This is a tricky one.
Hair Shedding vs. Breakage? How do I tell them apart?
Both cause us to lose some hair, but they aren't entirely the same. While one is a natural phenomena, the other is caused by damage. So before you conclude on the hair strands you lost when brushing your hair, it's important to differentiate between and know how to stop hair breakage and shedding.
What is Hair Shedding?
Shedding some hair is completely normal. In fact, it is a sign of hair regrowth because when new hair comes through the scalp, your old dead hairs are pushed out. It's part of your hair cycle, and we know you're probably frightened at the amount of hair you lost when you brushed your hair (we've been there too) or the amount of hair that clogged the drainage after your washday, but don't be terrified because unlike hair breakage, hair lost from shedding grows back.
Why Is My Hair Shedding?
The number of hairs you shed in a day vary due to several factors. It may be because of;
- Hormonal Changes (especially in women) because of menstruation, pregnancy, child birth or menopause.
- Over processing e.g., using harmful chemical dyes that require bleach
- Stress- your hair is affected by an increase in stress levels. All parts of your body use energy to grow including your hair. Just that the hair is not top in priority, this is why your hair can be affected by stress.
- Lack of Nutrients (like vitamin B, D , Zinc and healthy fats)
- Genetics (mostly in men)
Note; Until the source of your excessive hair shedding is resolved, you might continue to shed.
How Much Shedding is Normal?
Gently pull your hair as you run your hands through it. If 5-8 strands fall, then that's normal, but if you notice 15-20 fallen hairs, you should check your daily habits and activities.
Losing around 50-100 hair strands a day is normal. It may seem like a lot, but compared to the 150,000 (if not more) strands on your head, you're only losing 0.001% of it. There are certain cases where you may shed a little more than usual. This is excessive shedding or telogen effluvium- which just means that a bunch of hair on your head has stopped growing and fallen off at the same time. Don't be alarmed, just like normal shedding, it is totally reversible!
In the pieces of hair you’ve shed, if you notice broken dry strands or teeny tiny pieces of thin hair. Then that may be hair breakage.
What is Hair Breakage?
Breakage is our hair's cry for help. This just means some parts of your hair ( majorly your hair ends) are damaged and dry. Just imagine a dried up tree, it eventually breaks and falls off. This is the same for our hair. When we put our hair under harsh conditions like perming, chemical dyes and heat conditions, it restructures our hair bonds to make them weak and more vulnerable to damage.
How do I know if my hair is damaged?
- Damaged hair is usually frizzy, even when you wet it or apply conditioner
- Look closely at the ends of your hair, if you notice your hair strands tapering or splitting, then it's definitely damaged.
- It is not elastic, it has no bounce.
- It has no luster or shine. It's dull
- It feels brittle, like it's about to break and dry
- It usually tangles easily
- It is dry and coarse to touch
They always say that in every tunnel, there is an opening. With the right haircare habits, breakage can be fixed and shedding can be reduced.
How to Stop My Hair From Breaking?
The best way to combat breakage is to strike from the source (damaged hair) and trim off those damaged ends. If you leave your split ends untrimmed, they may continue to split up to the roots of your hair strands. Using creams specialized for split ends will only fill in the gaps to make it appear pleasant,!but after a wash - it'll only go back to being split. It may be hard to give up hair length,but we guarantee you that after trimming your damaged ends, your hair will be extremely healthy and ready to be maintained with these tips.
Avoid Chemical Hair Dyes
Instead of using chemical hair dyes use safer alternatives like Curlfit hair makeup. They contain no harmful ingredients and don't require you to bleach your hair for it to work, so your hair is 100% safe.
Dryness is your hair's enemy. Introducing moisture into your hair strands is very necessary to prevent it. Using conditioners twice a week and leave-in conditioners as well as essential oils, will ensure your hair strands are always moisturized.
Putting your hair in protective hairstyles like twists and braids are perfect to prevent tangling and maintain moisture in your strands. This is very important especially for kinky curly hair. Their tight curls make oil produced from the scalp harder to extend the full length of the hair shaft. This makes it naturally prone to dryness. Using silk bonnets and pillowcase to sleep will also help in preventing damage by providing the hair a soft and smooth surface to rub against ?
How do I Stop my Hair from Shedding?
1. Eat a Balanced Diet
Food rich in vitamins D, B and Zinc like meat, seafood and vegetables are perfect to curb excessive shedding. Also foods packed with healthy fats like eggs or avocado.
2. Avoid Tight Hairstyles
Pulling your hair back too tight into a bun can strain your hair follicles, especially the delicate hair strands around your hairline. Looser hairstyles are better and give your hair space to breathe.
3. Enough Sleep
Your body and mind need at least seven to eight hours of sleep to regenerate. Melatonin, the hormone in charge of sleep, has been proven to promote hair growth and relieve you of stress.
4. Scalp Massages
Using essential oils to massage your scalp thrice a week aids blood circulation through your hair follicles and quickens hair growth so you can replace those hairs you’ve shed.
Although shedding and breakage make you lose hair, they both have their differences. The Hair you Shed are full fallen strands of hair that regenerate, while the ones that break are broken pieces of brittle hair that don’t grow back. Good habits and conscious maintenance of our hair will prevent excessive hair shedding and hair damage that may in turn lead to breakage. In the long run, it will make your hair extremely happy!