Is There a Difference Between Shedding and Losing Hair? 

Do you use the terms “hair shedding” and “hair loss” interchangeably? It might surprise you to learn that these terms actually describe two different conditions! What makes hair shedding different from hair loss? Everyone sheds hair from time to time. Losing somewhere from 50 to 100 hairs daily is normal. If a person is shedding more than that, however, it’s likely that there’s a reason for that. 

Why do you need to know the difference between hair loss and hair shedding? If you have a better understanding between these two conditions, you’ll understand what you can do to protect your own hair. 

How to Tell Hair Shedding from Hair Loss 

Hair specialists refer to shedding as “telogen effluvium.” While there are different types of hair loss, one of the most common types is “androgenetic alopecia.” Of course, names aren’t the only differences between these medical conditions. 

To truly understand how shedding and hair loss are different, you must look at where the life cycle of hair begins. 

The Start of the Hair Growth Cycle 

The hair growth process is cyclical. 

There are three phases within the hair follicle cycle. 

The Anagen phase describes when the follicle begins to grow from the dermal papilla (DP), which is the follicle root. The phase can span from four to seven years. It can be diagnosed clinically when it is possible to see new hairs growing from the scalp. 

The anagen phase is followed by the catagen phase. This is essentially the death phase of hair. During this phase, hair detaches from the DP. It’s a fixed regression stage that may involve cell to cell signaling. It spans around two weeks and can be appreciated by the way the regressing hair and the follicles around it fully separate from the DP. 

The third phase is the telogen phase. This is a resting phase for hair. The hair shaft separates from the hair follicle and stays dormant for between 4 to 6 months. When the follicle begins to grow again, it goes back to the anagen phase. 

There are many factors that can have an impact on this growth cycle, including hair care products, diet, and stress levels. The anagen phase naturally shortens as people become older, which causes hair to become thinner. 

What Causes Hair Shedding? 

Shedding is a natural component of the life cycle of hair. As mentioned previously, it’s perfectly normal to shed anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs each day. In the majority of cases, shedding is just temporary. If a person is shedding an unusual amount of hair, there are a number of potential causes. 

* Quickly losing a significant amount of wait 

* Vitamin deficiency 

* Hormonal shift caused by giving birth or discontinuing oral birth control 

* Systemic illness or high fevers 

* Surgery 

* Physical and emotional trauma 

High stress or anxiety levels can also lead to hair shedding and loss. That’s why you should seek out ways to keep your stress levels in check. If you’re able to effectively manage stress and anxiety, it’s likely that shedding will decrease as well.

You should also consider whether your hair care routine is contributing to your shedding. Anytime you wash, comb, or style your hair during the telogen phase, it can lead to shedding, even if you don’t use heat. You may need to adjust your routine in order to keep your hair from shedding.

Thankfully, in most cases, it’s possible to reverse hair shedding. After the condition has been diagnosed by a professional, patients can receive treatment and identify potential triggers. From there, hair will typically grow back within six months to one year.

What Is Hair Loss? 

Hair shedding is a natural part of the hair growth cycle. Hair loss, on the other hand, takes place when hair ceases to grow. Not everyone experiences hair loss. 

Normally, hair grows for four to seven years before moving into the resting phase. When a person experiences hair loss, the growth phase shrinks. This causes a condition referred to as “miniaturization,” which causes hair to become thinner over time. In addition to that, it can also take longer for new hair to grow, which means hair that has been shed may not be replaced. 

Genetic and androgenic alopecia are common sources of hair loss for men and women alike. For women, it’s typical for hair miniaturization to occur across the head. However, hairlines rarely receded. For men, hair is lost in a clearly defined pattern. Genetic hair loss is often referred to as male-pattern baldness. 

It’s likely that there are numerous environmental and genetic factors that influence hair loss. In many cases, there are multiple issues contributing to the loss of hair. Some of the more frequently seen causes of hair loss include: 

* Immune system reactions 

* Side effects of drugs or medications 

* Genetics 

Unlike hair shedding, hair loss typically is treated via surgical or medical means. Treatments can vary based on the root cause of the hair loss and the number of hair follicles can have been lost. This means that results may vary as well. For women that have experienced hair loss, medication is a common treatment. Men often require both medical and surgical treatments, such as a hair transplant, in order to see noticeable results. 

How Much Hair Loss Is Too Much? 

There are a number of elements that can lead to shedding and hair loss. If you’re struggling with one of these issues, and you haven’t been able to resolve the issue on your own, a physician that specializes in disorders involving the hair and scalp can help. 

Even if you don’t know if you’re dealing with shedding or hair loss, Neograft Hair Restoration Orange County can help. We’ll work with you to identify the cause of your issues and find a solution. 

To set up an appointment, just give us a call at (949) 644-3592 or send us an email at Hair shedding and hair loss can be difficult to deal with, but Neograft Hair Restoration Orange County can help you to have hair you feel happy with.