Hair shedding is a common issue with men and growing long hair. Today, Rogelio answers a reader’s question on this particular form of hair loss and gives his experience as a long curly haired dude.
Hey Rogelio, my name is Jeremy and I am 16 years of age and I’m from South Florida (Fort. Lauderdale to be exact). I’ve been growing my hair out for over a year now. Well 16 months to be exact, the last hair cut I’ve gotten was in december of 2010. It’s nearly close to touching my shoulders now but it’s not quite there yet (I grew my hair out starting from 2 or 3 centimeters and now my hair is about 7 to 8 inches long).
My hair type is somewhere between type II and III. In fact my curls look similar to yours. Okay, for the last I say 2 months or so I’ve noticed an excessive amount of shedding in my hair. Especially after brushing or combing my hair wet. I’ve stopped using brushes and still continue to use wide tooth combs. Even when my hair is dry I always notice loose hairs just dangling off my mane (most of which just end up on my shirt. It’s annoying. I feel like I have to shave my clothes.) Sometimes I can’t help but run my fingers through my hair sometimes, and eventually end up pulling out like 7 or 8 loose hairs .
I’ve googled this issue countless times. Many of the sources refer to stress, diet, brushes, shampoos, and whole lot of other stuff. I just wanted to know whether or not you yourself have experienced this problem Rogelio?. If so, what did you do to solve your issue? How did you do it?
Jeremy (Florida, USA)
Hair shedding is something that you need to learn to live with, especially as you grow your curls long.
Males shed about 100 hairs per day, which is a very small amount if we compare it to the average 100,000 hair strands that you have on your head. Hair shedding is hardly noticeable when one’s curls are short because you shed hair as the day goes by, thus you may shed one or two hairs on the pillow, then a few more while showering, then a few more in the gym, while at work, while driving etc. Hair shedding is a natural process and it has to do with the expiry date of each hair strand; hair growth is actually divided in 3 stages: anagen, catagen and telogen, with the latter stage being when the hair detaches itself from the scalp and falls off aka hair shedding (a hair growth cycle can last up to 8 years and is highly individual).
Now, when you grow your hair long, you will notice the shedding, trust me, you will! This is because simply, there is much more hair material to see. If you had, say, 1/8 inch hair length and you have 4 hair strands on the pillow, you will not even notice them. Now compare that to about 8 inches of hair length which is a length nearing the shoulders, you will surely spot those 4 hairs!
Moreover, shed hairs tend to not fall off immediately. With curly hair, due to our waves, coils and kinks, our shed hair gets trapped in all those curves and bends. Hence, when you run your fingers or wide tooth comb through your mane, you will be grabbing away all those shed hairs which are essentially trapped in the curly mesh. You can easily remove 10 hair strands at a time, especially if you do this when you have applied a conditioner or oil to your hair as, the slippery your hair is, the easier it is for the hair strands to be removed.
And of course, yours truly has noticed hair shedding too! In fact, when you sent me the email, I decided to document how many hairs I could remove by simply running my fingers through my curls. Since I was working on a project that day which required me to be on the computer practically the whole day, I would every here and there run my fingers though my curly locks to remove any shed hairs. This is the result after about 8 hours:
The shed curly hair strands collected in the 8 hour period!
As you can see above, that’s a lot of hair that was shed and which I only needed to run my fingers through. This is an everyday thing for me and it has been going on since I can remember (years). I assume you have seen pictures of me but in case anyone reading this hasn’t, this is how much hair I have despite the constant heavy shedding:
As you can see, I ain’t going bald anytime soon despite the noticeable hair shedding
Point is, now that I have much longer hair, the shed hair strands are more visible, and this will occur to you and anyone else growing their hair longer. I have also written an article on how to distinguish hair shedding from actual male hair loss so check it out, especially if hair loss runs in your family.
Stress, malnutrition or certain medications can cause hair shedding too but this is not part of the natural hair shedding process of your scalp and can many times be reversed by correcting the cause. I have also written a article on the most common medications that cause hair loss so go through them as you may be experiencing drug-induced hair loss if you are on any of these medications (e.g. isotretinoin, a drug used to treat acne in teenagers, can induce excessive hair shedding).
Lastly, you are 16, which means that you don’t have to worry about male pattern baldness (MPB) yet. MPB is the most common cause of hair loss in males and commonly starts in one’s late 20s. Just make sure you to keep an eye on your hairline so that it doesn’t start receding as I explained in this article over at Men’s Hair Blog.
Overall Jeremy, I say you should not worry and that it is common to freak out in the beginning when one is growing his hair long as one notices the hair shedding due to the hair being inherently longer. If it really worries you, do see a dermatologist, though, who will be able to confirm to you the health status of your scalp.
All the best.