Most of us shed hair a little at a time — pretty much all the time.
But sometimes a larger-than-usual clump of hair, trapped in your brush or clogging your shower drain, surprises you. Then you wonder, “Am I losing hair permanently?”
The real question should be: “What’s behind my hair loss?”
Hair with plenty of volume, movement, and shine is what most people consider healthy. So when you look down at the drain and see a clump of lost hair strands, it’s easy to assume that there’s a health problem causing hair loss. But some hair loss is normal for everyone and at every age.
When you wash your hair thoroughly in the shower, hairs that are already loose or disconnected from your scalp congregate near the drain. While it might look like a lot, you’re probably seeing normal hair shedding.
If you’re experiencing hair loss that’s unusual for you, including bald spots, patchiness, and clumps of hair falling out, you should see your primary care physician or dermatologist. Keep reading to find out if you are shedding a normal amount of hair each day.
Some shedding is normal “Hair goes through cycles, where it grows and then falls out,” explains Ob/Gyn Lynn Simpson, MD. “So you should expect some shedding.” You can expect to lose between 50 and 150 hairs daily.
Hair naturally cycles through three phases:
- The growth phase can last two to seven years.
- The transition phase lasts about two weeks.
- The resting phase lasts about three months, and ends in shedding.
“If you feel like you’re losing an excessive amount of hair, talk to your doctor. You’ll need an evaluation,” she says. More than half of all women experience noticeable hair loss over time.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
While the average person loses about 50 to 100 strands per day, salon trichologist, Penny James, tells InStyle anything over 150 strands is not normal. And because this is obviously a hard thing to count, it’s important to pay attention to the amount of hair that is left in your hands after when your shampoo, on your brush, or on the bottom of the bathroom floor.
“What happens is the natural growth cycle that our hair goes through is complex,” explains James. In total, there are three different stages your hair can be in: “The growing stage is known as anagen, 85 percent of our hair is in the cycle at one time; this can last up to six years. Then there is the resting stage, catagen, in which 5 percent of your hair will be in this phase and last for up to three weeks. Finally, the falling out stage is called telogen, which is about 10 percent of your hair is ready to naturally fall out of the head and new hair to grow. Our hair continues to work in this cycle for our lifetime.”
But BosleyMD certified trichologist, Gretchen Friese, adds that there are other phases we often go through where we will shed more than normal. For instance, one of these times is called “seasonal shedding,” which is when a temperature change triggers your follicles to enter a shedding phase. However, “If you feel like you’re losing excess hair for more than a month, then you may want to look into a remedy,” Friese stresses.
Hair Falling out While Brushing
Many people who style their hair using a hairbrush may worry when they see all the leftover hairs in the brush.
However, brushing the hair generally just removes and collects the hairs that have already fallen from their follicles that day. Although this can be unsettling to see all at once in the hairbrush, it is normal in small amounts.
In some cases, excessive brushing may lead to other issues in the hair, such as breaks. Aggressive brushing may also break or snap the hairs.
Anyone noticing shorter or broken hairs in their brush may wish to talk to a dermatologist about more natural hair care options or ways to strengthen the hair.
Five ways to stop hair falling out
1. Release the tension: If you have a habit of styling your hair in tight braids, or any style that pulls at the scalp, it’s time to give your head a break and let your hair go “au naturel”.
2. Check your vitamins: See with your doctor to ensure you’re not over or under the recommended vitamin levels. This isn’t just good for hair loss – it’s important for your general health too.
3. Get thicker body: Give the impression of more hair by adding density with the Serioxyl hair thickening collection, including the best-selling Denser Hair Serum.
4. Wash it right: Use an adapted shampoo and conditioner like those from the Inforcer collection from Serie Expert, designed to strengthen hair from root to tip, reducing breakage and making hair look fuller.
5. Pamper time: When washing, use your fingertips to give yourself a relaxing scalp massage.
Don’t panic if you think your hair is falling out at an abnormal rate – a trip to the doctor and your hair stylist will get to the bottom of it, and help find you the best solution.