Are you concerned about the amount of hair you’re losing? It’s natural to experience hair shedding on a daily basis, with an average of 50-100 strands being considered normal. However, when the hair shedding exceeds this range, it may be a cause for concern. After all, excessive hair shedding is a condition that may require medical attention, unlike regular hair shedding, which is a natural process.
As such, distinguishing between regular and excessive hair shedding is crucial. But how can you tell the difference to be better equipped to address your specific hair concerns and take appropriate measures to maintain healthy hair?
What is Hair Shedding?
Each hair follicle goes through a cycle consisting of three phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting). Hair shedding refers to the natural shedding of hair strands as part of this hair growth cycle.
During the anagen phase, approximately 90% of the hair on our scalp is actively growing. Subsequently, the hair follicles enter the catagen phase, where growth ceases. Finally, the follicles transition into the telogen phase, leading to hair shedding. This is the phase where the hair strands eventually fall out, making way for new growth.
What Causes Excessive Hair Shedding?
While hair shedding is a normal process, excessive hair shedding can be triggered by various factors.
One common cause of hair shedding is hormonal changes, particularly in women. We say women in particular because the hormonal fluctuations that occur after childbirth, during menopause, or due to certain medical conditions can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and impact the shedding patterns of the hair.
Excessive hair shedding can often also be an acute response to physical or emotional stress on the body. But this type of hair shedding is usually temporary and lasts for a relatively short period, and identifying the trigger for the shedding episode can help determine the underlying cause.
In addition, certain medications and factors, such as nutritional deficiencies, can also contribute to excessive hair shedding as a side effect. This is because these so-called stressors are capable of disrupting the normal functioning of hair follicles and affecting the growth cycle.
But how do you know if the hair shedding you are experiencing is a excessive?
What Are the Signs of Excessive Shedding?
As mentioned, hair shedding is a regular occurrence as part of the hair growth cycle. As a matter of fact, an individual has around 100,000 hair follicles on their scalp, with an estimated daily loss of approximately 100 strands. This level of shedding is considered within the normal range and does not typically indicate any cause for concern.
Excessive hair shedding, also known as Telogen Effluvium, only occurs when there is a significant increase in the amount of hair being shed, surpassing the daily average of 100 strands. This condition can be characterised by the noticeable loss of hair volume, excessive hair strands left on pillows, combs, or in the shower drain, and thinning of the hair overall.
What is Hair Loss?
Hair loss — be it hair loss in men or hair loss in women — refers to the condition characterised by the partial or complete loss of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows. It is characterised by the disruption of normal hair growth and shedding cycle or the destruction of hair follicles, resulting in the loss of hair. Hair loss can manifest in different forms, such as receding hairline or bald patches. Moreover, hair loss is only deemed to have occurred when the hair follicles are no longer able to produce new hair or when existing hair falls out faster than it can be replaced.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be temporary or permanent, and its causes can range from genetic factors and hormonal changes to medical conditions, medications, and environmental factors. For example, genetic predisposition and hormonal abnormalities, such as DHT sensitivity, can contribute to male and female pattern hair loss. Medications, underlying medical conditions like hypothyroidism, and nutritional imbalances can also lead to hair loss. Additionally, reactions to certain drugs or treatments and excessive heat styling can play a role too. This is because each of the aforementioned factors can disrupt the normal functioning of the hair follicles, leading to hair thinning over time.
How Do I Know if I Am Suffering From Hair Loss?
Identifying hair loss involves the analysis of various signs and symptoms. For example, the gradual thinning of hair, the development of bald spots or a receding hairline, a widening part, a thinner ponytail, or sudden and dramatic hair loss can all indicate the presence of hair loss. Therefore, it’s important to be attentive to changes in hair density and overall hair health.
However, it is also crucial to note that while these are indeed common indicators, hair loss can manifest differently for each individual.
How Can You Tell the Difference Between Hair Loss and Shedding?
Some distinguishing factors that might help you differentiate one from the other include:
1. Duration & Regrowth
Duration plays a significant role in distinguishing between hair shedding and hair loss. In general, excessive hair shedding is usually noticed a few months after a stressful event, but it is essential to understand that this shedding is temporary and normal. As the body readjusts, the excessive shedding will subside, and within a few months, the hair tends to regain its normal fullness.
On the other hand, when it comes to hair loss, unless the underlying cause is addressed and resolved, the hair will continue to thin out.
2. Other Signs and Symptoms
While noticeable hair loss itself is a common sign in both instances, some individuals may experience additional symptoms that might act as indicators that one is experiencing hair loss and not shedding. For instance, individuals with alopecia areata may experience a burning or stinging sensation before the sudden onset of hair loss. Scaly bald patches with sores or blisters that ooze pus, redness, and swelling are some of the other symptoms associated with underlying conditions and infections that can bring about hair loss.
Revitalise Your Hair at Our Hair Clinic in Singapore
If you’re struggling with hair loss or shedding and seeking hair growth treatment in Singapore, look no further than our hair loss clinic. At Sage Medical, our team of hair specialists can help guide you through the journey of you regaining hair health. Through personalised hair growth treatments, we seek to understand the underlying causes of your hair loss and provide advice on the right treatment options and ways to maintain a healthy scalp.
Contact our hair specialist clinic today and take the first step towards revitalising your hair.