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Hair Loss or Shedding? How To Tell The Difference

We all lose a certain number of hairs every day as the hair goes through its normal cycle. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see some hair on the brush or in the shower after washing your hair. However, it may not be so easy to tell the difference between “normal” shedding and the onset of hair loss. In this article, you will learn the sometimes subtle differences between shedding and hair loss. If you’re unsure whether what you’re experiencing is hair loss or shedding, give yourself peace of mind by seeking professional advice.

What Is Hair Shedding And Is It Normal?

On average people lose 50 to 100 hairs daily. If you wake up and you find hairs on the pillow in the morning, or you pick hair off your brush, this is normal. If you start noticing significantly more hair coming off your brush, then you may be suffering from excessive shedding. Excessive shedding is known medically as Telogen Effluvium.

Stress is the most common cause of excessive shedding. People who suffer any one of the following stressors may experience excessive shedding:

  • Rapid weight loss of 20 pounds or more
  • Childbirth
  • Surgical operation
  • Stopping birth control pills
  • Emotional or physical stress (grief, divorce, caring for a loved one who is sick)
  • Recovery from illness with fever

Excessive hair shedding does commonly not happen at the time of the stressor, but often a few months later. As an example, new mothers typically experience hair shedding about two months after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss usually peaks at four months and is an everyday and temporary occurrence. As the hormones rebalance, excessive shedding stops and the hair regains its fullness within nine months.

Hair shedding will stop when the stressor goes away but should it stay with you, then you will keep losing hair. Long term excessive shedding is common in people who are always under a lot of stress.

How Hair Loss Differs From Hair Shedding

Anagen effluvium is the medical term for hair loss, and it occurs when hair entirely stops growing. There are different causes of hair loss, and they differ from the stressors that lead to excessive shedding. The significant difference between hair shedding and hair loss is that in the latter, the hair will not grow back until you address the cause. In many cases, if the cause is not treated hair loss may become permanent.

The common causes of hair loss include hereditary conditions such as male pattern baldness, immune systems overreactions, side effects of drugs and treatments like chemotherapy, and hairstyles or harsh hair chemicals.

Another notable way hair loss differs from shedding is the nature of the hair loss. If you start to notice patches, balding spots on your scalp, noticeably thinner hair and a receding hairline, these are all classic symptoms of hair loss.

Can I Do Anything To Stop Excessive Shedding?

Shedding is a natural process, while excessive shedding is the body’s response to physical or emotional stress. The best you can do is to have an awareness of what is ‘normal’ shedding to you. This awareness will allow you to pick up on excessive shedding sooner rather than later so that you can take action and see a specialist.

Seeking Help For Excessive Shedding And Hair Loss

If you are experiencing excessive shedding for longer than six months, then you should seek the advice of a trichologist or dermatologist. The specialists will help you determine the cause of the shedding by taking your medical history and examining your scalp.

It is possible to have hair loss and excessive shedding at the same time, but only a trichologist will be able to tell you what’s going on. Effective treatments are available to help treat forms of hair loss.

The Good News And Key Takeaway

The good news is that excessive shedding will reverse once you deal with the stressor that caused it. You should expect to see your hair thickening once again as normal hair growth resumes. Even if it’s hair loss you’re suffering from, you shouldn’t be afraid or feel alone. Vinci Hair Clinic offers a range of treatments for hair loss. The Specialists will recommend the best possible course of treatment following a diagnosis of the cause of hair loss. Book a consultation today to start your journey to healthier hair and get hair loss under control.