Hair shedding, Everyone sheds hair and it’s completely normal to lose around 100 strands a day. Hair washing, brushing, combing and styling all account for the loss of a few hairs and, as with so many animals, we also tend to shed more hair at certain times of the year.
Perhaps surprisingly, we tend to shed more hair as winter approaches, and scientists now believe that the extra growth during the summer months is to protect our scalps from UV radiation.
Why is my hair shedding?
There are times in life when we can expect to shed more hair than usual. Women often experience a noticeable amount of hair loss a couple of months after giving birth, which is directly related to hormonal activity.
Stress also plays a part, and people who are undergoing severe stress at work, or experiencing a traumatic life event, such as divorce, can expect to see more hair than usual on their brushes, combs, and in the plughole.
Many people report hair loss following an illness, particularly after suffering a fever, which causes the body temperature to temporarily disrupt the hair’s life cycle. Losing significant amounts of weight is another reported factor in temporary hair loss, as is an over-reliance on heated styling appliances and excessive hair colouring.
Some trichologists believe that the current trend to use dry shampoo also contributes to the problem of hair shedding.
Many drugs can interrupt the hair’s normal life cycle. A single hair goes through a growing phase, and then moves into a resting phase, before being shed and replaced by new growth.
Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, beta-blockers and anti-depressants disrupt the cycle and push hair follicles into the resting phase more quickly than usual. If this is the case, then it’s worth discussing your medication with your GP, who can perhaps lower your dose or switch you to another medicine.
What should I do about hair shedding?
It usually takes around two to three months for hair shedding to become apparent, so if you notice that you are suddenly losing more hair than normal, it’s worth exploring whether something in the recent past could be responsible.
Most cases of hair shedding resolve themselves within a few months without any need for treatment, so there’s no need to panic that the condition is irreversible.
You should seek professional advice if you experience noticeable hair shedding which continues for more than four weeks.
If your hairdresser comments on your hair loss or you notice a bald patch, then it’s important to ascertain the cause and consider whether you should undertake some treatment for the condition.
Hair shedding is not usually a cause for concern in the long-term, even though the short-term effects can be distressing. It is caused by a temporary disruption to the hair follicle and, in the fullness of time, hair regrows and all is well.
Permanent hair loss is a different issue altogether, as the hair follicle ceases to produce any more hair, and in this case, intervention is required to restore the hair to its former glory.