Losing your hair can be scary and disturbing for so many reasons. If you’ve been experiencing hair loss recently you may be wondering how much hair loss is normal exactly. Maybe you noticed some hair on your pillow right after waking up or ended up pulling out a bunch of hair from the drain after a shower, or maybe you ended up with a lot of hair right after brushing or combing your hair.
Before we learn about how much hair loss is normal, it’s important to distinguish between hair loss and hair shedding. While hair loss implies the inability to grow hair back, hair shedding is completely normal for everyone at any given age.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
Hair loss sometimes referred to as hair shedding is common among everyone. According to experts, it is normal for a person to lose up to 50 to 100 strands of hair every day.
Humans have up to 100,000 hair follicles or more on their scalp. As a result, losing 100 or so hair strands a day is nothing to be worried about.
You might find yourself shedding more hair than the average, which can be caused by harsh hair products, daily heat styling, or frequent coloring of the hair. Women also tend to lose more hair than men daily, and the kind of hairstyle worn is proven to have a direct effect on the hair as well.
While watching a bunch of hair just fall off while showering or combing your hair might look scary, there is solid science behind this average and common phenomenon of hair loss.
The Science Behind Hair Loss/Hair Shedding
As previously discussed, hair shedding is a natural part of our body’s renewal process. Just like how our bodies constantly shed old skin to grow new ones, it does the same with our hair. Every hair on your head is at a different stage of a two-to-five-year lifespan.
Most hair – about 90% of it – is in the “anagen” phase, which means being in a growing phase. The last phase known as the telogen phase is where the hair strands go into rest as they prepare to detach from your hair. At any given time, about 8 to 9 percent of your hair is in this phase.
This is the hair shedding that is normally noticed by most people and is also known as telogen effluvium medically. Hair strands in the telogen phase that fall off typically grow back within 6 months.
While telogen effluvium is not permanent, many factors may prolong it or increase hair shedding to more than the usual amount.
Reasons For Excessive Hair Shedding
Excessive hair shedding is common in people who are going through some stressors or changes in life that may prolong their hair shedding.
Most commonly, the stressors below have a direct impact on hair shedding:
- Giving birth
- Losing a lot of weight in a really short time.
- Experiencing high fever or undergoing surgery
- Recovering from a serious illness.
- Suddenly stopping birth-control pills
- Stress from life events (going through a divorce, losing a job, etc.)
Most excessive hair shedding is noticeable a few months after a certain stressful event occurs. The shedding ends once your body readjusts but it could go on if you are constantly under a lot of stress. If you think it’s been going on for too long or the hair shedding is more than usual, you should contact a dermatologist.
How Is Hair Loss Different From Hair Shedding
You may be wondering how hair loss is different from hair shedding. If hair strands fall off and stop growing, it is called anagen effluvium, which is typically considered as “hair loss” where hair that is lost does not grow back unless treated medically.
The most common reasons for hair loss or anagen effluvium are:
- Hereditary reasons
- Overreacting immune system
- Harsh hair products
- Thyroid conditions
- Specific drugs and treatments
How To Test For Hair Loss
You can carry out a simple “pull test” on your hair to find out if you are losing more hair than the usual amount mentioned above. Select a section of hair that is clean and dry, and run your fingers through it, while also gently tugging at it until you reach the end of your hair strands. You should see some 5–15 hair strands come off which is completely normal. More than that might be pointing to a problem, and you might need to get some help.
What If My Hair Loss Is Unusual Than Normal
If you’re losing more than 15 hair strands a day, or experiencing random bald spots, patchiness, thinning on the top of the head, or clumps of hair falling out, there’s no need to fret. You can see a dermatologist for help.
They are more than experienced to distinguish between hair loss and hair shedding and can prescribe you treatments for anything unusual.
As we discussed, it is incredibly common for hair loss or hair shedding as long as you are losing 50 to 100 hair strands a day. More than that, could be signs of underlying health conditions or caused by major changes in your life and/or body.
Regardless of the reason, unusual amounts of hair loss usually warrants the attention of a medical professional to offer treatments.
We also learned that factors like wearing the same hairstyle every day, excessive heat styling, and harsh products can also play a role. While you should not freak out over common hair shedding, taking proper care of your hair should be a top priority.
Do you worry about hair loss? How many hairs do you lose per day?