Have you ever ridden a roller coaster with an automated camera that takes your picture at a dramatic point of the ride? Your photo is displayed on a screen when you exit. This happened to me and what I saw on the screen was MUCH scarier than the ride itself – it was my scalp!
I’ve been battling hair loss for the last 14 months. When it started, I used my freshbenies Doctors Online service to send an email with pictures to a doctor. Through those interactions and some trial and error over the last several months, I’ve gotten an education on how to deal with thinning hair.
Today’ I’m sharing 3 key things I learned about hair loss….
1. Hair goes through phases
When I emailed the doctor, he sent me information describing two main phases of hair...
- Angen – a time of active hair growth
- Telogen – a time of rest where hair relaxes, falls out and is replaced by new growth
Normally, a person has around 85% of their hair in the angen phase, and the rest in the telogen phase. When someone begins to experience excessive hair loss, more hairs have gone into the telogen phase than normal. This is called Telogen Effluvium.
2. Hair can be pushed into telogen phase
Strands of hair normally stay in the active growth phase for 2 – 4 years. But, there are a number of triggers that can prematurely push hair into the telogen phase. When this happens, you can lose around 300 hairs a day versus around 100, which is the norm.
Various triggers can prematurely push hair into the rest period, causing them to fall out. These include…
- Physical trauma
- Dietary changes
- Dramatic weight loss
- Iron deficiency
- Hormonal changes
3. Excessive loss is usually temporary
Hair that’s been pushed into telogen phase will be replaced by new growth and normal growth patterns typically return within several months. This has been my personal experience. After 4 months of excessive “shedding” my hair loss slowed to a normal amount again. However, I have noticed that after several months of less hair loss, the shedding has picked up again. My triggers appear to be stress and hormonal changes – I am of a certain age :-) But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t found a few tricks to help manage the shedding phases….
BONUS! Here are 6 things I discovered along the way that help…
- Taking a prenatal vitamin and some biotin seemed to slow my hair loss
- Excessive washing increases loss, so schedule your sweaty workouts to accommodate less washing
- Don’t use shampoos or hair products with sulfates – it can increase damage and hair loss
- Use shampoos that are paraben-free and add volume. Click here to see one of my favorites!
- Consider if you’ve changed any over-the-counter or other medications in recent months. I realized I started taking Saint John’s Wort shortly before my first “shedding” phase began, so I stopped taking that.
- If your hair loss persists, visit with your doctor and consider getting some tests to check your nutrient levels. Otherwise, hang on for the ride and wait for the active growth stages to even out again.
Now it’s your turn! Have you dealt with thinning hair? What are your tips or tricks to manage it? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.