I often get emails from folks who think that every time they shampoo their hair, their hair loss or shedding gets worse. Maybe what they are seeing shed onto their clothing or floor is pretty bad throughout the day, but every time they wash their hair, it comes out every where – on their hands, down their legs, and in the drain.
Understandably, after seeing all of this accelerated hair loss happen with every hair washing, they begin to think that maybe they would be better off not shampooing as often, using dry shampoo, or figuring out a way to use a gentler shampoo or even conditioner only (I have actually tried this.) While these things may cause some temporary relief psychologically, they often do little for your hair and scalp health. There are some tactics though that can make this process a little less unsavory. I’ll discuss this more in the following article.
Skipping Shampooing Really Doesn’t Keep The Hairs From Falling Out: You probably already know this, but before a shed is actually shed, it goes through many cycles, including the growing, resting and shedding phases. Once a hair goes from growing to resting, it is going to invariably shed eventually. There is no much that you can do about this. It has stopped being nourished and the follicle is loosening it’s grip on it so that it is no longer getting nourishment. This is often why you will see textural changes and flyaway type hair when a bout of TE (telogen effluvium) or shedding is coming on.
So even if you were able to keep hairs in the resting phase for a few days longer by skipping a shampoo or two, you’re only prolonging the inevitable and those hairs aren’t all that healthy anyway. And, often, if you skip a day, you will only make up for it on the day that you actually do take a deep breath and just wash your hair. More is likely going to come out that day because you were just delaying the process.
Here’s a concrete example. Let’s say for example that I’m either going through TE (shedding) or AGA (genetic loss.) Let’s say that my average shed is 175 per day. Understandably, it’s hard for me to prepare myself to wash my hair because I know that when I do, I’m going to lose about 130 hairs (45 more will come out throughout the day.) It’s difficult to see this wad of hair and know that each time I do, my hair is thinning more. So, I decide that I will begin shampooing every other day instead of every day. So on my day off, I only lose 50 hairs. I’m very happy thinking that I spared 125 strands. But, what is likely to happen? On the next day that I shampoo, I”m much more likely to shed more on that day – around 300. So where am I now? Right back at my 175 per day when you average it. This may not happen to the letter as I’ve described it, but countless people will tell you that if you average this out over weeks and months, you’ll likely see that you really aren’t really gaining anything and worse than that, you’re risking the health of your scalp and follicles. You can not afford to take this chance when you are shedding or thinning anyway.
All washing your hair is doing is massaging out what was positioned to come out anyway. And it’s important to keep your scalp clean as well as making sure that your follicles are free from debris. Also, washing regularly can help to soothe some of the inflammation that is the result of and perpetrator of this process (and it does remove some DHT.) This is very important. The only exception to this if you have some sort of reaction or allergy to your shampoo or you have some scalp issue which is aggravated by the product you are using. In these cases, obviously putting the irritant on our head is not going to be a good idea.
Some Things That Can Help With The Accelerated Hair Loss When You Shampoo: There are a couple of things that I’ve used in the past when the shedding got really bad. The first is applying the product with an empty spray bottle. This allows you to use less manipulation to spread it through your hair. Simply spray it all over, concentrating on the roots. However, you still must use your fingers to free your scalp from debris and sebum. Resist the urge to just rinse the shampoo without working it through.
Another trick is applying conditioner before you shampoo. This will help your hands easily glide over your head so that you aren’t having to pull or tug to get all the product out. This may spare at least some strands and make the process a little less painful.
The Bottom Line: At the end of the day, for most people, it’s not shampooing or washing your hair that is the enemy. It’s whatever is causing your hair loss in the first place. You’re going to get a lot more relief pin pointing and addressing the problem than neglecting your hair and scalp’s health and putting off this basic hygiene. I know that dry or spray shampoo can seem tempting, but you need to brush or comb it through anyway and it does nothing for your scalp’s health and it doesn’t remove DHT.