How much hair loss is normal? Many people ask this question. Hair Loss is a frequent problem among many people around the world. It may seem a little different according to the place people live in and the structure of their bodies, but it is everywhere.
People experience hair loss in various parts of their lives. Some may encounter hair loss in their youth and do not experience it furthermore, but some people may go bald; on the other hand, some people may have astonishing and eye-catching hair when they are young, but they start to lose their hair in their middle ages.
There are many reasons why people experience hair loss. It may be due to genetics, food regimens, medications, and even lifestyle. But there is something common among all the people that experience hair loss: they all notice they are losing hair. Some people get concerned and start seeking a solution, while others just ignore it and are happy with their faith.
But overall, in the following article we are going to have a better understanding of hair loss, its diverse types, reasons, and answer to this key question: How much hair loss is normal?
Things You Should Know About Your Hair
According to WebMD, Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. There are some question marks in this single sentence that need to be answered.
Firstly, a filament is a long chain of proteins with a dynamic nature that is found in hair and muscles in the body. So, we know that hair is protein. Secondly, follicles are organs found in mammals’ skin. It is made of 20 types of different cell types with distinct functions.
Hair follicles regulate hair growth by interacting with different cells. And lastly, we have the dermis which is simply a layer of skin, with a whole book to cover all its aspects.
Humans are born with about 100000 follicles, which varies a little between people with blonde hair, dark hair, and redheads. But it is interesting to know that having a hairy body is a differentiating characteristic between us on our mammal cousins.
In fact, there are about 5 million hair follicles on the human body, which are there when a baby is born, and developing more hair follicles stops just after birth. There are only a couple of body parts that hair does not grow there, including palms of hands, soles of feet, and red part of the lips.
Getting to Know Hair Growth Cycle
There are three key elements needed for making hair appear on your head:
- Cell growth
- Keratin building
All these stages happen inside the hair follicle. There is a small blood vessel feeding every hair follicle which in turn helps in creating matrix cells and the hair fiber to push up and out. Melanocytes, which are a melanin-forming cell in the skin, create hair color by adding this color to the mentioned matrix cell.
The hair growth cycle consists of four major steps.
- Anagen: the stage when about 90 percent of hair is in a growing phase. It continues to develop and grow for about 7 years.
- Catagen: the phase that hair stops growing. At any given moment, about 1 percent of the hair on your head is in this stage which lasts for about 4 months.
- Telogen: a stage that lasts for just a few weeks and hair falls after the end of it.
- Exogen: in this stage, the hair follicles are in the resting phase and hair strands can be taken out easily while brushing or combing. Follicles start again in the Anagen phase after resting.
Each follicle can produce 10 to 15 hairs in its lifetime. So, if we agree on having about 150000 follicles, there would be about 1 million hairs on your head in life.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
A normal person with normal hair loses about 50 to 100 strands of hair in one day. If you have long hair, you may think that you are losing much more hair than your father with short hair. But a completely normal person with no hair related concerns loses this amount of hair per day.
Of course, this does not mean that you should start tracking every single hair strand that takes off from your scalp and count them at the end of the day. The “normal” hair loss can even be different among people. Some may experience more hair loss due to the food that they consume or their lifestyle or even their athletic activities.
How Much Hair is Normal to Lose in the Shower?
The normal range of hair loss in the shower is nothing different from the average hair loss in a day. As a matter of fact, losing hair in the shower is the same as losing hair while brushing your hair.
So, generally speaking, the number of lost hair in the shower, plus the number of lost hair in the rest of the dat should not exceed the average hair loss range which is between 50 to 100 strands per day.
But there is a catch here. some people, depending on the structure of their hair, might not be able to count the number of lost hair. For example, they might have very short hair, or wear some kinds of hats for a long period of time in a day.
In these situations, you might find yourself losing a lot of hair strands while taking shower. But you should remember that if the count falls in the region of normal hair loss, there is nothing to worry about.
Also, always remember to check the difference in the number of lost hair, when switching your shampoo. If you have changed your shampoo recently or you are using a special kind of product like conditioners, be sure to check the number of lost hair strands. By comparing the numbers, you can find out if a product is working for you or it is doing more harm to your hair.
Is Hair Loss Different Between Men and Women?
To put it in short form, yes. People experience the same problem but the outcome is different due to different body structures.
Women in most cases experience general hair thinning, especially at the crown of their head, while men experience hair thinning on the scalp, and, they may notice a receding hairline and a horseshoe-shaped pattern that leaves the crown of the head exposed.
According to Beth Goldstein in her article “Patient education: Hair loss in men and women,” People experience androgenetic alopecia with equal frequency, although it may be camouflaged better in women.
It is discussed in this article that “In many men, the hairline around the temples regresses. As it moves back to the mid-scalp, an M-shaped hair pattern develops. The hair in areas affected by hair loss may be of various lengths and thickness, and the presence of uneven lengths and texture is a classic sign of male pattern balding.”
On the other hand, “Women may have similar patterns of hair loss, although typically the hair loss is a little more diffuse than in men; women rarely experience loss of all their hair.”
What Is the Difference Between Hair Loss and Hair Shedding?
Now that we know there is a normal threshold for normal hair loss, we should face a particularly important aspect of hair loss information. People easily confuse hair loss with hair shedding.
You can always have in mind that there are 100000 hair follicles on your hair which can grow hair later, so losing just a fraction of hairs does not mean anything.
But when you start losing more than the normal 50-100 hair strands a day, the excessive hair shedding process has started. Hair shedding, which is scientifically known as telogen effluvium, is a reversible condition in which hair falls out after a stressful experience.
This experience enters many hair follicles into a resting phase, which normally ends after a few months. Usually, there is no need for medical treatment in such cases, and hair restores to its previous conditions as soon as the stress goes away.
But hair loss is simply a stage where hair stops growing. It may be treated in some situations but in others, such as hair loss due to genetics, there is no normal comeback.
How to Tell If You Are Losing Hair
There are many ways you can find out if you have entered the hair loss phase. Some of them are easy “do it yourself” physical tests and others are medical tests that should be prescribed by your doctor.
In this quite simple test, a dermatologist takes a bunch of about 40 of your hair strands and pulls them gently. This process repeats in various parts of your head and if you lose more than 6 strands, it is considered that you are experiencing active hair loss.
The card test is used to measure the health of individual hair strands. The doctor extracts a part in the hair and holds a small rectangular card covered in felt against a section of the scalp. New hair strands, even exceedingly small or broken ones, in this area, are visible against the felt card and can be counted and examined. The color of the felt should contrast with the color of the hair.
In this test, a small part of the skin on your scalp or a few strands of your hair taken and then examined under a microscope to find if there is an infection that can lead to hair loss.
If there is such an infection, there are some medications that may help you restore what you have lost. It is completely up to a doctor to prescribe medicine, but the most common forms of medical solutions are minoxidil and finasteride. The first one help people regrow hair or slow the rate of hair loss. While the second one is a pill, prescribed for men to slow down hair loss.
By performing a blood test, a doctor can figure out what kind of problem is causing hair loss. Hair loss may be due to the lack of vitamins or minerals, or even hormonal imbalance, all of which can be found out with a simple blood test.
Iron deficiency is a frequent problem among people, mostly women, that can result in hair loss. A blood test can help the doctor find out about the level of ferritin, which is a protein that indicates how much iron is stored in the body.
Thyroid related problems are another reason for hair loss which can be found out using a blood test. Both overactive and underactive thyroid can speed up the rate of hair loss. A noticeable change in body weight without having any special diet can be a sign of thyroid-related problems.
Another thing to consider androgen excess which can result in thin hair and hair loss in women and is a sign of hormonal imbalance. A blood test can show the level of androgen in your body.
Why You Are Losing Hair While Doing Routine Tasks?
It is possible to see hair loss while doing simple and ordinary daily tasks such as brushing or washing. While you should remember that losing about 100 hair strands in a day is not a sign of getting worried, certain situations need paying more attention.
Brushing your hair may seem simple, but if you do it wrong, you will encounter more hair strands coming out of your scalp. Remember to start combing your hair from the middle down the bottom and then once again from the root. This helps you untangle hair strands and do not apply excessive pressure on your hair.
You should also remember that never comb your hair exactly after applying hair paste, serum, or cream for treatment or styling on your hair.
The other important thing to consider is checking the water that you are using for taking a shower or bathing. You may be using hard water, or simply water with some chemical compounds such as chlorine that is used to purify water on a large scale. The best solution to protect your hair from these harmful chemicals is using a suitable shower filter.
The best shower filter is the one that utilizes many filters to block as many chemicals and harmful stuff as possible while being easily installed and compatible with your showerhead. You can check Captain Eco for the shower filter that has all these benefits.
When You Should Be Concerned About Your Hair Loss
Up to here, you have gotten a good understanding of the situation of your hair. But you should always watch for some signs that are indicating you should face hair loss seriously and visit a doctor about it.
Increasing Hair Loss
If your hair loss is still in a normal range, but it is increasing gradually, it is a clever idea to visit a doctor. The problem might be easily solved by changing your diet, sports, activities, or even your shampoo. But make sure to contact your doctor before it is late.
Visible Thinning of Hair strands
Women can easily understand that their hair is getting thinner. It is easy to find out this problem while styling your hair or simply making a ponytail. If you are experiencing hair thinning, double-check your lifestyle, search for a possibly stressful situation in your life, and visit a doctor as soon as possible.
The Scalp Is Visible
This is certainly a situation that you should visit a doctor and fight hair loss. If you can see your scalp in the mirror while taking a shower or brushing your hair, you have lost a big deal of your hair, and every second counts from now on for you.
Hair loss is an old enemy for humankind. Many people experience hair loss in their life. There are many distinct reasons for this problem, from living a stressful life to genetics.
You should have in mind that it is completely normal to lose up to a hundred strands of hair daily. But if the falling strands are more than this number, or losing hair is reaching a critical point, it is good advice to visit a doctor and start making some changes to restore what is gone and stop the path to going bald.
Have you encountered any of these signs? Do you use any special remedies in order to prevent or stop hair loss which is both scientifically approved and working for you? You can leave your suggestions in the comments so others can find useful advice to take care of their hair.