Did you know that shedding and breakage is just as different as a relaxer and a perm?
Yet, many people often use these words to mean the same thing to describe when their hair is left in the comb or on the floor.
What is shedding?
The difference between shedding and breakage lie in something very small and is translucence or white colored – the hair’s bulb. Shedding is a natural phase within the growth cycle and the average person should expect to shed around 100 hairs per day, but who’s counting right?
The little white or translucence bulb at the root is a positive sign that the hair that was shed and not broken. Shed hair is generally about the same length as the hair on your head.
Although shedding hair is normal, excessive shedding can be the result of an underlying medical issue. You have to determine what is excessive for you as an individual in order to evaluate a shedding issue. If the average person sheds 50-100 hairs per day, a person whose normal shedding cycle is above average will shed more hair and a person who sheds below average will shed less hair.
What Causes Shedding?
Topical products don’t work in making your hair grow faster is because the growth cycle is controlled by hormones. When your hormones fluctuate, that’s when you will see a change or shift in the phases of your growth cycle. Several things that can affect your hormones, examples include stress, pregnancy, medicines, eating disorders, rapid weight loss, iron/protein deficiencies and thyroid disorders.
What Is Breakage?
Hair breakage is a symptom of too much force and/or dry brittle hair. Breakage is not part of the hair growth cycle. Strands that have been broken will not have the white/translucence bulb attached to the root. The hair strand will look identical on both ends, not identifying the root from the tip.
What Causes Breakage?
When the hair is combed, especially, if it is combed roughly with a small tooth comb, the hair looses protein. This means that the cuticle layers of the hair are scrapped off. This thins the hair strand making it more vulnerable to split-ends.
How to Stop Breakage?
You cannot completely stop breakage, but the goal is to preserve the hair strands as much as possible by keeping the cuticle layers conditioned and laying flat. Keep your strands free of product build-up by clarifying when your hair becomes unresponsive and/or unruly.
Don’t be afraid to use protein on your hair. Protein treatments help to fill in the spaces where the cuticles were with hydrolyzed protein (very small). Incorporate finger combing and detangling in your natural hair regimen. If you do decide to use a small tooth comb, work with a small section of hair and take your time.
Moisturizing shampoos and conditioners along with regular deep conditioning keeps the hair soft and pliable. Creating and maintaining a balanced diet and lifestyle helps to keep stress at a minimum and the hormones balanced.