Hair shedding is a natural part of the hair growth process. It is common to shed about 50 to 100 strands a day, depending on your hair care and washing routines, so hair shedding shouldn’t always be a cause of worry. The problem comes when you start to notice more hair than usual on your brush or pillow.
But before you get too anxious, you need to have the correct information about your hair growth physiology. This article explains the differences between hair loss and hair shedding. While they may have similar causes, hair shedding and hair loss are two different problems.
Understanding Your Hair Growth Structure
Your hair may seem like a simple structure, but it serves several different functions. First and foremost, it provides the scalp with protection. For most people, however, hair is also an expression of their character and personality, something with which they make a lasting impression on others. Understanding how your hair grows will enable you to obtain healthier and fuller hair that expresses who you are as a person.
What Are Hair Follicles?
The hair follicle is made up of two structures, a bulb and papilla, which are located underneath the scalp. The bulb is found at the base of every strand. It contains active cells which help grow hairs around the papilla. The papilla is responsible for providing blood supply to the hair follicle to promote growth.
A healthy scalp has approximately 100,000 hair follicles, which is why it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs each day.
What You Need To Know About The Hair Growth Cycle
The hair growth cycle can be broken down into three phases. These are as follows:
- Anagen (growth period) – Roughly 85-90% of the hair on your head is in the anagen phase at any given time. This phase is where the cells in the bulb divide to create new hair, which can grow anywhere between 18 to 30 inches long. The hair may spend several years in this phase, depending on one’s maximum hair length.
- Catagen (transitional period) – This period is generally short and may last for only 2 to 3 weeks. Hair growth slows and eventually stops while the hair follicle shrinks. The blood supply from the hair will be cut, creating club hair. Somewhere around 1-3% of your hair is normally in the catagen phase.
- Telogen (resting period) – When the hair enters the final stage, club hairs will rest in the root while new growth will develop beneath it. This period often lasts for about 3 months and accounts for about 5-10% of your hair.
The resting clubs will eventually fall out, allowing new hairs to come through the follicles. It is a natural process. Because hair follicles are independent, meaning they go through the cycle at different times, you shed 50 to 100 single hairs each day rather than groups or patches of hair.
Hair Shedding Versus Hair Fall
If you’re experiencing a noticeable loss of hair, it could be natural hair shedding or hair loss. It’s common to think that these hair issues are the same, but each is a different phenomenon.
You experience shedding during the natural hair growth cycle. Your hair is still growing, but you notice a significant hair fall out daily. If you are shedding more hair than usual, however, you might be dealing with telogen effluvium, a medical term for excessive hair shedding.
Telogen effluvium is only temporary. It occurs when an increased proportion of your hair shifts from anagen to telogen phase. Typically, up to 10% of the hair is in the telogen phase at any given time. During telogen effluvium, this increases to 30% or more.
This condition usually resolves over several months without any treatment. Its average duration is about 3 to 6 months until the hair starts regrowing, but it may take longer for your hair volume to return to normal.
Hair loss occurs when the hair stops growing altogether. Different factors can trigger this, and unless specialists identify and treat the cause, the hair does not regrow. For instance, if your hair loss results from certain medications, your hair won’t regrow until you stop taking them.
Common causes of hair loss include harsh hair products, heredity, autoimmune conditions, chemotherapy or hormonal imbalances. There is also a link between vitamin and nutrient deficiencies and temporary hair loss. You need to determine the source of the problem so that your hair can grow back.
Whether you’re going through an expected period of hair shedding or dealing with hair loss, both can be unpleasant, stressful experiences. If you are concerned, speak with your doctor to determine what’s causing the problem.
Vinci Hair Clinic experts are also here to help. If you’re worried about hair loss, we have the skills and experience that you need. We offer a free consultation at which you can discuss all your hair care issues. Contact us by phone or email or use the contact form. Get in touch today and book your consultation!