How to tell the difference between hair loss vs hair shedding?

Are you worried about how much hair you’re losing? Losing a few strands every day is not a cause for concern and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it's normal to shed between 50-100 hair strands a day. But losing more hair than normal could be a sign of hair loss. Unlike hair shedding, hair loss is alarming and needs medical attention. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on hair loss vs hair shedding to help you differentiate between the two.

What is hair shedding?

Hair shedding is a normal part of the hair cycle. Each person has around 100,000 hair follicles on our head. Based on the growth cycle of the hair follicles, an average person loses approximately 100 hair strands every day. This is a healthy loss and doesn’t point towards any alarming issues. Sometimes, factors like stress can cause excessive hair shedding. In this case, you shed more than 100 strands per day.

What causes excessive hair shedding?
Here are three factors that contribute to the process of hair shedding:

  • Stress: stress is one of the major factors responsible for excessive hair shedding. Excess stress increases the amount of androgen in your body. This can turn your hair grey and make strands fall out. 
  • Age: if you are nearing menopause, you might experience excessive hair shedding. This is because of the hormonal changes in the body. As you age, your hair becomes thinner and hence more susceptible to shedding.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: hormonal imbalance disrupts your hair growth cycle and causes excessive hair shedding. An increase in androgen in your body makes your hair cycle shorter and hence more shedding occurs. 

What is hair loss?

Unlike hair shedding, which is a normal function of the body, hair loss occurs mainly because of external factors. Hair loss occurs when something prevents your hair from growing. The medical term for this is anagen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is the abrupt loss of hairs that are in their growing phase (anagen) due to an event that impairs the mitotic or metabolic activity of the hair follicle. While hair loss is reversible, hair regrowth can take around 1-3 months. In extreme cases, it can even lead to permanent alopecia. 

What causes hair loss?
Many external factors can lead to hair loss:
  • Nutritional imbalance: oftentimes, a poor diet is responsible for nutritional imbalance. Deficiency of essential nutrients like vitamins B3, vitamin D, iron, proteins and fats can lead to severe hair loss. Maintain a healthy diet by eating fresh fruit and vegetables every day. You should also add nuts and seeds to your diet to boost hair growth. Avoid over processed and unhealthy food.
  • Heredity: some people can experience hereditary hair loss. If you can’t find any visible reason for your hair loss, your genetic composition might be responsible.
  • Reaction to certain drugs or treatments: some drugs can disrupt your hair growth cycle and prevent hair from growing. Treatments like chemotherapy can also cause hair loss. 
  • Over styling with heat: excessive exposure to heat can dehydrate your hair. The heat can also alter the internal protein structure of hair and cause breakage. To prevent this, minimize heat styling and use heat protectant products. 

Hair loss vs hair shedding, how to tell the difference?

If you are shedding more than the average 100 strands or if you notice hair thinning, you might be experiencing hair loss. It’s often hard to differentiate hair loss vs hair shedding, but if you spot more hair strands on your pillow or comb, consult your dermatologist. Remember, a certified dermatologist is the best option to differentiate hair loss vs hair shedding. 

How to maintain healthy hair

  • Take supplements: the deficiency of various nutrients in your body can cause hair fall. Consult your dermatologist to identify the deficient nutrients and take supplements accordingly. Taking a multivitamin and biotin daily to boost your hair health.
  • Nourish your scalp: for good hair health, you must keep your scalp nourished and hydrated. Our ‘Back To Your Roots’ hair mask is a great product to nourish your hair from root to tip. With potent ingredients like coconut oil, reetha and turmeric, it delivers a super dose of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants to your hair follicles and promotes healthy hair growth.