Have you ever seen hair come out on your comb and thought, “Uh oh! Is that normal?”
If so, you’re not alone. The human head is supposed to shed some hair, but when does hair shed become hair loss? That’s what we’ll tackle in this blog. Keep reading if you’re towing that line.
What is Hair Shedding?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, it’s normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day. That often sounds like a lot to people but remember that the average human head has around 100,000 hairs (though this number can vary by the individual).
With that, if a body sheds significantly more hair each day, then the person has excessive hair shedding. Telogen effluvium is the medical term for this condition.
Hair shedding is common in those who have one of the following stressors:
- Given birth
- Lost 20 or more pounds
- Experiencing lots of stress (i.e., going through a divorce, losing a job, caring for a loved one who is sick)
- Had a high fever
- Undergone an operation
- Recovering from an illness
- Stopped taking birth-control pills
How Does Hair Loss Differ from Hair Shedding?
The core difference between hair loss and hair shedding comes down to whether your hair stops growing. When your hair stops growing entirely, that is when hair loss occurs. Anagen effluvium is the medical term for this condition.
Here are the most common causes of hair loss:
- Heredity hair loss
- Immune system overreacts
- Some drugs and treatments
- Hairstyles that pull on the hair
- Harsh hair care products
- Compulsion to pull out one’s hair
If you’re experiencing hair loss, then your hair will not grow until the cause itself stops. For example, if you undergo chemotherapy or radiation then the hair often regrows when treatment ceases. Certain medications can also cause hair loss. If this is the case, talk with your doctor and discuss whether to stop taking the drug.
The best way to find out if you have hair loss or hair shedding is to visit a dermatologist. They can help you diagnose and address the issue if you’re concerned about the amount of hair falling out.
How to Help Hair Shed at Home
Some people know exactly why they have a problem. They don’t necessarily need to visit the doctor to address postpartum or stress-related hair shed, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t disconcerting when they’re at home doing their regular haircare routine.
For that reason, we suggest following some steps to control hair shed at home. Some hair shed is natural, but it isn’t good in excess. Here’s what can help.
• Find the right shampoo and conditioner
Finding the right shampoo and conditioner is probably one of the most important steps. Hair shed can be exacerbated when you don’t understand your scalp type and are therefore washing it with the wrong type of shampoo and conditioner.
For example, if you’re consistently washing a dry scalp more than you should be, then it can lead to hair shed. Likewise, if your scalp is generally oily and you’re allowing the product to sit on it, then it can lead to the same issue. At the end of the day, you have to learn what’s best for your hair and scalp.
Generally speaking, you can steer clear of any products not loaded with chemicals, including sulfate, paraben, and silicone. These will make your locks brittle and prone to breakage.
Check out these shampoos and conditioners that’ll work wonders for your natural hair.
- Green Apple and Aloe Nutrition Shampoo
- Clean-N-Curly Hydrating Shampoo
- Total Body Black Earth Shampoo
- Thick and Full Bamboo and Coconut Milk Moisturizing Mint Shampoo
- Refresh and So Clean Bamboo Avocado and Peppermint Dry Gel Shampoo
- Enhancing Herbal Conditioner
- Green Apple & Aloe Nutrition After Shampoo Conditioner
• Get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy diet
Sometimes hair shed can be related to how you’re nourishing your body. You should strive to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Yoga and meditation are also effective ways to prevent your hair from falling out. Here are some foods that might help the problem. Try to make these staples in your diet.
- Fatty fish with essential acids, including omega-3s and vitamin D
- Ex: Tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring
- Eggs which provide protein, biotin, selenium, and zinc
- Leafy greens that are full of vitamin A, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C
- Ex: kale, spinach, collards
- Fruit that is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants
- Ex: Berries, cherries, apricots, grapes, oranges
- Nuts and seeds which include vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids
- Ex: Walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds
• Skip chemical and heat treatments
Hair treatments that include chemicals or heat can damage your hair and cause hair shed. Avoid any rigorous treatment on your natural hair such as straightening, perming, and coloring. Additionally, evening blow dryers and curling rods (especially when used on wet hair) can cause your hair to become brittle.
If you need to use a blow dryer occasionally, we recommend using it on the lowest heat setting. You should also use a fortifying leave-in conditioner.
• Oil your hair
Do you take the time to oil your hair and massage your scalp? This can help you to improve blood circulation and nourish the roots. Once you’ve applied the oil, cover your head with a shower cap and wash it off with a mild shampoo after two hours.
• Avoid too many styling products
Styling products can be incredibly useful day-to-day but having too many chemical-laden products on your hair could be harmful long-term. Take a step back and evaluate what you’re using. Is it gentle enough on your hair?
• Consider a follicle therapy treatment
Hair follicle products are formulated with nutrients to boost hair growth, improve scalp circulation, promote follicle stimulation, reduce scalp inflammation, strengthen hair roots, and assist with new hair growth. Taliah Waajid now offers a new scalp care follicle therapy growth treatment and scalp care follicle therapy treatment masque that can be a great option if you’re struggling with hair loss or breakage.
How Can Hair Styling Eventually Cause Hair Loss?
Styling your hair in a certain way can cause it to look brittle, frizzy, and lackluster. Unfortunately, this doesn’t deter most people from picking up hot tools to style their hair every once in a while. Yet, if you do it enough, it can cause damage that prompts your hair to fall out entirely. Here are a few tips that can help you avoid this.
- Don’t use heat to dry your hair. Either wrap it in a towel after washing or let it air-dry. If you struggle with this, try to partially air dry your hair before styling and decrease the number of times per week that you blow-dry it.
- Handle wet hair as little as possible because it’s most prone to breaking when wet. However, you should be sure to brush your natural hair when wet (preferably in the shower with conditioner) to decrease the chance of breakage.
- Brush your hair minimally. If you stroke your hair three times a day with a brush, it can cause split ends.
- Reduce the use of “long-lasting hold” styling products. People often make the mistake of using a comb after styling which can lead to breakage or hair loss over time.
- Give your hair a break from protective styles. Even if you’re intending to protect your hair, always having protective styles in your hair can cause breakage or pull on certain parts of the scalp. Having consistent tension can cause permanent hair loss to develop.
What Natural Remedies Can Help with Hair Shed?
Some people swear by the natural remedies that may help prevent hair shed. Here are some ideas if you’re seeing hair all over your bathroom floor.
1. Egg mask
Eggs are not only great to eat for healthy hair, but they’re also awesome as a hair mask. Here’s how you can use it. Separate one egg white in a bowl and add a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of honey. Beat to make a paste and apply it all over from root to tips. Let it sit for 20 minutes and rinse with a mild shampoo.
2. Coconut milk
The protein and essential fats in coconut milk promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. To prepare the milk for use, grate a medium-sized coconut and simmer it in a pan for five minutes. Strain and cool then add one tablespoon of crushed black pepper and one tablespoon of fenugreek seed to the milk. Apply the milk to your hair and scalp. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then rinse with shampoo.
3. Green tea
As tea is rich in antioxidants, it can help to boost hair growth and prevent hair loss. See what this does for your scalp by soaking 2-3 teabags in 1-2 cups of hot water. You can determine how much is necessary depending on the length of your hair. When it cools, pour this over your scalp and hair while gently massaging your hair. Rinse with cool water after an hour.
4. Greek yogurt and honey
To use this method, mix 2 tablespoons of yogurt with 1 tablespoon of honey and lemon in a bowl. Using a dye brush, apply this paste to the scalp and roots. Leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Apply this paste once a week.
4. Aloe vera
Aloe is considered an effective home remedy for hair loss, and it might even boost hair growth. If you’re experiencing lots of scalp issues like itching and flaking, then using aloe can help address these problems. To use aloe, take the stalk of aloe vera and extra the pulp. Apply it to your hair and scalp and leave it for about 35 minutes. Rinse with normal water. If you do this 3-4 times a week, you should begin to see results.
Both hair shed and hair loss can be startling for people to see. When you brush or comb your hair and it comes out in chunks, it makes sense that you’d be alarmed. Using some of the tips above can help you navigate hair shed and keep your tresses healthy. Read here about A Simple Natural Hair Regimen for Beginners (to Promote Growth).
Finally, if you’re seeing excessive hair shed or even hair loss, don’t hesitate to see a doctor!
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