female hair shedding

Shedding is part of the hair growth cycle. It is a natural occurrence. On average we each lose 50-100 hair strands per day. That sounds like a lot but compared to the total number of strands, it’s peanuts. However if you find yourself losing large clumps of hair at a time, most likely you’re experiencing excessive shedding. The medical term for this is telogen effluvium. What causes this condition?


Anxiety and stress affect more than our mental health. They have other negative effects on the body. Stress causes a disruption in the natural growth and rest cycle of hair. A large number of hair follicles are pushed into the resting phase. The number of strands shed daily increases significantly.


Naturally, hair receives the least amount of nutrients because the body allocates them to more vital organs such as the eyes. So during an illness like fever or viral infection, all nutrients are directed towards fighting off pathogens. The hair gets even less nutrients than usual leading to excessive shedding. Once the body starts to recover, shedding reduces. However some diseases are more severe, for instance lupus, thyroid conditions and alopecia areata.

Rapid Weight Loss

There’s usually a lot of hype about weight loss. But losing a lot of weight over a short period of time causes stress to the body as it tries to accommodate the rapid change. Hair follicles are thrown into the resting phase, resulting in excessive shedding.

Child Birth

New mums usually notice excessive shedding about two months after giving birth. The condition peaks four months after child birth. The body recovers with time and hair regrows.

So how do we combat excessive shedding? The common thread in the causes above is stress. When your body experiences stress, focus goes to dealing with the stressor and your hair takes a hit. Try to keep stress to a minimum. Even when going through a rough patch, make deliberate effort to calm down. Talk to someone, get enough sleep, do something you love, enjoy the moment. For severe diseases consult a doctor for specialised treatment.

A DIY treatment such as tea rinses can save your hair. Infuse some black or green tea and use this to rinse the hair after shampooing and conditioning. Let it sit for 5 minutes then rinse out with cool water.



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