WHAT IS SHEDDING?
Shedding is a natural part of our hair’s growth cycle. At any given time, about 85% of our hair strands are in their growth phase. Out of the remaining 15%, some hairs remain on the scalp and others shed as each day goes by. The shed hairs are full strands with a white bulb attached to one end, showing that it detached directly from your follicle. Fallen hair strands that are shorter without the white bulb are broken hairs. This is known as breakage, and breakage is something that should be prevented if you are actively trying to grow longer hair. If you are interested, I have an older blog post going into more detail about causes of breakage and how to prevent it.
WHAT IS NORMAL SHEDDING?
It is normal for us to shed about 50-100 hairs per day. Don’t worry about those YouTubers who never seem to shed any hair when doing hair tutorials, no matter how hard you squint to find one. They are unicorns. The amount of hair that you lose each day will fluctuate throughout the year, because shedding is influenced by many internal and external factors. For instance, many women say that they shed more in the summer. Mental stress, hormonal medication, pregnancy, weight loss, illness, menopause and an improper diet can all increase shedding. Excessive shedding is a normal response to the latter scenarios. It is likely to end within a few weeks or a few months, depending on the intensity of your stress or illness.
SHEDDING VS. HAIR LOSS
Shedding is when old hairs are shed to make room for new hair to grow. Hair loss is when large amounts of hair are loss without any new hair growth to follow. Hair loss can be genetic, or caused by other factors such as:
1. Weak immune system
3. Tight hair styles, which cause tension that leads to traction alopecia
4. Harsh chemical processes (ex. relaxers)
HOW TO DECREASE SHEDDING
Though shedding is a natural process, it is understandable why one would want to lose as little hair as possible. The more hair you keep on your head, the thicker your hair appears. And who doesn’t love thick, luscious hair? Here are a few recommendations to try out on your mission to decrease shedding:
1. Check to see if your shampoo has sulfates. If it does, get rid of it and replace it with a sulfate free shampoo! Sulfates are known irritants that dry out your scalp. The increase in scalp friction and lack of lubrication only worsens shedding. I recommend Terrene Fusions Clarifying Shampoo as one sulfate free replacement. It contains essential oils and horsetail extract, which help stimulate blood circulation to your scalp and transport nutrients to your follicles to help decrease shedding.
2. Start doing scalp massages. Using oils with regenerative properties will penetrate the your hair's cortex and help repair damaged hair follicles, which decreases shedding. I recommend my Nourishing Hair and Body Oil. It contains regenerative oils and growth stimulating oils, such as lavender essential oil, avocado oil, castor oil, coconut oil and rosemary oil.
3. Eat more garlic. Garlic has many nutrients that prevent hair loss, such as sulfur, zinc, copper and various B vitamins. Sulfur is crucial for healthy hair, skin and nails. One of the most common signs of a sulfur deficiency is excessive shedding. The combination of scalp massages and increased garlic intake helps send these hair loss-fighting nutrients to your follicles. If you’re not a fan of adding large amounts of garlic to your meals, you can still reap the benefits by taking garlic capsules. They can be found in many popular health stores all over the United States.
4. In addition to adding more garlic, you may want to revamp your diet in general. If your body isn’t getting enough vitamins for its normal functions, there definitely won’t be any nourishment left over for your hair. Vitamin deficiencies can easily be fixed to reduce shedding. Do so by eating more of these foods:
-Spinach: it is full of iron; iron deficiencies are is one of the biggest causes of hair loss that can be easily treated.
-Magnesium rich foods, such as fish, encourage new hair growth.
-Eggs are full of protein, B vitamins and sulfur, all of which are great for decreasing shedding
-Increase your protein intake. Hair is made of protein, so a protein deficiency is the last thing you want when trying to keep hair on your head. It’s best to eat good protein that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or chia seeds.
Know anyone that is trying to grow longer hair? Feel free to share this with them!
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