Seeing clumps of hair on your pillow, brush, or shower floor can make you think you have a hair loss problem, but you may be experiencing hair shedding and rest assured, some hair shedding is perfectly normal regardless of your age and gender. The strands of hair you have noticed could be due to hair breakage instead but how can you differentiate between these three situations: hair shedding, hair loss and hair breakage? And what can you do to improve your hair situation?
Shedding hair is normal. A healthy human will shed between 25 and 100 hair strands a day. Some people even experience seasonal shedding during fall and winter that goes back to normal rates during spring and summer. So, what is the difference between regular hair shedding and worrisome hair loss? When should you seek help from a professional? Let’s start with a quick overview of the hair life cycle.
All hair strands go through a cycle of many micro steps but, to make it simple, we can divide this in 4 main stages: growing, transitioning, resting, and shedding, which are otherwise called anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen phases.
Hair shedding is part of the hair’s natural lifecycle, and everyone sheds hair. That being said, it is normal to start worrying if the shedding seems to be excessive or irregular.
Excessive shedding can happen due to medications, stress, childbirth, or it can come along other illnesses such as thyroid disorders, anemia, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). You may suspect excessive shedding if you notice an uptake in fallen hair, new bald spots, or sudden thinning of the hair.
If you see an increase in hair shedding or start noticing changes in your hair quality, do not hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider to ensure there are not any other illnesses that should be addressed, along with any nutritional deficiencies that may be exacerbating that shedding.
Once the hair has disconnected from its blood supply, there is nothing you can do to prevent it from falling out, it is just part of its regular lifecycle.
Is brushing or washing your hair less often the solution to reduce shedding? Shedding hair when showering or brushing is normal. If you brush or shower more often, you may see smaller clumps of hair and, if you wash your hair once a week, even if the amount shed can look alarming you need to remember that you are shedding a week worth of hair.
Is brushing and washing your hair related to hair breakage?
Excessive or aggressive washing and brushing can lead to breakage, especially if it involves pulling, brushing wet hair, or not washing off shampoo.
How to reduce hair breakage
Specialists recommend brushing your hair regularly to avoid knots and tangles (which could also lead to breakage) but to do so gently, with dry hair, starting at the ends and working your way up to the scalp and using detangling products when necessary.
You can also reduce breakage by avoiding tight hairstyles, heat damage caused by curling or flat irons, and chemical damage caused by coloring, perming and relaxing treatments.
Nutrient deficiency can also cause hair to be brittle and fragile
How can you differentiate shedding from breakage?
Since broken hair will still be attached to your scalp, the strand will not have that visible white bulb at the end and may be shorter than the regular hair length in that area of your hair.
Hair loss is when something, permanent or temporary, stops the hair from growing.
As we age, a certain degree of hair loss is normal in both number of hairs and diameter of the hair strands which affects hair density and may give an appearance of thinning and baldness.
Nonetheless, if the hair loss you are experiencing is distressing, if you are experiencing new bald spots, an increase in hair falling out or a reduction in hair thickness or density, it is always recommended to check in with your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying medical conditions, nutrient deficiencies or medication interactions that may be causing that excessive hair loss.
Most hair loss is hereditary and related to ageing (androgenic alopecia), this occurs gradually and with predictable patterns such as receding hairline in men, and thinning along the crown of the head in women.
There are other causes for hair loss such as the hormonal changes that come with childbirth or menopause, stress, autoimmune disorders, thyroid problems, stress or as side effects of medical procedures or medications.
Since most of hair loss cases are caused by ageing or genetics, you may not be able to prevent hair loss. For cases related to hormonal changes and underlying medical conditions, your treating physician can give guidance if there’s any alternative medications or supplements you can take to minimize the effects on your hair. Having a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, mindfulness practices, sleep and a balanced died can help you reduce hair loss caused by either stress or nutritional deficiencies.
There are three main options to reduce or reverse hair loss:
There are OTC (over the counter) topical medications such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) for both male and female hair loss, which can help reduce the rate of hair loss and promote hair regrowth, or prescription oral medications for male hair loss such as Finasteride (Propecia).
These medications are temporary and will only help while they are in use, meaning that you will need to take them indefinitely to retain its benefits and once stopped, it will revert to the previous pattern of hair loss including any regrowth obtained during treatment.
Low-level laser treatments and devices can help delay hereditary hair loss.
Hair transplant surgery
Hair transplant is an outpatient procedure that involves removing hair strands, or sometimes small pieces of hair dense scalp grafts and transplanting them to a balding or thinning area. In some cases, hair transplants are the only permanent option to
Hair transplant results tend to look very natural allowing for short hair exposing the scalp since any scarring is usually barely noticeable.
Do you know you can consult our doctors for free? If you shed over 150 strands of hair in a day, do not panic and get help. EasyHairHub works with renowned hair clinics that proffer solutions to different hair conditions. In addition, they offer various services that include a hair transplant. For more information, visit our hair transplant page.