Having a full head of hair is a sign of health and vitality. After all, our tresses are not called our “crowning glory” for nothing. Conversely, losing hair often induces a lack of confidence and can even be a sign of poor health.
HOW MUCH HAIR LOSS IS NORMAL?
While it is normal to drop up to 50-100 strands of hair a day, losing more than that amount disrupts our hair’s natural replacement cycle. When hair cannot regrow fast enough to replace the rate of hair lost, this deficit will result in visible signs of hair loss - like thinning hair and balding patches. If this goes on long enough, baldness starts to ensue!
SO HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M LOSING HAIR?
Read on for the 8 signs of hair loss - are you suffering from any of them?
1. The Receding Hairline
The receding hairline usually presents itself in men as part of male pattern baldness. The hairline starts moving upwards and inwards, until it resembles a reverse horseshoe shape at the front of the head.
Another common balding pattern in males is thinning at the crown (top of head), often leading to a bald patch in the center that expands as hair loss advances.
2. Thinning hair
This is more common in women, where hair loss is more diffused. Thinning hair can be identified by a widening of the hair parting or the feeling of less hair in general. If you can see your scalp peeking through your hair, or if you need to position your hair carefully to cover certain sparse areas - you are suffering from hair loss.
3. Thinner Ponytail
This is an easy way to gauge hair loss if you have long hair that can be tied. If the thickness of your ponytail has decreased over the years, then you’re losing hair! Things to observe: You can use a smaller hair clip to hold hair in place, or you need to tie a few more rounds with the elastic band to keep hair secure.
4. Hair Falling in Clumps
This is an obvious sign that something is wrong. You might have used an inappropriate product, or it could be due health issues, drugs or hormonal changes.
5. Scaly patches
Take note if you find a scaly patch on your scalp. Is hair growing normally there? Is it itchy? Is the patch spreading? Scaly patches are often a sign of bacterial or fungal infection, which can lead to hair loss if not treated in time.
6. Shower Test
The simplest way to determine if you are losing hair is to observe the hair collected in your shower drain after washing your hair. While it is natural to drop 50-100 hair strands over the course of a day, if the amount of hair you see drop is getting more over time, it’s time to take steps to prevent further hair loss.
7. Pillow Test
This is another simple test to determine if you are losing hair. Hair usually falls with some sort of stimulation - say massaging the scalp, when combing your hair etc. But having large amounts of hair fall throughout the night is unusual. So take a look at your pillow when you wake up in the morning. Do you see hair on your pillow? If you consistently find a large amount of hair falling out overnight - it’s time to address your hair loss problem.
8. Nail Test
Check your nails regularly for pitting or craters. As both nail and hair are made of keratin, a problem with your nails can be an early warning sign that hair production is compromised, leading to hair loss in future.
CAN HAIR LOSS BE REVERSED?
Yes, it can usually be reversed, especially if you nip the problem in the bud early! However, if your hair loss has resulted in smooth, shiny bald patches with nary a hair follicle in sight, it might be too late to regrow the hair in that area. In such cases, you can still work on reducing the rate of hair loss and growing hair back in other parts of your scalp so they don’t suffer the same fate.
As hair loss is often a gradual process, we sometimes ignore the problem until it is too late. So early identification and prevention is key!
WHERE DO I START?
One of the first things you can do to prevent hair loss is to make sure that your haircare products are not exacerbating your problems. Switch to paraben-free hair products (Eg. TCR The Cosmetic Republic) that can nourish your scap and infuse hair with the necessary vitamins and nutrients to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. Leading a balanced lifestyle with a healthy diet and good exercise and good sleep habit can also work wonders to improve the efficacy of your hair loss prevention routine!