I get a lot of questions from clients and emails from followers concerned about hair shedding and breakage. By far, the top question asked is “Why does my hair shed so much.”
So I wanted to clear up some myths, some things you may not have known about how our hair grows and what’s happening when it sheds. I want you to be able to determine whether or not this is something that’s normal, or if it’s a little bit more serious and you might need some extra help.
So Let’s Just Right In.
Our hair grows in three phases. The Anagen phase, the Catagen phase, and the Telogen phase, and I’m going to tell you about all of these phases.
The Anagen phase is your growth phase. This is the active phase when your hair is growing. The Catagen phase is what they call the transition phase. And the Telogen phase is your resting phase. Now what exactly are these three phases and how do they work?
Most people think that the hair on their heads stays there forever. Hair only lasts on your head between two to six years. For some people, it may even go up to 10 years. So that determines the length of someone’s hair. Take me for instance, my hair tends to get maybe to my shoulders, and then it’ll start to break.
I can’t seem to get it to grow past my shoulders if I’m wearing a relaxer. Now I’m natural, and I haven’t tried since I was a kid, but it can go to maybe the middle of my back without a relaxer, but that’s about it. That’s because each of my hair strands is only lasting on my head for about six years, and then it completely falls out.
So know that your hair is growing for about two to six years. We’re going to stretch it to 10 years because some people, those who have extra long hair, their hair can stay on their head up to 10 years. So let’s just say two to 10 years, and then it begins to fall out.
And once it falls out, it is replaced with new hair. Now, this happens constantly. There is some hair on your head in the growing phase at all times. Then there are many hair strands that are going to be in the transition phase. This lasts for only one to two weeks.
This is when the hair goes from the Anagen phase, which is the growth phase into the Telogen phase. This is what we call the Catagen phase. The hair strand is beginning to loosen from the bulb, separates from the papilla, and from the follicle.
Once it separates, it kind of just rests there for about two to four months.
During that time, when you’re combing it or it’s being pulled on too much since it has detached, it can come out quite easily. It will begin to loosen and then it will fall out.
This happens on average to about 100 to 200 hairs a day. So it is normal for your hair to shed every day. Then that hair, once it falls out, returns back to the growth phase, which is the Anagen phase.
No Need To Panic
So when you are combing your hair and you see these little short hairs on your head, your hair is not breaking off!
That’s new hair that’s growing in. The new hair comes in, pushes out the old hair, and you’re left with a short young hair beginning its life. So that’s why you see those little short pieces of hair all over your head. It does not mean that your hair is breaking off, it means that there’s new hair growth.
Now, if you have a small area where all of the hair is shorter than your longer hair, then yes, it has broken. But when you see random hairs that are short, just know that means growth.