Most of the hair-bearing population of the world can remember at least one (or many!) occasion of peering down into the shower drain and extracting a horrifyingly large clump of hair, matted and tangled together.
“Do I really lose THIS much hair? That can’t be healthy” we think to ourselves, remembering when just a week ago when we cleaned a similar hair clump out of the very same drain.
Truth of the matter is- it is healthy!
The exact number of strands varies for each person, but it is completely normal for hair to be shed at a rate ranging anywhere from fifty to one hundred strands each day.
While it is stress-inducing to see the hair strands you leave behind during washing, brushing or drying your hair- it is a natural part of hair’s growth cycle.
Hair Shedding Factors
Let’s take a look at why exactly we shed hair and what it really means.
The following are typical factors that can affect and influence why we shed hair throughout the day.
If you think you might be experiencing more hair loss than normal, check out the tips at the bottom of this article!
Stress can cause temporary hair loss, along with a number of other more noticeable symptoms like trouble breathing, low energy, headaches.
It is common to notice an influx in loose strands when going through a traumatic experience, surgery, stressful testing period at school, or even a large physical change, like weight loss.
Like many physical traits, hair pattern and hair-loss patterns are passed down along generations. You can thank your parents for your thick, luscious locks (or lack thereof!).
There are a few times during your daily life where your hormones will fluctuate- such as during your menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy, or after giving birth.
During these periods, hair loss can be common as your body reacts to the different hormone levels present. Some conditions that affect hormone levels (like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Hyper/Hypo Thyroidism) will also directly affect your hair’s growth pattern and loss.
Many medications come with a pamphlet of side effects- and hair loss can be a part of those for many.
Common medications that are known to cause hair loss include beta-blockers, antidepressants, birth control, and chemotherapy.
Our bodies need a certain amount of vitamins and minerals to keep functioning properly.
If our natural diet doesn’t contain the right amount of these essential vitamins and minerals, our body could react with an increased hair loss rate.
Certain illnesses can cause your body to shed more hair than normal, such as lupus, diabetes, autoimmune issues (like celiac disease) and eating disorders.
We cause our hair stress daily by heat styling, brushing, braiding, etc. Certain methods of styling cause the hair unneeded stress and can damage the follicle, causing permanent hair loss and re-growth issues.
Some culprits of this are daily tight or high ponytails, tight braids and wet-hair updos (pulls on strands when they are at their most fragile state- wet).
Now that we’ve gone over why hair loss can occur, let’s dive further into what we can do to prevent and minimize unneeded hair shedding.
Eat more good stuff!
Our bodies need nourishment and protein to function at their highest capacity. To ensure that your body isn’t lacking in nutrients, make sure that your daily diet includes the appropriate amount of protein for your age, height and weight!
Protein is essential for hair growth. Leafy greens and veggies also have been shown to have a positive impact on hair loss and skin vitality.
Take Your Vitamins
A diet that has a good source of iron, copper, zinc and Vitamin C/B12 & D3 can greatly affect your hair growth cycle and promote the growth of healthy, strong strands.
Some vitamins marketed for hair and skin health will contain all of these vitamins and nutrients in one daily pill- so do some research at your local pharmacy and stock up!
Make Sure to Practice Self-Care
As mentioned above, stress can really wreak havoc on your body.
Be sure to practice a regular self-care routine (think, face masks, yoga, positive affirmations – there are so many options!) to keep your mind balanced and stress-free.
Your hair and overall health will thank you for making yourself a priority!
Treat Your Scalp Right!
Smooth and nourished locks start off with a healthy scalp. Make sure you are using shampoo and conditioner that is effectively nourishing your scalp.
If you notice any dandruff or inflammation- try a shampoo that has zinc or is marketed toward dandruff control and deep cleaning.
Hair that grows from a healthy scalp is much less likely to shed or break at a high rate.
Practice Protective Styles!
A few weeks ago, we wrote an article on the * best * protective styles, that will cause the least amount of tension-induced damage to your strands.
These styles include wigs, bungs, twists, and more! To check out our full-length article on protective styles and get the whole scoop click here!
Invest in a good quality silk pillowcase. Cotton pillowcases are a bit rougher, and can tug and pull at your hair while you move in your sleep.
Silk pillowcases are much smoother, and reduce the likelihood of breakage and shedding while you rest.
Brushing wet hair causes breakage due to the intense friction pulling at your fragile strands.
Trade your brush for a wide-toothed comb, and take small sections to ensure that your hair is staying where it belongs- on your scalp!
Turn Down the Heat!
Using a blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron or any high-heat tool causes stress to your hair. Most heat styling tools operate at over 400 degrees Fahrenheit- more heat than is used to cook a turkey!
In addition to damaging the ends and causing split-ends and breakage, heat use can also damage the cuticle of the hair.
This ultimately effects the density and re-growth pattern of your hair, and over time can result in a dramatic uptick in hair loss and shedding.
On days when you decide to style, consider swapping your blow dryer and flat iron for a low heat alternative such as the RevAir Reverse Air Dryer, which operates at around 150 degrees Fahrenheit and eliminates the need for a brush’s harsh tension.
Use a Leave-In!
Some days, you just want to curl your hair and look cute!
On occasion, that is totally okay- as long as you use the right products prior to exposing your hair to damaging heat.
Never straighten or curl hair before it is completely dry, and use a hair primer/protectant or leave-in conditioner before styling wet hair with any heat tool.
The Bottom Line
Hair loss is natural! Even the healthiest of scalps can shed up to 150 strands a day without any cause for alarm due to things like genetic factors, life stages and diet.
If you think you might be losing more than normal, make a few small tweaks to your routine! Get in some extra protein, research multi-vitamins, and style your hair in ways that reduce stress, heat and tension.
Our goal with these blogs is to help share some knowledge and preserve your gorgeous hair- we hope you are loving them as much as we love writing them!
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We love to chat and give you all the tips and tricks you need for great hair.