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African American Hair Care
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Shedding hair is a natural part of daily life and the average person sheds around 50-200 hairs a day. While that seems like an alarmingly large amount of hair to lose, people don’t realize that the average person has around 100,000 hairs on their head. Shedding hair and hair breakage occurs for a variety of reasons from chemical or heat damage to a possible nutritional deficiency. Whatever the case, there is a solution to halt excessive shedding or breakage.
Why Am I Shedding Hair?
Your hair has three distinct growth cycles that can last for an overall period of two to six years. The growth cycles are called the categen, telogen and anagen phases. The categen phase of hair growth is also known as the transitional phase.During the categen stage the outermost layer of the root of your hair begins to shrivel, and wraps around the root itself to start forming the bulb in preparation for the next stage. Another name for the telogen phase is the resting phase. During the telogen phase the bulb on the hair follicle is fully formed. Shedding hair happens primarily in the telogen phase. The anagen is the active phase of hair growth. During this phase new hair follicles are being grown. Since the growth pattern for individual hair strands is staggered it is completely normal to see shedding hair all year round.
Other factors that may affect how much shedding hair you see are the treatments and styling methods you use on a consistent basis. Rough brushing or aggressive styling can put a lot of stress on your hair and cause it to shed or break more frequently. There are other periods throughout life that will show an increase in shedding hair as well. For example, a woman who recently had a baby will see an increase in shedding hair for several months until her hormone levels return to normal. Heredity, certain medications and treatments such as chemotherapy, poor or low protein diets, and birth control are all other conditions which can increase shedding hair.
The Difference Between Broken and Shedding Hair
Understanding the difference between shedding hair and breaking hair is an important step to healthier hair. People of African American descent have a unique hair make up. It is generally drier, curlier and has a lot of elasticity. Due to the unique make up of African American hair, individual hair strands are thick in some places, thin in others. Shedding hair is characterized by long strands. Often times it will have a tiny white “root” at one end of it. What appears as shedding hair might actually be broken hair. The majority of what is seen in hair brushes is actually broken hair, not shed hair.
Broken hair is characterized by short strands of hair and most commonly occurs when the middle layer of the hair becomes damaged. Most relaxers, straighteners, and color treatments change the chemical makeup of the middle layer in your hair, making it weak. Heat treatments and styling also stress the hair and dry it out further, making it weak and breakable.
Taking the time to take care of your hair will go a long way in improving the overall health of your hair. Make sure to use a moisturizing shampoo that is sulfate free and condition your hair after every wash. Avoid over processing your hair by limiting straightening or relaxing to every eight or ten weeks. It is also recommended to treat your hair once a month with a deep conditioner. With proper care, your hair will be strong and healthy and you will see a decrease in shedding and broken hair.
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