Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair? The Reality of Hair Shedding and Hair Loss

As someone with long hair myself, I’m much too familiar with the hair shedding struggle. Few days go by when I’m not stuck vacuuming fallen strands off my bedroom floor or picking hair out of my shower drain, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder whether I really should be losing this much hair at such a young age. After some research, I’ve been reassured that losing hair is normal at any age. In fact, we lose on average about 80 strands per day, and the rate of loss can be affected by a variety of internal and external factors.

Let me just start by differentiating hair loss from hair shedding. Hair loss occurs when something is preventing hair from growing. Hair shedding, on the other hand, is when hair that has already grown falls out, and excessive hair shedding is called “telogen effluvium”.

Hair shedding can increase after extreme weight loss, giving birth, or experiencing major stress. Don’t immediately freak out if you notice you’re losing more hair than usual though. Telogen effluvium is almost always a short-lived result of sudden internal imbalances, and once your body readjusts to the new circumstances, your hair will likely start to grow back. That being said, if you experience excessive shedding for more than three months, it may be due to an underlying problem, and you should contact your doctor.

Hair loss is often a result of genetics and age (oh, the nastiest combination!). As you get older, the hair growth process slows. This means that the growth phase of each hair gradually becomes slower while the resting phase becomes longer, and as a result, both men and women alike face hair loss. You can also be genetically predisposed to earlier balding or hair thinning.

There is, unfortunately, not much that can be done to entirely curb genetic and age-related hair loss, but by increasing your protein and complex carbohydrates intake, taking vitamin supplements, and reducing factors like stress that may poorly affect your hair, you can improve your hair’s overall health.

Written by: Prishni Seyone

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