Hair shedding is actually a natural process of the hair growth cycle. Nonetheless, there’s a point when shedding, particularly when excessive, may be pointing to an underlying hair condition which needs addressing and this article will explain when to relax and when to sit up and pay attention.
Hair remains in the growth phase for between four to seven years, this means over this period our hair is consistently growing. Each follicle on the head will be at a different stage of the cycle, for example, some will be growing, some resting and the remaining being shed. With this in mind, it means that on a daily basis, we’ll be shedding the hairs that have come to the end of their hair growth cycle.
Did you know? A person can shed between 50-150 hairs per day. Whilst that seems like a lot, it’s only a small percentage of our overall hair. We have about 150,000 hairs on our heads. Shed hairs are not always entirely noticeable because they’re lost through the grooming process (washing and brushing/combing) or running our fingers through the hair.
To illustrate, if you washed your hair twice a week and only brushed it once a day, you may feel that you notice shed hair more because it’s an accumulation of a few days’-worth of hair. On the other hand, if you wash every day and brush your hair several times a day, then it may be less noticeable to you, as you’re removing the hairs more regularly.
The times when you should take heed are when you begin to see excessive amounts being shed, for example, large amounts of hair in your brush/comb. There’s hair everywhere, all of the time – you find hair on your clothes, pillowcase, down the sink plug hole and on the floor. You feel that every time you touch your hair, it’s coming out.
It could also be that you notice a reduction in density – your ponytail may be thinner, you’re wrapping your hairband around four times rather than three; you may even be able to see more scalp.
One thing to add is that breakage can masquerade as shedding. If you regularly blow-dry, straighten or colour (especially bleaching), you could be weakening your hairs cuticle and this can eventually lead to breakage.
So, before you panic about your shedding, consider:
- Whether the level of shedding is normal – is this the amount of hair I’ve always lost?
- Do I have healthy haircare practices? Is there anything I can do to make sure my hair is in optimum condition?
Once you’ve asked yourself those questions and you still believe that your shedding is excessive, then you should book an appointment with an expert such as a Dermatologist or Trichologist to find out the underlying cause of the shedding.