Hair Fall vs. Hair Breakage | Causes & Remedies

  • 12 months ago
5 minute read.
Hair Fall vs. Hair Breakage | Causes & Remedies

Every morning as you brush your hair, you notice a few strands left behind on the bristles. Concerned, you wonder if it's just regular hair fall, hair breakage, or if there's something more to it.


You wake up one morning, ready to conquer the world, only to find a seemingly never-ending stream of hair strands decorating your pillow. Panic sets in as you wonder if you're losing your crowning glory. But! Hair fall, or hair breakage, is a natural phenomenon affecting men and women.

In this blog, we will explore the differences between hair fall and hair breakage, understand their underlying causes, and discuss remedies to help you achieve healthier and more resilient hair.

Understanding Hair Fall and Hair Breakage

Hair fall (hair loss or shedding) occurs when hair strands prematurely enter the resting phase of the hair growth cycle and subsequently fall out. On average, it is normal to lose around 50-100 strands of hair per day. However, excessive hair fall can be a cause for concern. Hair loss is a gradual process and leads to thinning of hair eventually. There could be several causes of hair fall such as dietary issues, hormonal imbalance, stress, etc.

Hair breakage refers to the snapping or splitting of the hair shaft, resulting in shorter and damaged strands. It is important to differentiate hair breakage from hair fall, as the former specifically refers to breakage along the hair shaft and not at the roots. Hair breakage can be caused by various factors, such as excessive use of heat styling tools, frequent bleaching, chemical treatments, and incorrect haircare practices.

Common causes of hair fall and hair breakage

Hair fall:

  1. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal imbalances due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or thyroid disorders can contribute to hair loss. In these cases, the hair loss is often temporary and resolves once hormone levels stabilize.
  2. Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamins A, C, and D, can contribute to hair loss. Nutritional deficiencies can occur due to poor diet, eating disorders, or certain medical conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption.
  3. Stress: Extreme physical or emotional stress, such as major surgery, traumatic events, or significant weight loss, can cause a temporary hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium. The hair usually regrows once the underlying stress is resolved.
  4. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can lead to hair loss, such as alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease-causing patchy hair loss), scalp infections (like ringworm), trichotillomania (a psychological disorder involving hair pulling), and medical treatments like chemotherapy.

Hair breakage

  1. Excessive Heat Styling: Regular heat styling tools like flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers can weaken the hair shaft and cause it to break. High heat removes moisture from the hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage. Improper use of heat styling tools or using them on high heat settings can exacerbate the problem.
  2. Incorrect Hair Care Practices: Rough handling, aggressive brushing or combing, improper hair accessories (e.g., elastic bands with metal parts), and tight hairstyles can cause hair breakage. Pulling the hair too tightly or using excessive force while styling or detangling can put stress on the hair strands and lead to breakage.
  3. Lack of Moisture: Dry and brittle hair is more prone to breakage. Insufficient moisture in the hair can result from various factors, including over-washing, harsh shampoos, frequent use of alcohol-based styling products, and not providing adequate conditioning or moisturizing treatments.
  4. Overprocessing: Chemical treatments such as perming, relaxing, and coloring can weaken the hair if done excessively or improperly. These treatments involve harsh chemicals that strip the hair of its natural moisture and protein, leading to breakage.
  5. Harsh or Drying Ingredients: Some hair products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and styling products, contain harsh ingredients like sulfates, alcohol, and strong detergents. These ingredients can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and brittleness, which increases the risk of breakage.

Solutions to combat hair fall

  1. Maintain a balanced diet with essential nutrients.
  2. Practice good hair care habits and avoid damaging treatments.
  3. Minimize stress through relaxation techniques.
  4. Consider medications or treatments prescribed by a professional.
  5. Explore supplements with guidance from a healthcare professional.
  6. Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.
  7. Seek advice from a dermatologist or trichologist for persistent hair loss.

Also check: Too much hair fall? Try these asanas to get strong & healthy hair

Solutions to combat hair breakage

  1. Be gentle with wet hair, avoid combing wet hair and use a wide-toothed comb to detangle.
  2. Minimize heat exposure from styling tools and use a heat protectant spray.
  3. Choose hair care products suitable for your hair type and avoid harsh chemicals.
  4. Protect your hair while sleeping with a satin or silk pillowcase or scarf.
  5. Avoid tight hairstyles that cause tension in the hair.
  6. Trim regularly to remove split ends and prevent further breakage.
  7. Deep condition your hair regularly to nourish and strengthen it.
  8. Protect your hair from environmental damage with UV filters and coverings. Try to cover your hair when going outdoor.
  9. Avoid excessive chemical treatments and give your hair time to recover.

Hair Fall vs. Hair Breakage

 

Hair Fall

Hair Breakage

Location

Primarily occurs at the scalp.

Occurs along the length of the hair shaft, especially at the ends.

Causes

Genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and lifestyle factors.

Excessive heat styling, chemical damage, harsh hair care practices, and environmental factors.

Hair Strand

Entire hair strand falls out.

Hair strand breaks, leading to shorter strands or split ends.

Hair Density

Can lead to visible thinning of hair.

No impact on overall hair density.

Root Strength

Weakens the hair follicles.

Hair follicles remain intact, but the hair shaft is damaged.

Prevention

Balanced diet, stress management, gentle hair care, addressing underlying health issues.

Limit heat styling, deep conditioning, protective hairstyles, regular trims, and avoiding harsh chemicals.

Treatment

Medications, topical treatments, hair transplant (in severe cases).

Deep conditioning, hair masks, protein treatments, and improving overall hair care routine.

Overall Impact

Can lead to noticeable hair thinning or bald patches.

Results in damaged, frizzy, and shorter-looking hair.

Conclusion

Understanding the difference between hair fall and hair breakage is essential for implementing the appropriate remedies and maintaining healthy hair. While hair fall may require a holistic approach addressing underlying health and lifestyle factors, managing hair breakage involves adopting gentle hair care practices and protecting the hair from excessive heat and damage.

By taking proactive steps to care for your hair, you can improve its strength, vitality, and overall appearance. Remember, if you experience persistent or severe hair issues, consulting a professional can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific needs.

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