We frequently hear the terms “hair loss” and “hair shedding” used interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two.
- Hair shedding occurs naturally as the hair releases from the bulb.
- Hair shedding occurs at the end of our natural hair growth cycle, as our follicles prepare to begin the new cycle.
- There are times when hair shedding appears to be excessive, and this may be due to seasonal hair shedding—this, too, is normal and temporary.
- Hair loss occurs when the natural hair growth cycle is disrupted (either externally or internally), causing hair strands to shed prematurely or grow back more slowly—at the other end of the spectrum, hair growth stops completely and follicles no longer produce new hair strands.
- In cases of excessive shedding that results in hair loss, healthy hair growth will not resume until the cause of the hair loss is resolved or treatment is initiated.
Continue reading to find out how much hair shedding is normal, and how to combat excess shedding and hair loss.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
- It’s completely normal to lose 50 to 100 hair strands per day as part of your body’s natural hair shedding cycle, and losing 50 to 100 hairs looks very different for long hair than it does for short hair!
- However, noticing more hair in your brush does not necessarily mean you have dead hair follicles—many types of hair loss can be reversed, and it’s important to understand that many different factors such as stress, poor nutrition, and harsh styling techniques can all be influencing your hair loss.
- This is why it’s critical to figure out what’s causing your increased hair loss.
- Knowing what’s causing your hair loss, and whether it’s stress-related or hormone imbalance-related, will help you take the right steps to address it—and consulting your doctor can help, especially if your hair thinning is sudden or has been going on for a while.
Causes of Hair Loss and How to Prevent It:
Menopause causes significant all-over shedding, hairline thinning, and a wider hair part.
Menopause causes a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels, allowing for more androgenic activity. This hormonal imbalance can result in androgenic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss.
- Midlife androgenic alopecia causes our hair follicles to shrink and produce thinner strands. These narrower strands can result in wider hair parts and thinning hair at the crown and hairline.
Excessive Hair Shedding Following a Stressful Period
- Stress has an effect on every aspect of our health, from sleep to digestion to immune function.
- It stands to reason that dealing with a lot of stress would have an impact on our hair! If you’ve recently dealt with a stressful life event, such as a divorce or major surgery, you may be experiencing an increase in hair shedding, which is resulting in hair loss.
- It is critical to support your body and focus on self-care as you recover from stress-related hair loss.
- Getting enough sleep, using relaxation techniques, exercising, and eating well are all excellent ways to aid your recovery.
- Hairline Thinning Caused by Excessive Hairstyling
- If you notice top-of-head hair thinning that is primarily concentrated near your hairline, this could be a sign of traction alopecia, or friction-induced hair loss.
- Tight hairstyles, vigorous hair brushing, and hair extensions are all factors that can lead to traction alopecia.
- Extensive, ongoing damage can result in dead hair follicles, but if detected early enough, this type of hair loss is completely reversible.
- Avoid over-brushing your hair and wearing tight up dos like ponytails and buns to combat this type of hair loss. Instead, choose low, loose hairstyles that relieve tension on the front and sides of your head.
- Increased Hair Shedding Following Childbirth
We adore the glowing skin and thick, healthy hair that so many of us have while pregnant! But we don’t like it when we lose a lot of our beautiful hair after giving birth.