Everyone Sheds, But How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
Although most people would consider healthy hair to have volume, movement, and shine, hair loss is normal for everyone at any age.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal in A DayWhen you wash your hair in the shower, any strands of hair that are disconnected or loose will gather at the drain. While this may appear like a lot of hair, more than likely it is normal hair shedding. However, you shouldn't ignore bald spots or hair loss in big clumps. It's a good idea to see a dermatologist or make an appointment with your primary care physician if you have those issues. The American Academy of Dermatologist says that the average human may lose up to 100 strands of hair daily. If your hair is longer, it may be easier to notice. Because we have about 100,000 hair follicles or more on our scalps, 100 strands of hair isn't that much. What might surprise you is that women tend to lose more hair than men on a daily basis. Approximately 40 percent of women lose their hair because they style it in a particular way1. When a woman is menstruating, she might also shed more hair as a result. This can also be true during menopause or pregnancy when hormonal changes are taking place.
The Life Cycle of HairWe have hundreds of thousands of hairs on our head and every single one of them is somewhere in its 2-5 year lifespan. Our hair grows, lives, and dies in phases. Stress, hygiene, and styling also play a part in how much hair we lose each day. Anagen Phase: A growing hair strand is in the 'anagen' phase. About 90% of the hair on your head is currently in the anagen phase2. During this growth process, your hair will grow approximately 1cm per month. When your hair stops growing, it enters into 'anagen effluvium'. Anagen effluvium is what you would typically think of when you think of hair loss. Catagen Phase: About 1 or 2 percent of the hairs on our head are in the 'catagen' phase at any given time3. It can last up to three weeks and it's when the hair stops growing. Telogen Phase: Finally, the hair enters into the telogen phase. During this phase, 8 to 9 percent of your hairs are known as 'club hairs'4. The hair is at rest and will eventually detach from the scalp. If you have over 10% of your hair in the telogen phase, you are experiencing a temporary condition known as Telogen effluvium. It can occur from any number of different conditions such as surgery, stress, or illness. You will experience accelerated hair loss during this time, but it will typically go back to normal within six months.
What Causes Hair to Fall Out?Losing hair every day is natural and should be expected. Many health problems, including stress, can cause accelerated hair loss. Other issues leading to hair loss include the following:
- Female pattern hair loss
- Thyroid conditions
- Nutritional deficiencies
References: 1. Styling without shedding: Novel topical formula reduces hair shedding by contracting the arrector pili muscle, 2018 Jan;31(1). doi: 10.1111/dth.12575. Epub 2017 Nov 28 2. Promotion of anagen, increased hair density and reduction of hair fall in a clinical setting following identification of FGF5-inhibiting compounds via a novel 2-stage process, 2017; 10: 71–85 3. Promotion of anagen, increased hair density and reduction of hair fall in a clinical setting following identification of FGF5-inhibiting compounds via a novel 2-stage process, 2017; 10: 71–85 4. Promotion of anagen, increased hair density and reduction of hair fall in a clinical setting following identification of FGF5-inhibiting compounds via a novel 2-stage process, 2017; 10: 71–85