Excessive Hair Shedding: How to Stop it
Are you dealing with excessive hair shedding? You're not alone. Hair shedding is a common problem, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce and stop excessive hair shedding.
In this blog post, we'll discuss what causes hair shedding and how to get your hair back to its healthy state. So, if you're ready to take control of your excessive hair shedding, keep reading!
What is hair shedding?
Hair loss can be understood as the shedding of individual strands from one's head. Shedding is a natural aspect of the hair cycle that is continuing. Understanding the hair growth cycle can assist us in understanding normal and pathological hair shedding. One may shed hairs from their fingers, comb or brush, pillow or clothes.
There are several stressors that may impact the hair shaft growth cycle and result in full-body hair loss.
The physiology of hair
The growth phase (anagen), transitional phase (catagen), and resting phase (telogen) cycle continually in this order during the hair's natural development. The scalp has about 100,000 hair follicles, of which 85–90% are in the anagen stage, 1–3% in the catagen stage, and 5–10% in telogen.
Hair growth is not uniform throughout the scalp, so not all hairs are in the same phase of the growing cycle at any one moment. This ensures that hair density remains constant.
The average person sheds about 50 to 100 hairs each day, depending on combing and washing habits. A hair follicle goes through 25 to 30 cycles during its existence.
How much hair loss is normal in a day?
Hair loss is common, and it's typical to lose up to 100 strands of hair each day. People with more lengthy hair strands may notice them losing more readily. Because there are over a million hair follicles on every person's head, the loss of a hundred or so strands each day isn't particularly noticeable.
What is excessive hair shedding?
Excessive hair shedding is when you're losing more than the normal amount of hair strands each day. This can be a sign of an underlying health condition or stressor. If you're concerned about your hair loss, speak to your doctor.
They can perform tests to determine the cause of your excessive shedding and recommend treatment options.
Types of excessive hair shedding
There are two types of excessive hair shedding:
1. Anagen effluvium
Anagen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs when the hair follicle is damaged. This can happen due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other medications. Anagen effluvium usually starts within two to four weeks after starting treatment and lasts as long as the treatment continues.
Hair loss from anagen effluvium is typically diffuse, meaning it affects the entire scalp rather than being localized to one area. The hair loss may be sudden and severe, with clumps of hair coming out when shampooing, combing, or even lightly tugging on the hair.
2. Telogen effluvium
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss that occurs when the hair follicle enters the resting phase too early. This can happen due to a major stressor, such as childbirth, surgery, a high fever, or a severe illness. Telogen effluvium usually starts within two to four months after the stressor occurs and lasts for about three to six months.
Hair loss from telogen effluvium is typically diffuse, meaning it affects the entire scalp. The hair loss may be sudden but is usually not as severe as anagen effluvium. You may notice more hair in your brush or on your pillow than usual.
How to know if you are having excessive hair shedding
A good way to determine if you are shedding excessively is to take a look at the strands of hair that you do shed. If most of the hairs that you shed are thick and have a bulb at the end, then this is normal shedding.
However, if the hairs that you shed are thinner and do not have a bulb, this could be a sign of excessive shedding. In addition, if you are finding more hair in your brush than normal or if your ponytail is noticeably thinner, these could also be signs of excessive shedding.
Difference between hair loss and hair shedding
Hair loss and hair shedding are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Hair loss is when your hair falls out and does not grow back. This can be a result of genetics, stress, certain medical conditions, or medications.
Hair shedding, on the other hand, is when you lose hair that is normal. This is usually a result of a temporary condition, such as stress or pregnancy. While hair shedding is usually not permanent, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Causes of excessive hair shedding
There are several possible causes of excessive hair shedding. Here are some of the most common:
1. Hormonal imbalances
Changes in hormones can impact hair growth and lead to excessive shedding. This hair loss in women is often seen during pregnancy, menopause, female pattern hair loss or with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Physical or emotional stress can trigger a type of hair fall called telogen effluvium. This is a temporary form of shedding that typically resolves once the stressor is removed.
3. Thyroid conditions
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss.
4. Nutritional deficiencies
A lack of certain nutrients, such as iron, can lead to hair shedding or thinning hair.
5. Autoimmune disorders
Conditions like lupus and alopecia areata cause the immune system to attack the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
Certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer or high blood pressure, can cause hair shedding as a side effect.
Your style of hair can cause hair loss when your hair is arranged in ways that pull on your roots, like tight ponytails, braids, or cornrows. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia. If hair follicles are damaged, the loss can be permanent.
8. Scalp infection
A bacterial or fungal infection of the scalp can cause hair loss.
9. Hair care products:
Hair products that contain harsh chemicals or irritate the scalp can cause hair shedding.
What are the symptoms of excessive hair shedding?
There are several possible symptoms of excessive hair shedding. Here are some of the most common:
1. Hair loss that is noticeable and greater than usual
2. Clumps of hair coming out when brushing or combing your hair
3. Hair thinning on your head
4. Receding hairline
5. Bald spots on the scalp
6. Itchy or flaky scalp
7. Changes in the texture of your hair
How to stop excessive hair shedding
There are several things you can do to stop excessive hair shedding. Here are some of the most effective:
1. Identify and avoid any triggers
If you can identify what is causing your shedding, you may be able to avoid it.
2. Get regular trims
Getting rid of split ends can help prevent further damage to your hair.
3. Use a gentle shampoo
Avoid harsh shampoos or those that contain sulfates, which can strip your hair and irritate your scalp.
4. Take supplements
Taking vitamins or supplements that are specific for hair health can help reduce shedding.
5. Try low-level laser therapy
This is a treatment that uses lasers to stimulate healthy hair growth. It is most effective when used in combination with other treatments.
6. Avoid tight hairstyles
Hairstyles that pull on your hair can damage the follicles and lead to shedding.
7. Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that is rich in nutrients can help support hair health.
8. Use a soft brush
Brushing your hair with a soft brush can help prevent damage to the follicles.
9. Avoid hot showers
Hot water can strip the natural oils from your hair, making it more likely to shed.
10. Limit the use of heat styling tools
Using heat styling tools can damage your hair and lead to shedding. If you must use them, be sure to use a heat protectant.
11. Don’t bleach or color your hair too often
These treatments can damage your hair and make it more likely to shed. If you do color your hair, be sure to use a gentle, low-chemical product.
12. Use a humidifier
Dry air can lead to dry scalp, which can cause shedding. Using a humidifier can help keep your scalp hydrated.
What is seasonal hair shedding?
Seasonal shedding is a type of hair loss that occurs at the same time each year. It is most common in the fall and winter, but it can occur at any time of year. Seasonal shedding is thought to be caused by changes in hormones or the environment.
Does hair have shedding cycles?
Hair shedding occurs in cycles. The length of the cycle can vary from person to person, but it is typically around 28 days. Most people shed between 50 and 100 hairs per day.
How can I tell if my hair loss is due to excessive shedding?
If you are losing hair more than usual or if you are noticing other changes in your hair, such as thinning or changes in texture, you may be experiencing excessive shedding. If you are concerned about your hair loss, it is best to speak with a doctor or dermatologist.
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