Why Your Hair Might Be Shedding (and 6 Ways to Fix It)

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Written by Sophie Mara

Updated: March 16, 2024

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image via @agequencher

Whether this is the first time you’ve experienced hair shedding or you’ve dealt with it before, we can all agree that losing more hair than usual is something we want to put a stop to quickly. There are many reasons why you might be noticing a difference in hair fall from a change in weather to a deficiency in certain vitamins, or simply a change in your routine.

Together, we’re going to look at why hair shedding happens in the first place, how much shedding is normal, and what you can do to combat hair fall when it happens. 

What Is Natural Hair Shedding?

Ever heard that we have all new hair on our heads every seven years that pass? That’s kind of true. To understand exactly when and why we lose hair in the first place, we’re listing the stages our hair goes through from when a new hair sprouts to when it eventually falls out.

There are four key phases.

1. Anagen: The Growth Phase

This stage is the longest and is all about growth. It’s the period of time between when a new hair forms and sprouts from the follicles on your scalp and when it reaches its longest length.

For most, this stage lasts between three and five years, however, some will find their hair continues growing for up to seven years. Roughly 90% of your hair will be in some stage of this phase at any one time.

2. Catagen: The Regression Phase

    This phase accounts for just 5% of the hairs on your head and really doesn’t last all that long. In the span of roughly ten days, hairs in the catagen phase will begin to separate from the bottom of the hair follicle as it shrinks and the hair growth stops.

    The hair remains in place during this time and then moves into the Telogen phase when growth has completely stopped. 

    3. Telogen: The Resting Phase

    Lasting about three months and with roughly 15% of the hairs on your head in this phase at one time, the telogen stage of your hair’s growth cycle is all about rest and regrowth.

    While the hairs that have stopped growing rest where they are, new hairs begin to develop inside the follicles. That brings us to the final stage and the one we want to understand most!

    4. Exogen: The Shedding Phase

    This fourth and final stage is where we shed our old hair. The hair that has finished growing, separated from the follicle, and needs to make way for those brand new strands.

    It’s during this phase that washing, brushing, and styling your hair can increase the amount of shedding you see as the vigorousness of the movement against your scalp speeds up the process. 

    How Much Hair Shedding Is Normal?

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    image via @philip_kingsley

    Believe it or not, the average person loses between 50 and 150 hairs every day. This is completely normal and part of your hair’s natural growth cycle in the Exogen phase.

    With that in mind, it’s worth noting that some of us simply never realized this before. One day you start paying attention, counting the hair you lose, and it can quickly add up and seem alarming. Try not to get into this cycle and remember, as long as the amount you lose is roughly within the 50-150 region, it’s most likely your hair and scalp are totally healthy.

    Now for our top tips on how you can help your scalp stop shedding an unnatural amount of hair. It’s also important to point out that while these things won’t directly cause hair to shed all by themselves, they can be responsible for speeding up how quickly the hair sheds during phases three and four.

    So, if you’re experiencing things like, hair shedding in patches or your parting becoming wider, this could be a sign of hair loss rather than natural shedding.

    1. Eat A Balanced Diet

    One of the many things we forget to consider when a balanced diet goes out the window is how it might affect our hair. That’s usually because whilst you may notice changes in your weight, how your skin looks, or how you feel in terms of energy levels, your hair usually takes a little longer to let you know something’s up. 

    To combat hair shedding, make sure you’re giving your body all it needs to grow new hairs and replenish a healthy-looking mane. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Foods like chicken and fish, are a great and lean source of protein, whilst nuts and avocado give a great boost of healthy fats.

    Make an effort also to include plenty of leafy green vegetables and fruits high in vitamins. Oranges, for example, are a great and tasty way to pack your diet with vitamin C. 

    2. Take A Supplement For Hair Growth

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    image via @regrowz

    Sometimes, no matter how much we try to include all the vitamins we need in our diets, we end up accidentally skipping the ones that give our hair what it needs to flourish.

    If you think that’s the case with your diet, or you simply want to boost what you’re already putting in, try investing in a hair supplement to give the follicles a healthy advantage. Ingredients to look out for include biotin, zinc, and Omega 3, and vitamins A through E. 

    3. Avoid Putting Your Hair In Super Tight Styles

    Once the hairs on your head enter their resting phase, we want to give them a grace period before they make way for the newly growing hairs and fall out on their own. Therefore, super-tight hairstyles that pull on your locks and then get secured with too-tight hair bands are best avoided.

    They can put undue stress on your scalp and end up forcing out the hairs which would usually last a few more weeks. This can be a reason why you’re noticing more shedding than usual. 

    4. Be Gentle On Hair Wash Day

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    image via @hanrituals

    Are you guilty of scrubbing your hair in the shower to get a more thorough clean? This will only serve to irritate your scalp, dry out your hair, and may even cause more hair fall. This happens when you stretch and pull at the strands in the resting phase and cause them to loosen from the follicle too early.

    Instead, gently massage your hair and scalp with a gentle shampoo formula for a soothing yet thorough cleanse. This can unblock hair follicles and allow new hair to grow. It also increases blood flow to the scalp, in turn promoting healthy growth from the root. 

    5. Brush Your Hair From Tip To Root

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    image via @beauts.be

    An oldie but a goodie, brushing your hair from the bottom and working your way up is the only way to go. Much like those tight hairstyles we talked about, stressing out your hair near the roots can cause unwanted hair fall by loosening the strands from the follicles. And, we’re willing to bet you’ve gone in way too hard with the brush more than once before and noticed how much extra hair there was in your brush afterward.

    Take a couple of extra minutes and work your brush gently through your hair. It’s much kinder and also a way less painful way to detangle your locks.  

    6. Trust Your Own Judgement

    All of these tips aside, you know your hair behaves better than anybody. If you go from losing 50 hairs a day to suddenly losing 150 or more and know that’s not usual for you, there could be other things to consider.

    Has the shedding been excessive, going on for three months or more, or is the suspected result of a stressful event? It’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional if so.

    They can ask you about your hair history, examine your scalp and hair follicles, and help you discover what the cause may be. They can also recommend useful treatment plans to combat any underlying issues that have been medically known to cause excessive shedding.

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