What causes hair shedding?
Right now, there could be a couple of things at play because everyone’s experience and everyone’s hair is different. Below are a few of the main reasons for extra hair shedding during this time:
Stress can unfortunately affect hair shedding and given the current times, could be an explanation for any extra hair shedding. Cortisol (the stress hormone) makes the hair that is already grown move into the telogen part of the hair cycle quicker. The telogen phase is the resting phase of the hair follicle. Anything that disrupts the hair growth cycle, such as stress, can cause more hairs to enter into this phase. When the body is subjected to extreme stress, as much as 70 percent of hair can prematurely enter the telogen phase and begin to fall, causing a noticeable hairshedding. Some stress sufferers can also develop habits with their hair such as playing with it too much or pulling on it absentmindedly. This is called trichotillomania and unfortunately will remove or weaken the hair as well.
2. Changes in haircare routine
The second thing that could be causing the hair shedding is the changes in your haircare routine. Many people are in lock down or working predominantly at home and thus are likely washing and styling their hair differently (or not at all). So, you could seemingly be shedding more hair because you’re washing or brushing it less often – this is called cumulative hair shedding. What it means is that the hair has become trapped together and then when you wash the hairs are released, particularly if you’re using a conditioner or treatment which make the hair slinky and less tangled. It isn’t necessarily that more hair is shedding, it is just that it appears to be - all that accumulated hairis coming out when you hit the shower. The same thing can happen when blow drying hair less
3. The products you use
Many people don’t realise that over time the build-up of products, residue and sebum can clog our hair follicles, which can lead to hair thinning and shedding. This happens because hair follicles typically have two or more hairs growing from them, but if they become clogged, this can result in less hairs being able to grow through. Healthy hair should always start with the scalp, so invest in a scalp scrub that will work hard to lift away impurities and remove product build-up which can keep your hair follicles clear. Grow’s Stimulating Scalp Scrub is a great option to deeply exfoliate the scalp, removing product build up, dead skin cells, and any residue like air pollution which also has the potential to cause hair loss. The best bit about Grow’s Scalp Scrub is that it doesn’t require shampoo afterwards, making it any easy step to add to your haircare routine.
4. Changes in diet and lifestyle
Have you started eating differently or taken up smoking during lockdown? These things can affect your hair. A great example of this is a diet intake that has too little protein. This can not only damage healthy hair, but also inhibit your body's ability to build new hair follicles. Take notice of anything you may have changed during lockdown as this can definitely have an effect on your hair. Lifestyle, environmental factors and your haircare routine can have a huge effect on the hair, resulting dull, brittle and damaged hair if you don’t get these things right. Things like sun, chlorine, smoke and pollution all can have the potential to damage because particulate matter (tiny bits of soot, dust, and other residue) can settle on the hair and scalp, which can cause irritation and damage. The solution? Try to avoid them when you can! While that might be easier said than done, your hair will definitely thank you for it!
What can we be doing about extra shedding?
This all depends on the cause of the hair shedding. If it is stress, then telling you to ‘stress less’ is easier said than done and absolutely not my expertise, a mental health professional can help with implementing coping mechanisms. If you think it has to do with changes in your lifestyle or haircare routine, these things can be adjusted to try and maximise your hair health.
You can also adjust your hairstyle to try and give the illusion of fuller hair or cover up any areas that look on the thinner side. Unfortunately getting a new cut right now is difficult for anyone in lockdown, however you can use this time to work out the style you want. Look for a hair style that focusses on texture, such as a blunt cut or shorter layers. These kinds of hairstyles can create the illusion of fullness and volume in the hair. If you have long hair, consider changing it up and adding in some textured bits or layers. Many people mistakenly think that a longer style is better for covering up hair loss or hair thinning, however what it usually does instead is makes the disparity more apparent.
Try to help your hair along the way by investing in some products that will help to nourish the hairand eliminate excessive hair shedding. A great addition to any haircare routine is to apply a hairtreatment at least once or twice a week (ideally something that will protect your hair too). Hairmasks can provide a potent and intense conditioning treatment that will not only nourish your hair, but prevent damage and breakage caused by environmental stress, chemical treatments or over styling. We love Grow’s Anti-Breakage Hair Mask which is an innovative formula featuring a rich concentration of amino acids and key actives, allowing the mask to penetrate deep into the hairshaft to nourish, protect and rehydrate hair. Unlike silicone-based hair masks that only temporarily coat the hair, Grow’s Anti-Breakage Hair Mask is a long-lasting solution that intuitively keeps your hair shiny, healthy and damage free.
If hair shedding seems more like hair loss and continues for longer than three months, it could be an indication of an ongoing problem. For this, it is best to approach an expert in that field, such as a trichologist.