Here’s the Difference Between Hair Breakage and Hair Loss

It is normal to lose, on average, 50 to 100 hairs per day. You may notice more hair loss at certain times, like when taking out a protective style, but if you feel like you are shedding more than average amounts of hair over time, or you notice split, frayed ends, read on.

What’s the difference between hair loss and hair breakage?

Both hair loss and breakage are common yet distinct problems that have different signs and causes. Hair loss, also referred to as shedding and hair fall, occurs at the root. These shed hairs often have clubbed roots and are long. Hair breakage is just that, a breakage that occurs at some point on the hair shaft. The broken hair will be shorter than a shed hair.

Common causes of hair loss

There are many reasons for hair loss. They include:

  • Stress or trauma caused by tight styling practices (Traction Alopecia)
  • Hormonal fluctuations that occur after childbirth or around and after Menopause
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Psychological or physical trauma
  • Chemical burns due to perms and relaxers
  • Skin diseases and infections
  • Medications
  • Starting or stopping birth control pills
  • Thyroid issues

Common causes of hair breakage

Like hair loss, hair breakage can have many reasons including:

  • Heat styling and damage
  • Chemical processing (relaxers, bleaching, etc.)
  • Dryness and split ends
  • Hair that is thinner and more fragile than normal due to Female Pattern Hair Loss or low Ferritin levels
  • Brushing or combing delicate hair when dry or roughly detangling hair

Heres the Difference Between Hair Breakage and Hair Loss

How to Resolve Hair Loss and Breakage

1. Speak to a professional

The first step for resolving any areas of concern with your hair is to talk to a professional. If you are experiencing breakage due to styling practices or, for example, a self-administered relaxer, you may want to see your hair stylist or trichologist. For hair loss or breakage with an unknown cause, or if a health condition is suspected, please see your doctor for diagnosis. They may recommend additional tests to identify nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or autoimmune conditions that are affecting your hair growth cycle.

2. Develop a regimen that specifically addresses your needs

For hair breakage due to styling practices, start with a haircut. You should remove as much of the breaking hair as possible. If you are not ready for a full big chop, commit to trimming your hair every six weeks, and deep condition once per week using a intensive hair masque such as Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner or Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioner. Detangle your hair only when wet, and break up knots and tangles using your fingers. Always use a leave-in conditioner to provide your hair with long-lasting moisture. Kinky-Curly Knot Today and Soultanicals Hair Sorrell Knappylicious Kink Drink will keep those waves, curls, and coils feeling soft and silky.

3. Make adjustments to your routine

For hair loss, your Doctor may prescribe a change of diet or supplements to address any nutritional deficiencies, or medications to treat underlying health conditions. As these issues are being resolved, it is important to develop a triage routine. Care for your scalp with regular scalp treatments such as Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil. Be sure to clarify your hair frequently to remove any excess buildup. Follow this with a balancing conditioner that can be used as a daily or leave-in conditioner. Finally, give your hair a boost with a product formulated to create volume, like the Giovanni Cosmetics Mousse Air-Turbo Charged™ Hair Styling Foam.

This article has been updated with new resources.

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