Why Hair Shedding Is Not Hair Loss

Hair shedding and hair loss (baldness patterns) are often used as interchangeable terms, but there is a significant difference between the two? If you suddenly notice more hair in your hairbrush while showering or pillow than average, you might assume that you have hair loss. But there is a huge difference between the two terms, and we will highlight them in detail.

Difference between Hair Loss and Hair Shedding

Hair Shedding

It is entirely normal to shed hair somewhere about 50 to 100 strands in a day. You can suffer from excessive hair shedding. Medically it’s known as “telogen effluvium,” but even this has specific symptoms that lead to excessive hair shedding. Some of the most common hair shedding causes are weight loss, extra stress, high fever, or recovering from an illness or surgery. In Women halting your birth control pills or going through pregnancy may also lead to excessive hair shedding. Most new moms experience hair shedding two months after giving birth. But rest assured, the shedding is normal and temporary. Removing the stressor for hair shedding usually puts a stop to it.

DHT's Connection to Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Hair loss occurs when growing hair meets a hindrance in its growth. The most known cause of hair loss is often genetics. Our hereditary plays a crucial role in hair loss. Likewise, changes in our immune system are also a cause of hair loss. Harsh care products, medication or drugs, and making hairstyles that pull on the hair also damage follicles and eventually lead to hair loss.

If you’re suffering from hair loss, your hair will not grow unless the cause is removed. For instance, sometimes, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation often see excessive hair loss. When the treatment stops, hair usually tends to grow back.  Most cases of hair loss are treatable except for “Androgenic Alopecia.” Androgenic Alopecia is one of the most common causes of hair loss in men. Women can also experience this sort of hair loss, but it is not as common.

Difference between Hair Loss and Hair Shedding

Androgenic Alopecia

This type of hair loss can affect your scalp or your entire body. It can be temporary or permanent; in most cases, it is permanent. It is usually hereditary in nature but can also be caused by hormonal changes, medical conditions, or a normal part of aging.

Baldness is described as excessive hair loss from the scalp. Most people often leave this untreated, while some do opt for treatments that restore hair growth. Before investing in a hair loss treatment, it is best to consult a dermatologist. How does Androgenic Alopecia manifest itself in men and women? Read ahead to find out.

Hair loss Pattern in Men

The reason why men suffer from hair loss, while others do not is not yet understood. Genetic background plays a vital role in the development of androgenetic alopecia in men.  In men, hormones related to testosterone known as androgens affect how hair follicles function. They miniaturize hair follicles resulting in hair shafts that are short and thin. One such androgen is DHT. 

Hair loss Pattern in Men

What is DHT?

DHT or Dihydrotestosterone is an androgen. An androgen is a sex hormone. Sex hormones in the body are an important underlying cause of baldness in males. DHT contributes to the development of male “sex characteristics,” especially body hair. There are treatments meant to slow down the male pattern of hair loss by targeting DHT.

DHT’s Connection to Hair Loss

Hair grows out hair follicles that go through a growth cycle. The growth cycle usually lasts about two to six years. At the end of the cycle, the hair enters the resting phase before falling out a month later. The follicle then produces new hair, and the cycle begins anew. Having high levels of DHT can shrink the hair follicle and shorten this cycle. Hair becomes brittle, thinner, and falls out excessively. DHT’s excess presence can also increase the time between hair fall and hair growth in a follicle.  An individual may be more susceptible to the effect of DHT on hair loss based on their “androgen receptor” (AR) gene. AR gene can increase androgen receptivity in the follicles in our scalp, making it more likely to experience hair loss, especially in men. 

Androgenetic Alopecia in women 

Androgenetic Alopecia in women is often referred to as “Female pattern Baldness.” Just like in men, genetics plays a role in female pattern baldness as well. Women are likely to experience excessive hair loss after menopause, so hormones are one reason behind it as well.

Hair Loss Symptoms in Men and Women

Men and women experience androgenetic with identical incidence, but in women, it is better disguised. Women, unlike men, do not experience complete baldness.

Hair Loss Symptoms in Men and Women

Hair Loss Symptoms in Men

In men, androgenetic alopecia is identified by a gradual thinning in the hair around the scalp’s crown and frontal areas. It also manifests itself as a receding hairline and is likely to regress along with the temples as well.  As hair loss moves to the mid-scalp, the hair pattern forms an “M-shape.”

The hair in the affected areas often varies in length and thickness. The presence of this uneven texture is a classic tell of male pattern balding.

Hair Loss Symptoms in Women

In women, the hair’s growing phase slows down. It also increases the time for new hair to grow. The hair follicles shrink, the new hair that grows is thin and very fine, making it easily breakable.

Women may lose hair from all over their heads. Temples and part lines are the most sensitive parts. But unlike men, women are less likely to completely bald. Thinning is the most common symptom of hair loss in women. Doctors often divide hair loss among women into three types:

  • Type I: thinning around the area where you part your hair.
  • Type II: the part widens, and increased thinning is seen around it.
  • Type III: a see-through area appears at the top of the scalp, and thinning is now in the hair’s entirety.
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