Hair Loss vs. Hair Shedding

When you walk out of your front door, that doesn’t mean you’re never coming back. Similarly, if you notice increasing amounts of hair stuck in your brush or the drain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are suffering from permanent hair loss. Not all hair that falls out never comes back. Sometimes, hair falling out – hair shedding – is a temporary phenomenon that is no cause for concern. Other times, however, it can indicate a chronic hair loss condition in which hair loss is permanent. Knowing the difference between hair shedding and hair loss can help determine what, if anything, you can and should do to address the issue.

Hair Shedding

As a preliminary matter, even folks who seemingly have full, robust heads of hair lose between 50 to 100 hairs a day on average. This amount of hair shedding is normal, expected, and part of the regular hair growth cycle. But physical changes, life events, and lifestyle choices can cause hair to shed at a significantly higher rate.

These issues can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium in which hair follicles are shocked into a resting state. Since the follicles stop actively producing more hair to replace normal shedding, the thinning tends to happen in a diffuse pattern throughout the scalp. If the factors causing the shedding can be addressed and resolved, the follicles often return to their normal healthy state and fully regrow without treatment or surgical intervention.

Common reasons for temporary hair shedding include:

  • Excessive stress
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Prescription medication
  • Recent surgery
  • Stopping birth control pills

Hair Loss

As opposed to shedding, hair loss involves conditions that stop hair from growing entirely. By an overwhelming margin, pattern baldness – androgenetic alopecia – is the most common cause of hair loss. Over 95 percent of hair loss cases involve this hereditary hair loss condition that affects over three million Americans each year. Androgenetic alopecia causes hair miniaturization, a phenomenon in which follicles become thinner and finer each time they go through the hair growth cycle. Eventually, those follicles will die and fall out.

Another common cause of hair loss is alopecia areata, which is a hair loss condition that involves a direct assault on your hair follicles by your own immune system and white blood cells. This attack shrinks the follicles and subsequently slows down hair growth. In turn, this leads to sudden hair loss in quarter-sized patches that can progress across the scalp rapidly and unpredictably.

If you apply constant tension to your hair follicles, they will eventually experience damage, weaken, and ultimately die and fall out. This is called traction alopecia.

No Matter The Reason Behind Your Hair Loss, The Miami Hair Institute Can Help

At the Miami Hair Institute, our world-renowned hair restoration physicians diagnose and treat hair loss cases no matter what the underlying cause. Through advanced hair restoration surgical techniques, technology, and alternative non-invasive treatments, we can help patients suffering from hair loss regain their hair and self-confidence.

To receive your personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.