Hair loss is just one of those unfortunate facts of life. There are no easy answers when it comes to hair loss, a large portion of both men and woman will experience it in later life due to a number of genetic factors and the normal process of aging but it can also occur earlier due to a number of other factors. Trying to determine the cause of hair loss, or the why behind any hair shedding you might be experiencing can be difficult. Hair loss and its causes can sometimes be a bit of a mystery. If you’re experiencing some hair thinning and wondering why there is more hair than usual on your bathroom floor or in the shower drain, then our helpful answers to common questions might fill in some of the blanks. Read on below to find out about what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to hair loss.
Here are our answers to your hair loss questions:
How much hair loss is normal?
At MAX3 we know that healthy hair is voluminous, shiny and moves freely when you run your fingers through your hair. You can always tell when hair has been damaged because it will feel dry, brittle and straw-like. It can be confusing when you have hair that feels otherwise quite healthy, but seems to come out in the shower. There’s nothing worse than feeling your stomach drop upon finding a large clump of hair in the shower drain. A lot of people might assume that there’s an underlying heath problem upon realizing their hair is shedding, but some hair shedding is actually normal for everyone at every age. Shedding is a normal part of the growth cycle for hair, at any giving time there a small percentage of everyone’s scalp will be shedding. If hair isn’t shedding than it might be in the growth or resting phase.
Chances are you’re just experiencing normal hair shedding, especially f you’re mostly noticing clumps of hair in the shower. The shower tends to be the place that most of your loose strands of hair dislodge. A thorough washing will cause any shedding hair to disconnect from your scalp, so shed hair tends to congregate near your drain. It might looks like you’ve lost a lot of hair, but in actually fact it’s probably a normal amount. If you’re noticing a lot of hair loss outside of the shower, or experiencing hair loss outside of the normal for you which are causing bald spots, patchiness or large clumps of hair to fall out then it might be time for you to see your doctor or a dermatologist. There are many reasons for hair shedding; some problems will cause temporary hair loss whilst others will cause more permanent hair loss. Some issues are natural, whilst other hair loss can be caused by dietary imbalances, medications or other external factors.
If you’re interested to know what a normal amount of shedding is, then keep read on below.
How much hair loss is normal?
This might surprise you to know but it’s actually normal to lose anywhere between 50 and 100 strands of hair each day. If you’re a guy with shorter hair then you’re probably not going to notice it as much as someone with longer strands of hair would. If you’ve got a long mane of hair then you’ll probably notice some of your hair shedding onto your clothes or the bathroom floor, which might create the illusion that you’re losing more hair than you actually are. Whilst 50 or 100 strands might sound like a lot, there are actually 100,000 hair follicles on every person’s scalp so the loss of 100 strands or so a day is actually miniscule and doesn’t much of a dent in your hair’s appearance. It’s usually not until your lose almost 50% of your hair that you will start to notice balding.
Men lose less hair than woman on average
One big plus for being of the male persuasion is that you’ll typically notice slightly less hair fall than most woman. It’s difficult to tell if this is just a gender difference, or if it’s due to the differences in the way that woman style their hair. Women are much more likely to use heat styling and colouring products on their hair, which play a role in increasing hair shedding. It’s like that woman experience more hair shedding because of the way that woman style their hair. Studies suggest that almost half of woman lose additional hair each day because of styling methods. Women are also more at risk of hair shedding due to life events which can influence hair loss, like pregnancy and menopause. Hormonal changes commonly cause more hair loss for woman.
The cycle of hair growth
Your hair actually has its own lifespan. At any given moment every hair on your head is at a different stage of its normal life cycle. The average hair on your head will have a two to five year lifespan that consists of the growth, resting and shedding phases. Each hair on your head will grow and die at a slightly different rate and is impacted by different factors like nutrition, stress, hygiene, styling practices and medication.
The growth phase of hair growth is called the ‘anagen’ phase. Most of the hair of your head will be in this phase, usually it’s something like 90% of your scalp is in the growth phase. During this phase your hair will grow at about 1 centimetre per month. There’s not really much your can do to speed up your hair growth, but there are some things you can do to slow it down or stop it. When the growth phase is stopped is called anagen effluvium, this is what is called ‘hair loss’.
The resting phase, also known as the catagen phase follows the growth phase. As the name suggests, the catagen phase is when the hair growth slows to a stop. The catagen phase usually lasts a couple of weeks before the hair strand enters the telogen phase. This is the phase when hair detaches from your scalp, usually about 10% of your scalp is in this phase at any given time.
If you experience telogen effluvium then you’ll find that more than 10 percent of your hair is in the telogen phase, you’ll notice more hair loss during this phase, although it will only be temporary. Factors like stress, surgery, illness or some medications can cause telogen effluvium. Your hair will usually recover within six months.
What can cause hair loss?
There are a lot of different reasons that you might experience hair loss. Some hair loss each day is just a normal part of your hair growth cycle but there are a lot of reasons you might notice increased hair loss. Some common causes of extra hair loss include stress, or some underlying health problems such as thyroid conditions, lupus, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, alopecia, female and male pattern baldness, hydration issues and more. Traumatic experience like car accidents or surgery, or emotional issues and grief can cause hair loss. Over-styling like excessive washing, bleaching, brushing, heat styling or tugging and pulling at the hair can cause hair loss as well. Over-styling can weaken the structure of the hair, causing damage and hair fall. There are some conditions like trichotillomania which involve compulsive hair pulling, which can cause temporary and even permanent hair loss.
There are some common culprits in the diet that can cause hair loss issues like iron deficiencies, vitamin A or B overdoses amongst other things that can cause your hair to thin out.
How do you tell if you’re losing too much hair?
So beyond just noticing a bit of extra hair fall how can you tell if you’re losing too much hair? No one has time to collect and count all their lost hair strands after all! Well an easy way to tell if you’re losing too much hair is to perform a ‘pull test’ at home. This involves working with clean, dry hair. You should run your finger through the strands of your hair before gently tugging on it at the ends. If you get more than two or three hair after each tug, then you’re probably experiencing some hair loss. It’s not normal to lose more than 10 hair per every hundred strand of hair being tugged. If you suspect you’re losing too much hair, you should visit a doctor to try and determine the cause of your hair loss.
When should you see a doctor
If you’ve recently changed anything in your diet or hair care routine, are taking any medications, or if you’re experiencing any other symptoms than the cause of any hair loss might be relatively easy to determine, but if you haven’t made any obvious changes than your hair loss might be the result of an underlying health condition. If you’re noticing hair loss then it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about any concerns. You might be noticing a slow thinning of the hair, or the appearance of patches or bald spot, or even full body hair loss. If you’re worried then you should consult your doctor who will be able to help you to determine if your hair shedding is normal or not. If there are any causes of your hair loss then your doctor will be able to examine you and help you to figure out what’s going on. If your hair loss is due to normal aging or conditions like male pattern baldness, then your doctor might be able to help you with solutions to slow or stop your hair loss.
A bit of hair loss is a normal part of your hair’s life cycle. It’s completely normal to lose some hair each day but larger clumps, bald spots or a lot of thinning might be a sign of a bigger issue. If you’re noticing larger clumps of your hair in your shower drain, on the bathroom floor or in your hairbrush then it’s probably time to have a conversation with your doctor. If you’re aging then unfortunately grey or thinning hair is sometimes just a fact of life, although there are things we can do to fight the signs of aging. Common lifestyle factors like your medications, stress or diet can increase hair loss; a proper medical assessment should help you to discover what the underlying cause of any extra hair loss is and should help to rectify any issues that might be causing your hair to fall out. Most hair loss caused by external factors like surgery or styling is usually temporary and will right itself after a few months once the cause of the hair loss is addressed properly by you.