Do you comb your hair out sometimes and get seriously shocked by how much hair shed your experience? I mean, like serious anxiety-inducing hair shedding, especially when you take painstaking measures to keep your hair healthy.
Take a deep breath, you are not alone, it’s a problem a lot of naturalistas like you face, so all is not lost. In fact, you most probably have nothing to worry about.
Let me explain; first, you should understand that it is normal for you to shed hair, in fact, under normal circumstances, you can shed up to 100 strands of hair a day and when you consider the 100,000+ hair follicles on your scalp, that should not bother you. You see, shedding is part of the life cycle of a hair strand, it grows to a particular length, and then it falls out when it is ready and then new hair replaces it.
Table of Contents
- 1. Hair Shedding
- 2. Hair Breakage
- Reasons Your Natural Hair Sheds
According to Healthline, the hair life cycle is divided into the Anagen phase where hair strands are growing, the Catagen phase where your hair stops growing, and the Telogen phase where your hair is ready to fall out.
When you don’t manipulate or comb your natural hair for a long time, say because you had your hair in a protective hairstyle that sat for 4-8 weeks, you should know that the shedding would naturally be more from the accumulation of dead hair, because no matter what is going on with the world, the hair would shed.
Many people misconstrue hair shedding to mean hair breakage, but nope, they are not the same at all.
1. Hair Shedding
This is a natural and normal thing that happens when a hair strand has reached the end of its life cycle, which is generally about 4-6 years.
Shed hair is generally longer in length and has a white root bulb or base of the hair strand. Shedding should not bother you except it increases suddenly, is tied to an underlying health condition, or accompanied by a host of other issues.
2. Hair Breakage
This is when your hair gets so brittle and weak because of dryness, heat damage, over manipulation, product buildup, usage of inappropriate tools, and impatient detangling that it starts to break off. Broken hair is not as long as shed hair and it doesn’t have the white bulb root attached to its base.
A lot of people with natural hair are guilty of these, so remember that natural hair can’t deal with too much friction and handling, so tone down the frequent combing and styling and put those curls and coils in a protective style.
Next time you comb your hair, take the Bulb Test to confirm whether your hair is, in fact, shedding or breaking:
- Take a strand of your hair from your comb
- Look at the end of each strand.
- Identify a visible white bulb; if it’s there, your hair is shedding, if not and appears to be shorter than your hair, then your hair is breaking.
Or do a Pull Test where you gently run your fingers through a small patch of dry hair and then tug at the ends. Only about 10 strands per 100 should come out if you’re experiencing normal hair shedding.
Reasons Your Natural Hair Sheds
1. High Stress Levels
Did anyone watch the Amazon Prime series, The Boys? There was a scene where this administrative assistant became overwhelmed with work and getting everyone to work and not getting caught up in some spoilt superhero’s tantrum and before she knew it, her hair was falling out.
In. Chunks! If that is you, please, take it easy, remember every part of your body feels it when you are immensely stressed out and you don’t want your beautiful curls suffering.
You might be experiencing excessive shedding because you have a poor diet; a healthy body is more likely to have healthy hair. Being mindful of what you eat means eating healthy food, a balanced diet, drinking a lot of water, exercising regularly, and generally living a healthy life.
What you eat influences your hair growth, that is why experts recommend eating a lot of proteins, drinking adequate water, etc. I suggest you include veggies, fruit, fish, and lean meat in your diet.
3. Weight loss
Sudden weight loss affects how much hair shedding your experience, if the weight loss is not as a result of underlying health conditions, but rather a lifestyle change, your body would regulate the hair shedding after a little while.
4. Heat styling and harsh chemicals
Tight ponytails are notorious for placing stress on the hair follicles -a lot of natural hair people have taken to this particular hairstyle, but heat styling and harsh products cause a lot of damage to the hair follicles over time.
If you have noticed increased hair shedding, you should probably cut back on the straightening, blow-drying, coloring – especially those of you who die your hair to the roots, so much that you dye your scalps, the harsh shampoos, etc.
You should check hair products for harsh ingredients like parabens, sodium chloride, sulfates, formaldehyde, dimethicone, etc, and buy products with more natural ingredients.
5. Recovering from an illness and medication
Sometimes, certain illnesses and the medications used to fight them may affect and weaken hair follicles which can cause hair to shed excessively.
6. Hormonal fluctuations
Ovulation, menstruation, menopause, and birth control pills are the leading causes of hormonal imbalances. All these factors can make your hormones go all over the place and this irregularity can affect how much of your hair sheds.
7. Pregnancy and Post-Partum shedding
Pregnant people or people who just had babies are likely to have increased hair shedding for several months before their normal hormone levels return.
8. High Fever
Illnesses with high fever as a major symptom are usually susceptible to excessive hair shedding.
9. Scalp Health
When your scalp is healthy, hair follicles will hold on to the hair strands. Dandruff is the commonest menace to scalp health and using dandruff shampoos and ingredients will help fix it quickly.
10. Underlying health issues
Lupus, thyroid conditions, etc. are known to cause hair loss.
Hair shedding is healthy and cannot be prevented, but when your hair shedding starts to bother you, see a dermatologist for help.