Natural Haircare: Shedding Vs. Breakage

Noticing more hair in your comb or sink? Here’s what could be causing it.

If you’ve been noticing hair on your counter, in your comb, or in your shower, you might have hair loss concerns. After all – no one is exactly thrilled about the prospect of hair loss. A head of thick hair is a beauty standard across cultures; full hair is synonymous with health, youth, and vigor. So, seeing what seems like a little too much hair left over in a brush or comb might set off alarm bells.

Also, is this breakage or shedding? One might be solvable with a new series of haircare practices, while the other will need more serious intervention.

Firstly, what is shedding?

SHEDDING
The telogen phase of hair growth is marked by shedding of the hair (also commonly known as the resting phase). This is a perfectly normal process wherein approximately 100 hairs are released daily, so minimal manipulation will trigger hair shedding. Though 100 hairs per day isn’t much of a loss, if your styling routine doesn’t involve daily brushing or combing (if you detangle your natural hair in the shower once per week, for example), then the volume of shed hair you notice will seem startling. However, it’s just the accumulation that makes the amount seem large.

Hair that was shed during the telogen phase will have a bulb at the root. This is a sign that the hair loss was due to the natural cycle.

However, not all shedding is due to the telogen cycle. If you’re noticing thin or bald patches throughout your head, this is an indication of hair loss. This might be due to illness, stress, aggressive hairstyling, or pattern hair loss. If you’re experiencing hair loss that is leaving patchiness or overall thinness, seek medical attention from a dermatologist who specializes in hair loss to determine the root cause.

BREAKAGE
Hair breakage is another form of hair loss that causes concern. Hair breakage occurs when cracks and fractures in the hair shaft become so severe that it causes the length of the hair to split and break off. Although there are certain rare physical conditions that can cause hair to become brittle and prone to breakage, the overwhelming majority of people who suffer from hair breakage experience it due to over-manipulation or over-processing the hair. The causes might be:

  • Blow-drying
  • Flat ironing
  • Relaxers
  • Color processing
  • Harsh brushing or combing

Hair is also more susceptible to breakage when it isn’t maintained properly. If you don’t cleanse and moisturize your hair regularly, the hair shafts will become brittle, fragile, and less able to recover from harsh styling practices.

The hallmarks of breakage are the frizzy, brittle-appearing ends of the hair, and hair that is thick near the roots but becomes slightly transparent and thin along the length. Breakage won’t result in bald patches, but in severe cases it can lead to significant unevenness and lack of length retention. Consistent breakage can, however, give the impression that the hair isn’t growing, so it can impair confidence, too.

Addressing this form of hair loss might only involve reconsidering styling practices, but it might also be a good idea to see a physician and check if there are any underlying medical conditions that are causing severe hair brittleness. However, if you relax, color, flat iron, or blow-dry your hair regularly, then those practices may be contributing to the fragile condition of your hair, so switching to gentler techniques might help you correct the breakage.

If you’re experiencing either hair loss or breakage, the specialists at AK Hair & Healing can help you craft a customized plan designed to address your unique issues effectively and quickly. To learn more about our comprehensive list of hair treatments and services, please visit our home page.

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