Shedding Hair- Causes

It is normal for people to be defined or described by their hair. After all, it is the first thing that people see. It is not unusual for people to be described by the color of their hair, the length of their hair, and whether their hair is relaxed or natural. So, it is understandable that women are very mindful of how their hair looks. Nobody wants to be described as the girl whose ‘hair is shedding like a dog’ or ‘the woman with the fly-away, thin-looking hair’. Shedding hair in women can be devastating as you watch your mane fall without a discernible reason. This article will attempt to answer the question, ‘why is my hair shedding?’

There are several reasons why hair sheds or breaks; the following is a list of them.

1. Hair Relaxers

Relaxers break down the hair cuticle and lay it flat. Ultimately, relaxers are the chief hair breaking culprit for black women especially:

(A)   if the root of the hair is not healthy,

(B)   the application was not done in the correct way,

(C)    if relaxer is applied to otherwise relaxed hair including hair ends,

(D)   switching of relaxers,

(E)    relaxing too often,

(F)    length of time it is kept in the hair,

(G)   not neutralizing after relaxing.

2. Hair Dye

 The constant use of hair dye is very bad for hair health. Synthetic dyes are made up of potent chemicals that will dry out the hair shaft and cause split ends and ultimately shedding hair.

3. Handling Hair (Combing, Brushing, Washing)

Combing and brushing puts pressure on your hair strands. Brushing black hair is a very stressful thing to do to your hair, especially if the hair is relaxed. Washing the hair with harsh shampoos and with a forceful agitation can cause hair to break and pulling at it from the roots with combs with grooves at the teeth can cause hair to shed overtime.

4. Excessive Heat

Excessive heat makes hair brittle and dry. There are some staple heat appliances that are used to style hair that actually fry the hair and will cause hair to shed especially at the vulnerable points where these appliances are used on the hair shaft.

5. Stress and Medications

Stress is notorious for causing hair shedding and so are certain medications. These two combined can create havoc for the hair strands and can lead to hair breakage.

6. Nutritional Deficiency

If all your efforts fail to stem hair breakage externally, may be the problem is internal. Nutritional deficiency is a very common culprit for hair breakage especially if you are on a diet. There are several key vitamins and minerals that aid in hair growth, a deficiency in these can cause hair to shed like crazy. These are:

  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Silica

7. Towel Drying

It goes without saying but just in case you towel dry your delicate hair strands, stop. The vigorous rubbing of a towel can break your hair at the weak areas.

8. Pulling

Tight braids and ponytails and twists supported by rubber bands can pull on the hair and cause breakage. If you can see the scalp in gathered rolls or you can’t move your head after a hairstyle then the style is too tight and it will break your hair.

9. Appliances

Curling irons, hair dryers, blow dryers and crimping irons are all possible ways to break hair if these appliances are used on a regular basis and used improperly.

10. Sunlight

Frequent or prolonged exposure to sunlight weakens the chemical structure of your hair.

11. Hair Oil/Mineral Oil/Petroleum

There are certain hair products containing mineral oil and petroleum that can dry out hair and cause hair breakage.

12. Chlorine from Swimming Pools and Municipal Water

Excessive exposure to chlorinated water can break hair. If your water supply is too hard for you to drink then it is hard for your hair.

Check out Breaking Hair- Remedies for the solutions to hair breakage and shedding hair.


Hoffmann Candace, Breaking the Silence on Women’s Hair Loss, Woodland Publishing, 2007


  • jasmin said:

    Thanks for the wonderful information. I think it’s also important to point out that as mammals, our hair grows in phases. Humans naturally shed some hair daily. I shed 10-40 hairs everyday– more during early spring and late fall. By most accounts up to 150 shed hairs a day still falls within the normal range. While shedding more than that may be cause for concern, I think that women should not automatically panic when they find shed hairs in their comb or on the bathroom floor. Of course, if your hair is coming out in clumps or handfuls, you should visit your doctor. Breakage is an entirely different issue. In the case of relaxed hair, I agree that the way we treat our hair can literally “make or break” it.

  • Ruth Nelson said:

    I love everything about your website.


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