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Why Is My Hair Falling Out? Hair Shedding Explained

15th March 2017 Hair and Scalp

Everybody’s hair goes through a cycle. In fact, each hair follicle spends time producing a growing hair (the anagen phase), and then switches for a while into the inactive phase when the hair is made ready for shedding (the telogen phase). If we look at all the hair on someone’s head, at any one time about 90% of the hairs are growing and 10% are ready to shed.

Every day we shed about 50-100 hairs, quite normally. However sometimes the hairs can go into the same phase of the cycle, meaning that many of the hair follicles enter the telogen phase at the same time.

When this happens, increased and sometimes dramatic hair shedding can occur, called telogen effluvium, where the hair loosens, sheds and thins significantly.

Hair shedding is often triggered by an event, such as:

  • Pregnancy and giving birth
  • Medication (such as isotretinoin-Roaccutane for acne)
  • Low iron levels (more common in vegetarians)
  • Dramatic sudden weight loss
  • Significant illness (e.g. glandular fever)
  • Stopping oral contraceptive pills
  • Thyroid problems

A dermatologist should be able to identify telogen effluvium through talking to you, examination and investigations, including blood tests and sometimes a scalp biopsy, where a circle of skin about 4mm in diameter is taken from the scalp to look at the follicles under the microscope.

If telogen effluvium is confirmed it is usually reassuring news. Hair loss is likely to completely recover, although it may take up to a year for the this to happen.

What can you do to improve the appearance of thinned hair?

  • Use volumising shampoos, which contain ingredients such as protein that add body and lift
  • Use shampoos formulated for fine hair
  • Avoid combined shampoo/ conditioners or intensive conditioners which can make hair quite heavy and flat
  • Use conditioners mainly on the ends of your hair and avoid application close to the scalp, which will tend to weigh hair down
  • Ask your hairdresser’s advice about trying a new haircut—some styles will make your hair look fuller
eBook Download: Do I Have Severe Hair Loss? Top Five Causes Of Hair Loss Explained

eBook Download: Do I Have Severe Hair Loss? Top Five Causes Of Hair Loss Explained

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