet may help.
What causes your hair to thin?
Factors like genetics, hormonal changes, age, nutritional deficiencies, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions can contribute to hair thinning. Identifying and treating the cause is essential to stop it.
What are some signs your hair is thinning?
Signs of thinning hair include the scalp becoming more visible, hair shedding, visibly thinner ponytail or receding hairline, and wider parting. Identifying the signs and treating them can help you reverse the hair loss.
Why does my hair keep shedding?
You might be experiencing excessive hair shedding due to factors such as stress, poor nutrition, hormonal changes, medical conditions, medications, genetics, and styling habits.