Is My Hair Loss Temporary or Permanent?
If you have been noticing some hair on your pillows in the morning, some hair in the drain of your shower, or even some in your comb after brushing, you may be concerned that you have entered the first stage of hair loss.
But in reality, you could just be shedding more hairs than you normally would. Yes, there is a difference between hair loss and hair shedding, and yes, it is completely normal for one to experience this. According to dermatologists, the average person will shed between 50 to 100 hairs per day, as these hair follicles have become loose or disconnected from the scalp.
In fact, there are about 100,000 hair follicles, or more, on each person’s scalp, so the loss of 50 to 100 hairs a day does not make a large difference to one’s appearance. The amount of hair one loses can vary with age and external stresses.
However, the body can significantly lose more hairs than the average daily amount, which means you may be a person with excessive hair shedding. There is a term for this medical condition that goes by telogen effluvium, but to make it simple, we will just refer to it as excessive hair shedding.
Difference between hair loss and hair shedding?
Hair loss occurs when the hair of an individual has stopped growing completely. Other than stress, which is a factor of both health concerns, the causes of hair loss differ from hair shedding. The reasons for hair loss include hereditary hair loss, immune system deficiencies, iron deficiency, or excessive heat styling.
If you have noticed bald patches on your head with thin hair, bald spots, or pattern baldness, you are more than likely experiencing hair loss rather than excessive hair shedding. There can many different types and reasons for hair loss.
With excessive hair shedding, though it may be concerning, just know that it is most likely just temporary, as the hair follicles will eventually regain its strength. Many people notice this excessive shedding of hair a few months after a stressful event. Some stressors that have been linked to this health concern such as;
- Significant weight loss or weight gain – usually 20 lbs or more
- Experiencing high amounts of stress and depression
- Undergone any operation or procedures that involved radiation
- Recovering from an intense illness
However, for most people within 6 to 9 months prior to the stressful event, the body will readjust and the hair will tend to regain its normal and previous state.
Hair Growth Cycle
Anagen is the initial period in which the hair grows approximately 1cm per month. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow. This growth phase lasts for 3-7 years. About 85 percent of our hair is in this phase.
Catagen is a transitional phase that lasts about 2 weeks. In this phase, the hair shrinks and detaches itself from the follicle.
The telogen phase is the dormant period. The follicles remain in the resting phase for one to four months. 10 to 15 percent of our hair is in this phase of growth at any given time.
There are different types of hair loss. Anagen effluvium refers to hair shedding that arises during the anagen or growth stage of the hair cycle. This is in contrast to telogen effluvium or hair shedding that arises during the telogen or resting stage of the hair cycle.
We can help
Male pattern hair loss is one of the most common conditions in men. It is estimated that about 50% of men will experience baldness by the age of 50. A healthcare professional can walk you through all the treatments and its side effects to help you make informed choices.
Talk to our medical practitioners about your concerns. They can help find the best treatment that works for you to retain the hair growth cycle.
There are medications available today that can help retain healthy hair. The sooner you seek help, the better the chance to treat the concern. Hair loss treatments take about 3 to 6 months to show positive results. It takes patience and commitment to a treatment plan but with good medical advice, one can combat hair loss effectively.