Hair CareWellness

Is Hair Shedding Normal? How Much Is Normal?

You have seen hair on your pillow. You have seen hair in the drain. There are even some on your brush or comb, and a few more strands all over the floor. Is hair shedding normal? Should you freak out? Not necessarily.

Keep calm and take a moment to read this.

When is hair shedding normal?

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it is perfectly normal for any of us to shed hair, at any age, regardless of gender. The average person has about 80,000 to 120,000 (or more) hair follicles on their scalp. Out of those, you lose around 50 to 100 strands each day – some a little more (especially for those with longer strands), and some a bit less (for those with shorter hair).

While we do understand this is quite tricky to quantify daily (unless you have an enormous amount of time on your hands), let us help you define normal loss and the signs when you should be concerned.

When will you shed the hair?

Humans go through natural hair shedding throughout their life. Babies leave the lanugo to have stronger hair after the first three months of life, just as adults go gray hair while aging. That is how our life cycle is!

There are three natural hair changes during your life:

Infant hair shedding

The thin hair will gradually be replaced during the first year of life. How fast this change occurs is variable: sometimes it does in a few months, and sometimes it will exceed a year.

Puberty hair shedding

Occurs near or during puberty due to hormonal influence. Childhood hair changes to adult hair. You can even see changes in color and texture; blond hair becomes brown, curly hair becomes straight, wavy, etc.

Adult hair shedding

Adult shedding takes place around 40 years. Hair grays and can change in appearance and texture. It usually loses thickness, and there may be hair loss that is not quickly recovered because the hair follicle is also aging.

Your hair can also shed when you’re on certain medications – like minoxidil shedding.

Is hair shedding normal for men?

Most men go bald. A good look at your male relatives or family history will tell you as much. This has come to be known as male pattern baldness. For some, hair loss starts in their twenties, but the full effect is not seen until 15 to 25 years later. For others, the process can take in a short span of 5 years.

The reason(s) for your hair loss might also be something else entirely. It could also happen if you have had an illness (notably one that included high fever), undergone surgery, a significant change in hormone levels, scalp infections, or experienced stressful circumstances. The hair loss in these situations should be reversed within 6 to 9 months, so you should see hair back in its normal fullness and thickness in no time.

Is hair shedding normal for women?

Women tend to lose more hair than men. This is especially true for those who don a longer length, and those who subject their strands in a plethora of heat and chemical hair treatments and styling. In fact, around 40 percent of women lose a bit more hair daily because of their styling practices.

To lessen this amount, you may want to consider laying off on the chemical dyes, heated curlers and straighteners, and excessive hair brushing a little bit. These cause hair breakage and compromise your hair follicle structure. While we do understand that these can make your hair look great, its beautifying effects are short-lived and damages, long-lasting.

If you cannot break away from these practices entirely, we suggest strengthening your locks with a good shampoo and conditioner. These will help those strands to stay in place and withstand and repair the damage. And bonus, they also make your hair stronger and more manageable with continued use.

Aside from stress and possible health conditions, there are also brief periods of increased hair loss in women due to pregnancy, stopping your birth control intake, and menopause (feel free to blame those hormones). You can counter the excess shedding with our hair growth serum.

Is your shower hair falling a cause of concern?

For those with longer and thicker locks, you might see more hair shed (around 150 to 200 strands) in the shower. This is normal, too, so do not panic. You will notice that you will not shed as much the following day (when you do not wash your hair again).

Those who wash their hair only one to three times a week may see an increase in hair shedding due to the buildup. And a little more after when combing. Again, this is perfectly fine.

You can further reduce hair loss by using a wide-toothed comb. This will lessen the breakage and pulling. You can also try leaving your hair down as much possible. Moreover, avoid touching your hair too much or use rubber hair ties if you do decide to put it up. These little things make a difference.

When is your hair shedding abnormal?

If you are still unsure of your hair loss, you can try this “pull test” at home. Using your thumb and finger, try taking around 40 strands of hair, just an inch away from your scalp, then tug. Tug the hairs hard enough to pull up your scalp as you slide your fingers until the ends of your hair strands.

Now, count the strands. If more than six strands are left in your hand after each tug, it could be a telltale sign of hair loss. This is a good time as any to reconsider your life choices, a.k.a. your nutrition, (lack of) exercise, and overall health and lifestyle.

The more obvious signs are the appearance of patchy or bald spotss on your scalp, gradual thinning on the top of your head, or even full-body hair loss. This is the time to see your doctor so they can determine the cause of your hair loss.

The takeaway

Hair shedding is a normal daily occurrence for all of us, more so as we age or go through different phases of life. It best to keep aware and take care of our physical state, too. Things like diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits contribute a significant deal to keeping our strands in place. When you are losing a considerable amount of hair, see your healthcare provider.

Having strong, fabulous hair is one thing you need not worry about. We got that covered!

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Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.D.
Dr. Ahmad Fayyaz Chaudhry earned his MBBS degree from Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad, in 2020. During graduation, he enrolled himself in the Dermatology Ward DHQ Hospital Faisalabad for all the necessary training required to pass the bachelor's exam and encounter dermatological diseases daily. Currently, he is posted as a House Physician in the Medical Unit 3 Allied Hospital Faisalabad, where he encounters all kinds of hepatic, cardiac, neurological, and dermatological diseases daily.

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