Shedding is a natural and common part of the hair growth cycle. We all lose a little hair every day, but it’s usually replaced by new, healthier hair.
However, sometimes the shedding phase can be pretty worrying for women; particularly when you start to notice that you’re losing more than usual and the hair’s becoming thinner. So, what factors affect hair shedding in women and what could cause a sudden acceleration in hair loss and thinning?
Why does hair shed?
There are three stages in the hair growth cycle – growth (anagen), resting (catagen) and shedding (telogenic). Every single hair on your head will eventually fall out, but as the growth cycle is continuous, it will typically be replaced.
Each person has an average of 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on the scalp, so you can imagine some amount of daily shedding is to be expected.
Can certain factors trigger more shedding?
Absolutely! There are a lot of things that can cause women to shed more hair than usual. Over styling with heated appliances can place a lot of pressure onto the hair, leading to potential damage of the hair, making it easier to snap off. Similarly, tight-fitting hairstyles can also contribute to traction alopecia – where the hair follicle becomes damaged due to the strain it is placed under.
Pregnancy can also have a significant impact on the hair. Throughout the pregnancy, the hair stops shedding and more is pushed into the resting phase. So, you’ll notice when you’re pregnant the hair looks healthier than it ever has. After the birth however, the hormone changes push the hair back into the shedding phase, causing more hairs to fall out at the same time. This type of hair loss is referred to as post-partum hair loss and is extremely common. It is only temporary however.
Another thing that can affect how much you shed is how you brush the hair. When it’s wet, it is important to comb it through with a wide-tooth comb. This is because wet hair is typically 50% weaker so is more prone to breakage.
Overall, there are several factors which could affect how much women shed. Hormones, over styling and improper care can all cause you to shed more than usual. Being aware of these factors can help you to potentially avoid the affects, or at least find a temporary treatment until the excessive shedding stops. It’s always worth contacting a doctor too to determine there isn’t another underlying health issue causing the problem.