Hair loss affects around 8million women in the UK and around 85% of men at some point in their lives. August is ‘Hair Loss Awareness Month’ and this annual focus serves to remind us of the importance of discussing hair loss openly including the causes and the impact it can have on patients’ lives.
Consultant Trichologist Eva Proudman, FIT IAT, from UKhairconsultants.com has spent her career helping men and women to treat their hair loss whilst tackling the taboo around this often complex, condition.
This Hair Loss Awareness Month we ask Eva to dispel the myths from the facts around shedding hair when we wash it – what’s normal, when should we be concerned and does hard and soft water and different shower heads affect hair loss?
We naturally shed 50 – 150 hairs every day, depending on the amount of follicles a person has on their head which is determined at birth, together with the amount of hair per follicle – a follicle can, on average, grow anywhere from one to four hairs. Some of these stay loose within the hair as we have a natural electric charge within our hair and will fall out when we wash and condition the hair in the shower, so it is perfectly normal to see some hair fall on the shower tray. However, if the amount increases a lot from what is normal then you should be concerned.
What could be the cause for hair shedding in the shower?
There are many different underlying causes for hair shedding, these can range from periods of stress, dietary changes, illness, medications, hair care, lifestyle and so much more. A consultation with a Trichologist will explore all of these and from this a patient may be asked to complete a series of blood tests to help diagnose the root causes and to develop a treatment plan that will deliver the very best results.
If a person changes the frequency of their hair washing, so normally washes daily and then moves to every 3 or 4 days, again you may see an increase in shedding, this isn’t concerning so much as it is just the accumulation of the naturally shed hair that has built up over a few days instead of being shed and removed daily.
Hard water is normally high in minerals, specifically large amounts of calcium carbonate and magnesium sulfate. These minerals can build up on the scalp and affect moisture absorption. Over time this affects the health and appearance of the hair, as moisture is essential to the elasticity and shine of the hair. Build up also prevents effective washing of the hair and scalp and makes it feel as if the hair is ‘weighed’ down. The scalp can also become dry and itchy from this mineral build up and this in turn can result in dandruff.
Whilst hard water isn’t a direct cause of hair loss, the build-up and dryness can promote split ends and hair breakage. It can also interfere with hair colour, causing it to fade quicker.
Can certain types of shower heads cause hair loss?
Showerheads themselves aren’t a cause of hair loss but high-water pressure can make the hair become weaker which can result in breakage. So, always make sure you have a gentler water flow.
What are the benefits of a filtered shower head?
A filtered shower head removes chlorine, fluoride and hard water which helps to reduce dry skin, skin irritation, dry hair, split ends and breakage.
Eva has successfully treated numerous men and women suffering with hair loss and is the resident trichologist on “The Hair Loss Clinic”, which can currently be streamed on Discovery plus.