Nearly Hair
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Shedding vs Breakage?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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K is for kinky writes:

do you really know the difference?

for a long time i did not. i automatically assumed any hair that ended up in my brush, on my shoulders or on the floor was shedding hair. most of the time, it wasn’t!

lot of people think their hair is shedding when it is actually breaking, and some people think their hair is breaking when it is actually shedding. knowing the difference between the two is vital for all hair textures.


what is shedding?

shedding is in fact just the transition of follicles from growth phase to resting phase. your hair follicles “go to sleep”, to return several months later. hair follicles work in cycles as part of their normal processes. shedding 50 to around 100 hairs a day is considered part of a normal and natural growth process. when a hair is shed, it is replaced by a new hair from the same follicle located just beneath the skin surface. scalp hairs grow about one-half inch a month. shedding sometime happen because of stress, hormonal changes pregnancy, birth control pills, medications illnesses, or just bad maintenance (shampoos, chemicals, etc) that place stress on the hair follicles. shedding is usually temporary unless it’s a result of a serious health problem such as alopecia. if there is any abnormal shedding or infected scalp conditions please consult with a medical professional.


what is breakage?

broken hairs are not hairs directly from the hair follicle and it’s not a natural process. when your hair breaks, it can break at any point along the shaft of your hair and does not have the white bulb on the end of the hair like a shed hair will. your hair breaking can be the effect of many things but usually it is the result of using bad hair products, harsh chemicals, too much heat, or being rough when styling your hair – i.e. brushing natural hair when it’s dry, combing with too small combs (not widetooth) etc. another cause of breakage is not conditioning and moisturizing your hair properly.


if your hair is breaking you will notice short pieces on your comb, floor sink. the strands will most likely have split rough jagged ends. It may be discolored, and fragile.

if your hair is shedding you will notice long strands the length of your hair. one way to tell if its a shed strand is by examining the strand. If you notice a little white bulb at the tip of the strand that means it’s safe to say, it was a naturally shed hair.

overall shedding and a little breaking is something bound to happen. we can’t prevent every single hair strand from breaking. however, naturals must work to minimize and treat the breakage as much as possible. next week, we’ll talk about how to maximize moisture and minimize breakage as a kinky natural.

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