We’ve all been there. You wash your hair, especially on day two or three after your last shampoo, and you notice with horror what seems like hundreds of hairs swirling around your drain. Where did all this hair come from and how can you stop it? It looks like so much hair that you wonder if the fallout will be noticeable. Hair loss is natural and we normally lose an average of 100-150 hairs per day. You can spend months in a silent panic with an impending sense of doom but stop the downward spiral and get the facts.
First of all, the good part about women’s hair loss is that, unlike men, who often lose hair as part of an advancing battle with baldness, your thinning rarely will mean the total end of ponytails and up-dos. There are plenty of reasons you might be shedding. To get to the root of the problem (pun intended), you should first understand how hair growth works. There are four stages in the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen. For three to five years, your strands grow from the follicle. At the end of that period, those hair follicles spend a week shrinking in size. After that, your follicle gets a chance for some much-needed rest. That leads to shedding.
In other words, if you have excessive hair loss, something has interrupted the process of your natural hair growth cycle. Experts refer to this shedding as telogen effluvium, and it is especially prevalent one to six months after a major lifestyle change. Lifestyle change in this case can mean anything from pregnancy, menopause, illness or surgery, sudden weight loss or weight gain, or even a trauma like grief or divorce.
So as you examine your hair loss, start by considering your stress levels. Has something unusual been happening that could be sending your hormones into a tizzy, like a breakup or a major life event. If not, consider possible side effects of the medications you take — including birth control. Recent illness can have taken its toll too.
One major hair loss factor that you should consider is diet. If you’ve been trying a new diet with too few calories, or have suddenly switched to a diet with too little protein, B vitamins or iron, the chances are good that your body is having trouble holding onto healthy strands. In fact, as an extreme example, hair loss is a common side effect of eating disorders. One doctor estimates that more than 70% of hair loss cases can be attributed to iron deficiency.
If your hair loss is due to vitamin or mineral deficiency, there are solutions. Eat a balanced diet or try Viviscal Professional. Viviscal has a marine complex, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Niacin (B3), Zinc, Vitamin C and, yes, Iron. Two tablets a day promote thicker hair and less shedding in as little as three months.
Another key step you can take now is to treat your locks with a little TLC. That means skipping the blow-dryer and flat-iron (and other high heat tools) once in a while, and minimizing harsh chemicals such as dyes and keratin treatments.
Hair extensions can also be a no-no because they can be so damaging to your existing hair, adding to the vicious circle (the more you use them, the more you feel you need them to boost the look of your hair). Deep condition your hair at least once a week too, and always brush hair in small strokes from ends to roots. Try a thickening shampoo too. Your oh-so-scary hair loss could be a distant memory in no time.