You probably cringed just a little when you saw the title of this article. You put time, energy, money, and love into your hair, so it is NOT easy to watch it fall out. To make matters worse, you probably watch this happen every single day. It’s enough to make you lose your mind!
But before you do, stop and take a deeeeep breath. All is not lost! (Literally.) Odds are, your shedding is perfectly normal. And in this blogpost we’ll tackle the whole issue of hair loss, including the differences between shedding, hair loss, and alopecia. We’ll explain the causes of each and how to address them.
First things first: SHEDDING IS NORMAL. Most people shed between 50 and 100 hairs on a normal day, which is part of the life cycle of hair. Each individual strand grows for a while before shifting into the shedding phase. Once a hair strand falls out, a new one will grow in. This cycle is normal (and there's nothing you can do to save a hair that’s ready to fall out.)
You might notice wayyy more than 50 hairs coming out on wash day, or when you detangle for the first time in a week. But this doesn’t mean your shedding is abnormal. Remember, your hair sheds every day, no matter what. Hair strands can detach from your scalp while remaining tangled up in the rest of your hair. The excessive shedding you see once a week is just the accumulation of the dead hair that’s fallen out in the last week. (This should be a reminder to detangle regularly!)
Excessive hair shedding or telogen effluvium happens when the body sheds significantly more than 100 hairs every day. Here are some factors that cause excessive shedding, even months after the actual event:
- Losing 20 pounds or more
- Giving birth
- Excessive stress (Caring for a loved one who is sick, going through a divorce, losing a job)
- High fever
- Undergoing a serious operation
- Recovering from an illness
- Stopping birth-control pills
- Heat damage, color/bleach damage, chemical damage
Hair loss or anagen effluvium is a condition in which your hair stops growing. You'll continue to shed your hair at a normal rate, but your body won't replace the hairs you lose. Over time, your hair will slowly get thinner. Some factors that cause hair loss are:
- Hereditary hair loss
- Immune system overreaction
- Some drugs and treatments
- Hairstyles that are too tight or that pull on hair
- Harsh hair products
- Compulsion to pull out one’s hair
How to fight shedding and hair loss
- Identify and stop the underlying cause. The world is full of beauty products that will supposedly stop hair loss, but the number one thing you can do is stop whatever is causing it to fall out in the first place. Any other solution will only help in the short term.
- The healthier your body is, the healthier your hair will be. Be on your guard against shedding and hair loss by eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and adopting habits to relax and de-stress. All of this will have a positive impact on your hair.
- Stay away from heat and harsh chemicals. Harsh products and styles cause damage to your hair, often to the point of excessive shedding and hair loss. If you’ve noticed a lot of shedding recently, cut back on color treatments, relaxers, texturizers, heat-styling tools, and harsh shampoos. Check the label, and only use hair products with safe and natural ingredients, such as NaturAll Club's Avocado Deep Conditioner, Wash Day products, or JBCO Growth Serum.
- If none of this seems to work or if you can’t figure out the underlying cause, see a doctor or professional.
Alopecia aerate is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks your hair follicles and causes your hair to fall out. Rather than shedding throughout your hair, alopecia can cause your hair to fall out in clumps and patches. Usually your hair will grow back within a year, but alopecia itself cannot be cured because it is an autoimmune condition. This is what we recommend:
- If you think you have alopecia, see a doctor for treatment.
- In the meantime follow our suggestions above for hair loss and shedding, but be mindful that they won’t stop the underlying cause itself.
We hope these tips were helpful! Comment with your tactics for preventing hair loss, or what you think we should cover in our blog next!