My hair has been shedding over the last few weeks, which I believe is due to sensitivity to the amla oil I was using (I will refer to that in another blog post later). I’ve been looking for remedies to reduce the shedding so I figured I would do a blog post about shedding while I’m doing so.
When I saw strands of hair on my fingers, comb or shirt, I would think my hair was breaking when it wasn’t. It was actually shedding.
Shed hairs have the white bulb at the beginning of the hair strand and hair that has broken is usually shorter and doesn’t have a white bulb attached to it.
Excessive hair breakage and hair shedding can cause abnormal hair loss, balding and thinning. Hair breakage is usually a result of bad hair practices and shedding is part of the hair’s normal life cycle. Excessive shedding though can be due to illness or some form of stress.
Hair Life Cycle
Each hair strand goes through various growth cycles:
1. Anagen Phase
The phase where hair strands are actively growing. At any given time 90% of your hair is in this phase.
Duration: 2-3 years for men and 4 -7 years for women (rough estimate, actual number is genetically determined)
2. Ketogen Phase
This phase signifies the end of the first phase and stops hair growth
Duration – 2 to 3 weeks (again predetermined by genetics)
3. Telogen Phase
Final phase which is the resting phase of your hair follicles. Healthy hair sheds at the end of this phase at about 50-100 hairs per day. Follicles then form replacement hairs and the cycle starts again.
Duration: approximately 3 months
Hair strands don’t all necessarily grow at the same rate and are often in different phases of growth. So it is unlikely all your healthy hair will shed from your head at one go.
Is it Abnormal Shedding?
When too many hair strands enter the telogen phase at any given time, abnormal hair shedding occurs. This can be caused by chronic illness, severe infections, high fever, lack of protein in your diet, low iron content and disease in your thyroid gland. Stress, stopping or starting birth control, anaemia, major surgery and menopause can also be reasons for abnormal shedding. It can also be from scalp reactions to medicine, diet or products placed on scalp such as improper use of a relaxer. Post partum shedding also occurs in many women.
Signs of abnormal shedding:
• Significant thinning
• Bald spots
Check out remedies for excessive shedding in my next post.
Is it Hair Breakage?
Hair breaks when strands thicken or weaken. Hair often breaks near the ends and is seen through split ends which can migrate even further down the hair shaft. Causes You can trigger hair breakage if: You frequently bleach, dye or relax your hair, as these all weaken the hair shaft. You don’t moisturise and condition it enough You regularly or improperly use hair products with damaging chemicals such as sulphates. You use certain hair care devices excessively if at all, such as curling irons, flat irons and blow dryers. You use devices that hold your hair too tightly such as rubber bands, hairpins or clips. You excessively brush, comb or shampoo your hair. Basically if you mistreat your hair and don’t treat it gently with care, it’s highly likely to break.