Seeing a handful strands of hair fall off each time you brush your locks can be panic-inducing. Just like other women, this may cause you to wonder if you’re about to lose all of your hair. Before you get all too worried, know that sometimes the cause of the hair fall isn’t anything sinister. In fact, it may be just a normal case of hair shedding and not hair loss.
What Is Hair Shedding?
It is normal for people to shed around 50 to 80 strands of hair per day. For some people, they may lose up to 150 strands a day. Moreover, when you shampoo, more hair falls off; thus, explaining the clumps of hair you see while bathing. While 50 to 150 strands may appear to be too much, this figure is not even 1% of your total hair number (which is estimated to be around 150,000 strands).
Why does it happen? Hair shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. It takes place at the end of the telogen phase, the resting phase of the hair growth cycle which typically lasts for two to three months. Of the hair on your scalp, only 10% are in the telogen phase while around 85% are in the anagen phase or the growth phase. As the hair moves from the resting to the growth phase, the old hair is pushed out by the new hair.
There are cases, however, wherein hair shedding can become excessive. This happens because the hair transitions to the next phase quicker than what’s usually expected. The medical term for excessive hair shedding is telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium happens when the stressor disrupts the normal rhythm of the hair growth cycle. Some of the things that may trigger excessive hair shedding are: child birth, had high fever, undergone an operation, stoppage in the use of birth-control pills, weight loss of 20 pounds or more and prolonged exposure to extreme stress. Oftentimes, the excessive hair fall takes place a few months after you experience the stressful event.
Fortunately, this condition is temporary. The extreme hair shedding stops once the stressor is eliminated. Meanwhile, if the trigger remains, you are at risk of suffering from this condition long-term.
If you think you are having excessive hair fall, what you can do is to take around 50 to 60 hairs and run your fingers through them. If 15 or more strands come off, then you may be losing more than you’re supposed to. Another option is for you to consult a hair and scalp specialist. Apart from providing you with an accurate diagnosis, a trichologist or a dermatologist can give you recommendations on how you can properly deal with excessive hair shedding.
What Is Hair Loss?
The term hair loss is used when the growth of new hairs stops due to certain factors. This is medically called anagen effluvium. This condition may be brought about by heredity, use of certain drugs or treatments, trichotillomania, immune system issues and tight hairstyles.
Just like in excessive hair shedding, anagen effluvium can be stopped if the trigger is removed. For example, if you are losing hair because you frequently style your hair in a tight ponytail or braids, changing your hairstyle can resolve the problem. Similarly, if your hair loss is due to trichotillomania, addressing this condition is the key to resolving the issue.
However, there are also cases wherein the hair loss doesn’t get cured such as in female pattern hair loss. In these situations, what is typically done is to provide treatment which can slow down the progression of the hair loss and promote hair growth. In these cases, addressing the problem early is the key to a successful treatment outcome.
Classic tell-tale signs of hair loss include thinning hair, receding hairline, widening of parts and bald patches, among others. If you suspect that you are suffering from hair loss, it’s best to see a specialist right away to get the treatment you need.
Are you suffering from excessive hair shedding or hair loss? Set an appointment with our specialist to get a proper diagnosis ASAP. Call us at (0)1 6793618!