By: Ava Alderman: When your hair is shedding or falling out, you usually can’t help but notice that the problem gets worse every time that you manipulate your hair. This means when you wash it, brush it, style it, or put it up, you might notice more hair coming out. As a result, you can begin to wonder if these tasks are bad for you and your hair, (considering the situation,) and whether or not you should do less of these things.
There seems to be particular concern about brushing. We can all get away with washing our hair a little less, but brushing is something that is carried out daily. Someone might ask: “I used to love to brush my hair and I would do so for about five minutes before bed time. This would keep my hair shiny and manageable. Well, now my hair is shedding and brushing it is traumatic. I brush and tons of hair comes out and my hair doesn’t look nice in the way it used to. Is it bad to brush your hair when you have telogen effluvium?”
I am not sure that bad is the right word. The thing is, what comes out in your hair brush are hairs that were in the resting phase and that were eventually going to fall out anyway. Sure, by brushing, you may have shortened their life span by a couple of days, but they were eventually going to fall out. Hair that is growing and is being nourished isn’t going to come out with brushing, unless you are brushing REALLY hard and too aggressively.
Theoretically, brushing is good for your hair and scalp. It clears debris on the scalp and stimulates blood flow. But when you are shedding a lot, it can be traumatic to brush your hair. Even if you intellectually know that those hairs were going to come out anyway, it can be excruciating to know that what you are doing is pulling them out. When you are shedding, it can feel as if every hair counts.
I can tell you what seemed to help me, at least a little. My hair is wavy. So there is no way that I’m going to get by without brushing it or combing. It would tangle otherwise. But, when I brushed, ropes of hair would come out and it would make me very upset. So I started using either a wide toothed comb or a brush made specifically for very curly hair. The bristles were spaced further apart and had more give. So they didn’t pull as much and didn’t cause as much hair to fall out.
Plus, I would hold down my hair at the roots and focus mainly on just the ends of my hair. This too would help the hair not to pull as much and would result in less shedding.
So to answer the question, brushing your hair isn’t bad for your you or for your scalp, unless you are pulling too hard. But when you are shedding, it can be difficult psychologically. So you can use grooming instruments that don’t pull as much and can take special care when you brush. Some people with really short or straight hair can get away with finger combing if the shedding is really severe.
One other tip I can offer is that if you use a little spray on conditioner before you brush or comb, it will pull even less. I learned a lot of tricks like this when my hair was shedding. You can read more on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/