We all know the dread that happens whenever you’re enjoying a nice long shower and then your hair starts falling out. This can happen in different ways whether it’s small pieces or long pieces, but it can be challenging to your hair all over the tub. There are several factors that can affect hair loss like styling routine, hormones, gender, and genetics, but that doesn’t stop us from wondering how much hair loss is normal. What’s too much and should I be concerned? In honor of National Hair Loss Awareness Month, we’re talking about all the ins and outs of hair loss in the shower.

How Hair Grows

Hair has several stages and phases that determine how fast, thick, long, and strong it grows. There are three stages that describe how our hair grows: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen which break down how active our hair grows at any given time. These phases cover how our hair follicles produce individual hairs before the last phase Exogen which sheds old hair so new hair can take its place. What helps to maintain our hair health during these stages are nutrition, vitamins, reduced stress, and proper hair care.

Hair Shedding vs. Hair Loss

Before we can go into how hair loss occurs, let’s get an understanding of what is considered normal. A 2018 scientific study showed that on average a person sheds about 100 hairs a day. The American Academy of Dermatology Association conducted a study that this can only increase when you get older and that hair loss differs from hair shedding. Hair shedding is described as a normal activity we all encounter, but stressors like weight loss, giving birth, and recovery from an illness can exacerbate hair shedding. Typically hair shedding is normal and temporary and your hair will bounce back between six to nine months. Hair loss differs from hair shedding because there are factors that stop the hair from growing back such as hairstyles, genetics, or medicine that you are taking. 

Celebrity stylist Felicia Leatherwood shares that “Hair is at its most fragile state when wet, so you find that when washing your hair in the shower, you can experience more breakage. Hair shedding is also normal in the shower if you have not detangled the hair properly before. Hair shedding is normal, but hair loss is not. You may also find that if your hair lacks protein or something is going on with your diet or stress, it can snap very easily. The hair almost becomes like a weak rubber band when it’s wet and will snap easily.” 

Factors That Affect Hair Loss

While there are many factors outside of your control that are causing your hair loss in the shower, here are a few to consider. 

  • Water temperature: How hot or cold your water is can severely impact your hair follicles, in the same way, using heat tools can. A hot shower is great, but hot water can make your curls more susceptible to breakage and frizziness. It can also affect your scalp by drying your hair follicles which can lead to inflammation or dandruff.
  • Over shampooing: You should never be overwashing your curls, but if you must, then you need to ditch the shampoo. Over-shampooing can remove your natural oils and sebum and irritate and damage your hair follicles. At best you should be shampooing no more than 1-2x a week, but anything more could be contributing to your hair loss.
  • Drying with a cotton towel: Your is fragile and delicate and should be treated with care even when you get out of the shower. Using linens like a cotton towel can put stress on our cuticles and hair follicles and result in breakage and thinning. The thickness and constant pulling against your hair, when it’s wet, can gradually lead to additional hair loss over time. Try swapping out the cotton for a microfiber towel which can be a big game changer for your wash day.

Best Practices For Washing Your Hair

Now, does the shower have to be our enemy? Absolutely not. Cleansing our curls is one of the most important aspects of our hair care, but we have to start implementing practices to do it the right way. 

Leatherwood shares “When you’re detangling your hair while in the shower and not using your fingers to do it, you will experience snapping and breakage. You should use a tool such as the Felicia Leatherwood Detangling Brush, to aid in detangling. Also, make sure that you are using

a really good, conditioner like the Pardon My Fro Detangler Leave-in Conditioner from root to end of the hair. Then section your hair in 4 sections with your fingers very gently/delicately and brush through and detangle from the bottom of the hair back towards the scalp towards the root of the hair. If you notice that you have two hands full of hair, then you may need to add protein treatment for remedying, followed by deep condition to add moisture. Anything more than that, there’s something more serious going on and you should see a doctor.”

Have you experienced any hair loss in the shower? What remedies worked best for you? Let us know in the comments!

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