If you have long and thick hair, don’t be shocked if you find clumps of hair in the shower drain. Hair shedding is normal, and we all lose some strands while showering. However, if the hair falls out in large chunks, creating bald patches, it is a cause for concern. From a change of diet to increased stress levels, there are various underlying reasons for this phenomenon. If you are concerned about excess hair fall in the shower and are looking for ways to prevent it, this article is for you. Scroll down to know more.
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Hair Shedding Vs. Hair Loss: What’s The Difference?
Hair shedding is a routine process and should not be confused with hair loss.
Hair shedding is normal and a part of our body’s natural renewal process. An average person loses about 50 to 100 hair strands a day. However, the number of strands varies from person to person, depending on hair length and thickness. Those who have long and thick hair shed more compared to those who have short and fine hair.
On the days you wash your hair, you may shed about 150-200 strands. Those who wash hair only once or twice a week may experience more shedding on wash days due to the product buildup. The new hair growth compensates for the hair shedding.
However, in the case of hair loss, there is no new hair growth. Hair loss is also referred to as anagen effluvium (hair shedding during the growth phase). Unlike hair shedding, hair loss may be caused by:
- Immune system issues
- Reaction to treatments and medications
- Hairstyles that pull the hair (like tight braids)
- Using harsh hair care products
- Pulling hair out of compulsion
Scroll down for the factors responsible for excessive hair loss in the shower.
What Causes Excessive Hair Loss In The Shower?
- Stress: Emotional stress, physical stress, or trauma may cause excessive hair loss. Mice studies show a relationship between stress and hair loss (1). However, stress-induced hair loss is not permanent. Once the stress factors are eliminated, normal hair growth resumes.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes can also trigger hair loss. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) affects the normal hairline, preventing new hair growth (2). If you notice no hair growth at all, consult a doctor for treatment.
- Nutrient Deficiency: Improper diet and nutrient deficiency may cause hair loss (3). Deficiency of iron, zinc, fatty acids, niacin, selenium, vitamins A, D, E, folic acid, amino acids, and antioxidants may cause hair loss. You can consume foods rich in these nutrients and consult a doctor for supplements.
- Sudden Weight Loss: If you lose a large amount of weight in a short period, it may cause telogen effluvium and affect hair growth (3)
- Using Wrong Products: Using the wrong hair care products and those containing harsh ingredients may also cause hair loss. For instance, using a sulfate shampoo excessively may dry out the hair and make it breakage-prone.
If your hair loss is due to an underlying health condition, it is better to consult a doctor and undergo the prescribed treatment. You can also follow these tips to care for your hair and prevent excess shedding while showering.
Tips To Prevent Hair Loss In The Shower
1. Follow A Healthy Diet
Follow a healthy and balanced diet. As hair is made of protein, daily intake of protein-rich foods will help your hair become strong and healthy and prevent excess shedding. Also, consume foods rich in iron, essential vitamins, amino acids, and folic acid.
2. Use A Wide-Toothed Comb
After-shower combing may also cause hair shedding. To prevent this, use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair from the ends of the strands and work your way up to the roots.
3. Avoiding Rubber Bands
Sporting a tight ponytail may strain the hair roots. Rubber bands grip the hair tightly and eventually cause more hair fall. Instead of rubber bands, you can use hair ties made of cotton or silk as they are gentle on your hair.
4. Limit Heat Styling
It’s no surprise that using excessive heat on your hair may cause hair breakage. This may eventually lead to hair loss. Hence, limit using heat styling tools like hair dryers and hair straighteners and embrace your hair’s natural texture. If you are using a heat styling tool, set the temperature to the lowest setting, and use a heat protectant spray or cream.
5. Avoid Sun Exposure
Too much sun exposure may affect the scalp’s health, affecting the hair follicles and causing increased hair fall. Hence, use hats and scarves to protect your hair from sun exposure.
While a bit of hair fall is fine, a few factors may indicate that something is not right.
When Should You Worry About Hair Loss In The Shower?
Hair shedding is quite common in the shower. However, if you continue to shed regularly and experience chronic hair loss, it can be due to some underlying problems like nutritional deficiency or an illness. Hence, consult a doctor to figure out what might be causing such hair loss.
Hair shedding is a normal part of our lives, and with age, you may experience an increase in hair fall. However, if you notice excessive hair loss in the shower, it is a good idea to change your hair care routine and talk to a doctor.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
How much hair do you lose each day?
It is normal for an average person to shed 50-100 strands of hair each day.
Can shower water make your hair fall out?
Yes, the quality of the water may affect your hair health. Hard water and chlorinated water may make the hair brittle and cause hair fall.
- Burden of hair loss: stress and the underestimated psychosocial impact of telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia
- Female pattern hair loss: Current treatment concepts
- Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
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