Tag Archives: hair shedding

Seven Reasons For Excessive Shedding or Breakage

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Hair sheds naturally each day. This occurs when a hair strand has reached the end of its growth cycle and falls out, making room for the new strand.  On average a person sheds up to 100 hair strands a day. Naturally shed hair usually has a white tip at top and will be near to full length. However, at times you may experience more shedding than usual for a number of different reasons. As you know your hair better than anyone, you can monitor the shedding of your hair and spot when it becomes excessive. Shed hair is usually evident after detangling, combing, or styling. At times the shedding may increase to an uncomfortable level. Seven reasons why excessive shedding may occur are as follows:

 

Protective styling

The benefits of protective styling are evident. However there is a way to do it safely to minimize damage to the hair. Weaves, braids and wigs should not be too tight and it is better to have a break in between protective styles so your hair is not constantly subject to tension. Excessive protective styling, done poorly can lead to traction alopecia,  Traction alopecia is more prevalent in black women than any other group. After taking out a protective style, you may find that you have a lot of shed hair. This is perfectly normal as shed hair is built up for as long as the style is kept in. Monitor the amount of shed hair that accumulates each time you take out a protective style. If this amount increases dramatically after a particular style, damage may have been caused.

Deep conditioning for too long

Deep conditioning is a vital part of our hair care regimen. However there seems to be a growing idea that the longer it is left in, the better. Some women choose to leave their deep conditioner in overnight. This is considered unnecessary by some  hair care experts. It is important to note that hair is more fragile when saturated in deep conditioner that is water based. While sleeping, a person is likely to move around a lot, turning their head numerous times. This may cause a lot of rubbing and hair strands may be tugged and pulled in the process, which may result in broken or weakened strands.  This may cause them to shed before their time or break off easily when styling the next day.

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Product ingredients

Glycerin is a humectant that absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. It is a great ingredient to create long lasting moisture for the hair. I like to use ‘glycerin heavy’ products when  putting my hair in a protective style, so the moisture can last a few days without having to reapply frequently. However sometimes I find that my hair becomes more fragile after this and this can result in excessive shedding.  After washing my hair and simply using water for moisture, along with oil for sealing, I experience much less shedding. Glycerin can weigh the hair down and keep feeling damp for longer periods of time, this may weaken the strands. The amount of glycerin used should be limited, as a little goes a long way. If too much is used, it may be better to wash your hair sooner, so it doesn’t  build up and become detrimental to the strength of your hair.

Protein/moisture balance

Too much emphasis on moisture may result in weaker hair strands, as the hair needs protein to rebuild and reinforce itself. However constantly using products that contain protein may cause excessive dryness. Hair that is too dry also becomes brittle. So the protein moisture balance is important for healthy hair. Substitute every forth deep conditioner for a protein treatment and avoid using products that are protein heavy unless necessary.  Alternatively, simply examine your hair regularly and decide if it is in need of protein at that time, instead of your usual deep conditioner.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body starts to lose more fluids than it takes in. Hair is one quarter water and water carries vital vitamins to the hair root. It hydrates the entire strand from the inside. Water is also the main source of energy for hair cells, including the ones that promote growth. It also clears the body of pollutants, which cause hair loss. Suffering from dehydration causes a shortage of a water supply to the hair. Water is then rationed to vital parts of the body, such as the brain and heart. This leads to excessive shedding and the roots will not be stimulated enough for new hair growth. So drinking plenty of water is crucial to the health of your hair. It is recommended that we drink six to eight glasses of water a day.

Medication

Hair loss may be a side effect of certain medications, so check the labels of your prescriptions. Some particular medications that may cause excessive shedding include blood thinners, antidepressants, and birth control pills. For birth control pills, the American Hair Loss Association recommends that all women interested in using oral contraceptives should only use low-androgen index birth control pills. If there is a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss in your family, they recommend the use of non-hormonal forms of birth control. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your medication.

Stress

There are different types of stress.  Telogen effluvium causes a large number of hair follicles to go into the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. The affected hair might fall out suddenly within a few months when simply combing or washing. Trichotillomania is when a person feels a sudden urge to pull their hair from the scalp to cope with  stress and anxiety.  Lastly, alopecia areata is one of the more serious forms of hair loss. This is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair loss. This can also be caused by stress. This can be reversed with better stress management techniques, exercise and reducing your caffeine intake may help for instance.

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Leyla of FushionofCultures has spoken about dealing with Trichotillomania

Dieting or poor nutrition

Crash dieting or failing to maintain a healthy diet, may have a negative effect on your hair. The hair is the last part of the body to receive nutrients, as major organs are prioritized. Hair needs the right vitamins and nutrients to be healthy. Two vitamin deficiencies that can particularly cause excessive shedding, or breakage, are vitamin A and iron.

Have you experienced excessive shedding or hair loss? If so, what  was the reason?

 

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Step Away From the Relaxer!

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So you did the big chop or you are transitioning. It may have been a few months since you stopped relaxing your hair. Perhaps your hair is growing to an awkward stage where it’s no longer a cute TWA (teeny weenie afro), neither is it long enough for the big puffs and twist outs that frame your face. You are probably experiencing the perils of shrinkage and all of this will be new to you.  When you think about it, the last time we saw our natural hair was when we were kids. So the fact is, having natural hair will be something that you have to get use to and the longer your hair gets, the more challenges you are likely to face.

TWA

At this stage when your hair is growing out it may be difficult to make it presentable at times, especially when you have very little time. When I was at the TWA stage I would simply spray my hair with my water and glycerine mix, it would curl up nicely and I would be ready to go. At most, I would put a little flower in my hair or a scarf around my head to jazz it up. I loved this stage! People would ask me if I texturized my hair because it had a distinct curl pattern and was very soft. This was the last thing I expected before I went natural. My last memory of my natural hair was trying to pull a comb through it and it being dry and coarse. However, as I soon came to discover, it was never my hair that was the problem, it was my lack of knowledge. My lack of knowledge in caring for my natural hair caused me to use products that were not designed for my hair type, comb my hair in the wrong way and left it without being adequately moisturized.

After going natural and facing the challenge of my new length, again it was my lack of knowledge that was the problem, not my hair.  At every stage you will learn new things about caring for your hair, and it continues to be a learning process. If you are at this stage, do some research before considering going back to a relaxer. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some tips about overcoming this difficult stage. These helped me continue on my natural hair journey, I hope they will aldo help you:

1.  Don’t forget about braids, wigs or weaves.  If you are at that awkward stage and find that you don’t have the time to deal with your hair, just put it away for a few weeks. I found that a good wig helped me tremendously. This way I was able to cornrow my hair underneath and not have to deal with it. Also, this gives you the opportunity to change your style if you are stuck for ideas. Braids are great as well and still give you that natural hair look.  For instance you can get kinky twists which look like you just put your natural hair into two strand twists. The important thing to remember with braids and weaves is to not get them done too tight and to remember that your real hair still needs to be moisturized. You can spray your roots with the product of your choice or simply with a water, oil or glycerine mixture.  Also, if you are using a lace-front with glue avoid sticking the cap to your hairline or your edges will be harmed.

Be mindful of the effect such styles can have on your edges, a good hairstylist shouldn’t only be concerned about how good the style looks, they should also make it their priority to protect your real hair from damage.  Remember that hair sheds between 50  and 100 strands a day, so when you you loosen your hair you will find an accumulation of shed hair. It is nothing to worry about if you have not been neglecting your real hair. Of course weaves and wigs are not for everyone. I will also include a section about protective styles using your own hair. These also give you a break from daily styling and manipulation.

Solange usually wears afro style wigs

Brandy

Here is a vlogger that wears wigs and weaves regularly as a protective style.  Check out her channel for ideas. Her rants are also very interesting!

2. Moisturize correctly.

Dry hair becomes weak and is extremely difficult to manage. It makes life a lot more difficult when you are dealing with dry brittle hair. So keep your hair well moisturized .  I use to think that oil or Shea butter  alone moisturized my hair, and I would wonder why it would feel dry even when using a great amount.  Sometimes I would have so much oil in my hair it looked like Jheri curl! The fact is true moisture comes from water. Oil and Shea butter help to seal in the moisture, so that the water doesn’t just evaporate soon after.  If you apply oil or Shea butter alone, you are simply coating your hair and weighing it down.  So make sure your moisturizer is water based (aqua should be the first ingredient on the list) or you can simply spray your hair with water then follow it with an oil of your choice or Shea butter. I use coconut oil because it seals in moisture very well. I also use Shea butter, depending on how I feel. You could buy a leave in conditioner, these are usually water based, and then you can add oil to make sure the moisture is sealed in. I’m more of a juices and berries girl so I don’t use that many products. As long as I have Shea butter, coconut oil and water I’m fine.

I find a great time to moisturize my hair is when it is in twists. I allow them to become damp in the shower then I apply my coconut oil to seal the moisture in. I can wrap my hair (like I did when my hair was relaxed) and this usually stretches the twists to their original length or I just put them back in a bun.

I hope this has been helpful. Look out for some more helpful tips next week. What were the main challenges for you when you were transitioning or are you currently experiencing this. Share your stories here.