It's considered normal for hair to experience a shedding phase and breakage during the natural cycle of hair growth. After all, your hair is constantly growing and regenerating so some hair loss is expected.
But, if you're experiencing more hair loss than normal (like seeing large clumps of hair on the shower floor or the shower drain) and you're wondering how much hair loss is normal, we've got your answers.
We're diving deep into all things hair shedding and hair loss, what amount of hair is normal to lose each day and what are the treatment options to get your hair back to being healthy.
Is it normal for hair to fall out?
It's completely normal for hair to fall out — in fact, it's all part of the natural cycle of hair growth. The cycle of hair growth has 4 different stages: the anagen phase, the catagen phase, the telogen phase and the exogen phase .
Let's run through each phase of hair growth and what your hair goes through during these periods.
The anagen phase
The anagen phase (a.k.a the growth phase) is the first stage where cells in the root of the hair are dividing fast so new hair is grown. In this stage, your hair grows half an inch per month and usually lasts 3-5 years.
The catagen phase
Next up is the catagen phase, which is the shortest phase in the natural cycle of hair growth, lasting about 2-3 weeks. The catagen phase marks the end of active hair growth where individual hairs are cut off from the blood supply and new cells that produce more hair are cut off too.
The telogen phase
The telogen phase is a resting stage where hair strands are in the hair follicles but aren't actually growing. The telogen phase lasts for about 3 months and resting hair remains in the follicle until it is forced out by new anagen hair.
The exogen phase
Lastly, the exogen phase is the final stage of hair growth where hair strands are let out from the hair follicle and fall out. This process is repeated over and over again and hair shedding is completely normal during this cycle.
How much daily hair loss is normal?
The average person loses between 50 to 100 hairs per day but if you're noticing excessive hair shedding or increased hair loss, your natural hair growth cycle may be disrupted .
There also may be other factors at play here like hereditary hair loss (a.k.a male pattern baldness) or a hormonal imbalance.
How can I tell if I'm losing too much hair?
You can't exactly count the strands on your hair to see how much hair loss is normal or what is considered excessive shedding. Losing hair also differs from person to person and can look different based on the individual's hair type.
But there are a few signs and symptoms of hair loss, thinning and shedding that you can look out for .
Gradual thinning on the top of the head
Hair loss often begins to recede at the hairline on the forehead and is the most common kind of hair loss.
Patchy bald spots
A typical pattern of hair loss is patchy and may look like circular bald spots on the scalp. Sometimes the skin can be itchy or even painful before the hair falls out.
Noticeable hair loss
This kind of hair loss is usually temporary but can happen because of a stressful event where you're system is shocked. You may notice large clumps of hair shedding or loss when you're washing your hair, on the shower floor or in the shower drain.
Patches of scaling on the scalp
If you're noticing hair breakage, swelling and redness it might be hair loss due to ringworm.
Hair loss vs hair shedding
Sometimes people can confuse the difference between hair loss and hair shedding but there are differences between them. Let's break it down.
Hair shedding is normal and happens to the best of us. How much hair shedding is normal depends on if you're losing excessive or noticeable amounts of hair. Excessive hair shedding (a.k.a telogen effluvium) is usually temporary and can be caused by constant stress or underlying medical conditions.
Excessive hair shedding can be caused by the following:
- Stressful life events
- Recovering from an illness
- Losing a lot of weight
- Recently had an operation
- High fever .
Since hair shedding is usually temporary, when your body readjusts, the hair shedding tends to stop and within 6-9 months and your hair becomes full and healthy again .
Hair loss generally occurs because something (either physical, mental or genetic) is stopping your hair from growing. It might be because of male pattern baldness, which is a genetically inherited type of hair loss or it could be because of an underlying health issue or a certain medication you're taking.
The best way to identify if you're experiencing hair loss or hair shedding is to speak to a medical professional so they can assess how much hair loss is normal.
What causes hair loss?
There are a bunch of reasons why you may be experiencing excessive hair shedding or hair loss — from genetic factors to stressors in your life and certain medications.
Male pattern baldness is a type of hair loss caused by genetics, meaning if someone in your family has male pattern baldness, you're more likely to lose hair too.
Male pattern baldness typically happens at a slower rate so you're not going to experience significant hair loss at once. It also follows a predictable pattern with a receding hairline and bald spots .
Stress and mental health
Stressful life events and persistent anxiety can cause temporary hair loss, shedding hair and thinning hair known as telogen effluvium. Hair follicles go into a resting state which increases hair shedding.
Consistent stress can also cause trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder that is categorised by a persistent and irresistible urge to pull your hair out . Trichotillomania is a mental health disorder so it's best to speak to a medical professional to get properly diagnosed and assessed.
Studies have shown that hair loss is linked with androgens hormones, especially dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which are involved in male sexual development and DHT also regulates hair growth .
When your body is producing DHT in excessive amounts, it can disrupt the hair growth cycle and cause hair loss and shrinking.
Certain medications and supplements may be responsible for losing excess hair although this happens in rare cases.
Medications like beta-blockers, blood thinners, antidepressants and thyroid medications can cause hair loss .
What is the best treatment for hair loss?
If you're experiencing excessive hair shedding and hair fall that's more than your usual amount, there are a few treatment options out there from non-prescription hair growth boosters, making lifestyle changes and prescription options too.
If you're already experiencing some hair loss or shedding, losing more hair can be prevented with the right diet. Nutritional deficiencies can impact your hair follicles, which need minerals, vitamins and protein to stay healthy .
Vitamin D deficiencies can cause hair loss as can iron deficiencies, so eating foods with plenty of iron like fish, red meat, leafy vegetables and nuts can help diffuse hair loss .
Prescription hair loss treatment
Pilot's hair loss treatment uses clinically proven hair loss medications with a personalised treatment plan to go with your individual needs.
Pilot uses 2 types of medications — an oral medication that blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, while the second medication works to increase and stimulate blood flow to the hair follicle. This ensures hair continues to grow and you're left with healthy hair.
Pilot's hair loss treatment sees 83% of men keeping their hair, 66% regrowing their hair and only 2% of men experiencing side effects from treatment (which stops once treatment is ceased) .
Hair growth boosters
In case you're looking for a non-prescription alternative, Pilot's Hair Growth Booster Kit can be used on its own or in combination with medication for an extra push of hair growth.
The Hair Growth Booster Kit contains our Thicken Shampoo and Keep Conditioner, containing active ingredients including saw palmetto, zinc, caffeine, niacinamide and biotin, which all encourage healthy hair.
The Derma Roller also helps to promote hair growth through micro-needling, while the Biotin Hair Gummies are packed with biotin, supporting the synthesis of keratin, the protective protein that makes up your hair (and makes it stronger and less prone to damage).
Hair transplant surgery
Hair transplant surgery is generally used in the later stages of hair loss when hair falls out in excessive amounts. But, hair transplant surgery is the most invasive and expensive way to treat hair loss and involves taking hair follicles from healthy areas of the head and transplanting them to areas that need hair growth.
It's worth noting that hair transplant surgery is pretty expensive, costing anywhere from AU$11,000 and AU$18,000 and has some risky side effects like bleeding and infections, nerve damage, death of skin grafts and tissue death around the wound .
If you're starting to notice that your hair is falling out, there's no need to panic. It's completely normal to experience hair shedding. But, if you're experiencing more hair falling out than normal, there are plenty of options available to get your hair back to looking and feeling healthy again.
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