What is lash shedding and why is it a thing?

Change in Season

Twice a year, autumn and spring, our bodies react to the changing seasons, as if the rain and wind aren’t bad enough! Our bodies decide it’s time to shed our hair (including our lashes) faster than usual to adjust to the new temperatures and/or lack of sun.

Medication

A number of medications can trigger hair shedding. It is thought certain drugs switch more hairs from the growing into the resting phase, and these hairs are then shed a few months later.

Iron deficiency

Most of the iron stored in the body is bound to ferritin — a protein which helps in the production of hair cells and guards against hair shedding. Good food sources of iron are red meat, egg yolks and green, leafy vegetables. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so have a glass of orange juice when eating.

Polycystic ovaries

The second most common cause of hair loss in premenopausal women is polycystic ovarian syndrome, leading to excessive amounts of testosterone. This can trigger excessive body hair — but hair loss on the head.

Skin conditions

Pityriasis amiantacea — basically adult cradle cap — can cause hair loss. It’s linked to eczema, and may be confused with psoriasis.

Crash dieting

Crash dieting, particularly low-carb diets, can cause hair loss. You can eat as much protein and iron as you like, but without any energy, your hair will suffer. That’s because if the brain or other vital organs are desperate for energy, it will often be taken from non-essential sources, such as the hair and nails.

Thyroid problems

A thyroid problem can affect the normal timing of the hair cycle. Usually, hair will ‘rest’ before falling out. With a thyroid problem, the hair will have a tendency to fall out sooner, before growing to a normal, reasonable length.’

Contraceptive pill/HRT

All oral contraceptives contain progestogens, synthetic hormones that produce similar effects to the natural hormone progesterone — needed to help prevent a fertilised egg being implanted. Some of these progestogens are good for the hair; others less so. That’s because the progestogen used can have a male hormone-like effect on hair.

Stress

Stress can lead to a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium —forcing the hairs into the resting state before their time. Chronic stress might also push the immune system into overdrive so that it makes white blood cells attack the hair follicles. Something to help counteract this can be having a VitB12 injection to help support the immune system.



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