March 15, 2023

Understanding Hair Loss vs Hair Shedding: Navigating Your Hair Health


Noticing a lot more hairs on your pillow or in your hairbrush can be quite disturbing, but a few extra hairs in the shower drain is not always cause for concern. Not all fallen hair is the result of hair loss. It could be normal hair shedding or a self-limiting condition. Let’s look at the difference between hair shedding and hair loss as well as some hair loss remedies so that you can better understand what is happening to you and what you can do about it.
Hair Shedding
Your hair follicles regularly cycle through phases of active growth, rest, and shedding. After the cycle is complete the growth cycle begins again to replace the hair that was shed. On average, it is normal to lose between 50-100 hairs each day as a part of your natural hair growth cycle. However, there are times in life when you may experience excessive hair shedding, usually after some major life event. 
This excessive hair shedding, also known as telogen effluvium, usually stops on its own without any treatment. Some of the stressors that can trigger an episode of telogen effluvium may include significant weight loss of 20 pounds or more, giving birth, an extremely high fever, having surgery, stopping birth control pills, medication side effects, experiencing extreme stress such as the serious illness or death of a loved one, a divorce, or a job loss. The hair shedding typically begins a few months after the stressful event and your mane will usually regain its normal fullness within about six to nine months. But if the stressor that triggered the hair loss is not resolved the hair shedding can continue until it is resolved. The good news is that as distressing as this type of hair shedding may be, it is normal and temporary.
You can help to prevent excessive hair shedding by working to reduce your stress levels wherever possible. Eat a well-balanced diet and stay well-hydrated to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your hair growing. And discuss your medications with your doctor to determine if side effects could contribute to the extra hair on your pillow.
Hair Loss
Hair loss occurs when your hair follicles stop cycling through the growth cycle due to trauma or damage to the hair follicle. As a result, the shed hairs are not replaced and your hair starts getting thinner. Some of the most common causes of hair loss are heredity, immune system disorder, certain drugs, and medical treatments, tight hairstyles that place tension on your hair follicles, harsh hair products, and compulsive hair pulling. 
Hair loss will not stop until or unless the cause is found and remedied, which is not always possible. One example is when people go through chemo and radiation treatments they often suffer hair loss. When their treatments are complete their hair usually regrows. Those dealing with male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness can undergo hair loss treatments to stop the damage to their hair follicles and help regrow their hair.
Hair loss can’t always be prevented, but sometimes it can depending on the cause.  Avoid wearing tight hairstyles that put a strain on your hair follicles. Limit harsh chemical processing to keep your hair and your follicles healthy. Discuss your medications and medical treatments with your doctor and ask about ways to minimize the impact on your hair. And if you suffer from trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), seek treatment for your condition before you do permanent damage to your hair follicles. 
If you are suffering from androgenic alopecia, certain topical treatments such as  HRI Hair Therapy Topical Advanced 5% Minoxidil with DHT Blockers or 90-Day Hair Loss Prevention Kit may help to stop and even reverse your hair loss, if used in the beginning stages. Complete Hair Loss Vitamins can help fight DHT to help stop hair loss and provide supportive nutrients to encourage healthy regrowth. Plasma-rich platelet therapy that uses your own platelets to stimulate hair growth or laser hair loss treatments that stimulate your hair follicles with light energy can often help in place of or alongside topical treatments. For more advanced hair loss it might be time to consider hair transplant surgery or hair replacement.
So while hair loss and hair shedding may initially sound like two terms for the same thing, they are not the same at all. Excessive hair shedding usually goes away on its own, but hair loss will only continue to get worse until you do something about it. The sooner you seek treatment the better the outcome will be so don’t put it off.
If you are at all concerned about the amount of hair you have falling out, please don’t suffer in silence. You don’t have to learn to live with your thinning hair. Contact the caring hair loss professionals at the Hair Restoration Institute for help. 
We specialize in diagnosing and treating hair loss and will be able to evaluate your hair, scalp, and symptoms to determine whether you are experiencing normal, temporary hair shedding, or if you’re suffering from hair loss that requires treatment. Call at 612-588-HAIR (4247) to schedule your discreet and complimentary consultation. You can find us at 8030 Old Cedar Ave S Ste 202 in Bloomington, MN.