Is Your Hair Loss Due To Shedding Or Breakage?
When it comes to hair loss, there are two key terms that should come to mind: shedding and breakage. Having a thorough understanding of these two terms can help you in your journey to good hair health.
What is Breakage?
Breakage can actually be caused by many things: Over-manipulation, not enough moisture, dryness, too much protein, not enough protein (yes, that whole protein thing will get ya!). Trust me curlfriends, the list goes on and on! If you feel you may be experiencing breakage, try to ensure that your hair is thoroughly moisturized. You can do this by applying a moisturizing deep conditioner. Using styling products that contain humectants can help attract moisture from the open air.
Remember to be gentle when handling your fragile tresses, avoid brushing if possible. You can use a wide toothed comb or even your fingers to detangle your curls. Kinky Curly Knot Today is one of my favorite detanglers because I am able to glide my fingers (or comb) easily through my hair without tugging, or ripping through knots. Oh, but using your fingers to comb and detangle can do harm if your nails are rough! Even the smallest split in your nail can get caught on a strand of hair and break it. Another topic to consider when choosing a styler to fight breakage is alcohol. Opt for using products that are alcohol free because alcohol can be drying to your curls, weakening and making them more prone to breakage.
Now that you’ve got your products and stylers chosen, it’s crucial that you don’t fool with your hair too often because excessive manipulation could very well be a cause for your breakage. Try a protective style to keep your ends tucked and away. You can also use a moisturizing leave-in when rocking a protective style for an added bonus! The clothes you wear actually make a difference, too. Rough textured sweaters or coats can cause the strands of your hair to get caught, weakening your curls. You can change this by wearing a satin scarf to protect your ends and the curls at the nape of your neck. Are you a hat person? Try lining the inside of your hats with satin, too!
Most importantly of all, sleep on a satin pillow case. In case you didn’t know, some people in this world can be wild sleepers and this may or may not be you, (it’s okay if it is, I’m not judging. Okay, maybe I’m judging a little). Sleeping on a satin pillowcase with your curls protected in a pineapple can allow your strands to slip and slide without the rough friction you’d be creating if you were sleeping on a cotton pillow case, plus it’s an easy way to preserve your hairstyle!
What is Shedding?
Shedding happens when you lose the strand of hair at the root, in most cases at the end of it’s life cycle. This phase is called the Telogen stage. At this stage, your root stops producing melanin, which gives the bulb it’s white or opaque color. Shedding is absolutely normal. Women shed between 50-100 strands a day, sometimes even more.
If you have just switched to the Curly Girl method then you might have noticed an increase in shedding. This isn’t because you are loosing more hair. This means the curl strands that you naturally shed get caught in your own tangled web of curls. The hair gets stuck there until you brush, or wash them out. Gently finger detangling before a few washes can help you see and understand what is average shedding for you.
If after finger detangling you still notice an increase in shedding, you might want to take a look at what your body has been going through, as changes in your body can show on your skin and hair. There are a few factors that could result in excessive shedding like stress, hormones, lack of proper nutrition, chronic illness, the flu, or birth control. If you feel you may be losing hair abnormally, consult your physician for a proper diagnosis.
The Bulb Test
If you are curious as to whether the hair you are losing is from breakage or shedding, try the bulb test. Hair that has been shed tends to be much longer, about as long as the full length of your hair. Remember what I said about your root not producing melanin at the end of it’s growth cycle? Your shed hair will also have a white or opaque bulb at one of the ends. Don’t see a bulb on that shorter strand of yours? It’s definitely breakage!
Now that you know the difference, take this information and use it to better the health of your curls! Have any additional tips on this topic? Let me know in a comment below!
Xoxo Un Besito,