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Hair Shedding: What's Normal and When To Worry

Hair shedding is a common occurrence that most people experience on a daily basis. While finding strands of hair in your brush or shower drain might be unsettling, it's important to understand that a certain amount of hair shedding is completely normal. Let's dive into the factors that influence hair shedding, what constitutes a normal range, and when you should start considering seeking professional advice.

Factors Affecting Hair Shedding

  • Hair Growth Cycles: Hair goes through different growth phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting and shedding). On average, around 85-90% of the hair on your scalp is in the growth phase at any given time, while the remaining percentage is in the resting or shedding phase.
  • Genetics: Your genetics play a significant role in determining your hair thickness, texture, and natural shedding patterns. If your parents experienced a certain level of hair shedding, it's likely that you'll experience a similar pattern.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during pregnancy, puberty, or menopause, can influence the hair growth cycle. An imbalance in hormones can lead to excessive shedding, but this often resolves itself once hormone levels stabilize.
  • Stress and Illness: Physical or emotional stress, as well as illnesses or surgeries, can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, causing a temporary increase in hair shedding. Once the underlying cause is addressed, shedding usually returns to normal.

What's Considered Normal Hair Shedding?

Experts suggest that the average person sheds between 50 to 100 hairs per day. This might seem like a lot, but when you consider that the scalp contains around 100,000 hair follicles, this level of shedding is usually not cause for concern. It's important to note that if you do not wash or brush your hair daily, you may notice more shedding on wash days. This could be up to 50 to 100 times the # of days between your last wash!

 

When to Start Worrying

While daily hair shedding is a normal process, there are certain signs that could indicate a problem:

  • Sudden Increase in Shedding: If you notice a sudden and significant increase in hair shedding, it could be a sign of an underlying issue such as stress, hormonal imbalances, or a medical condition. Consulting a dermatologist or healthcare professional is recommended in such cases.
  • Visible Thinning: If you notice that your hair is visibly thinning, especially in specific areas, it's worth seeking professional advice. This could be a sign of conditions like androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) or other hair disorders.
  • Bald Patches: The appearance of bald patches or areas of complete hair loss warrants immediate attention. This could be indicative of conditions like alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that affects the hair follicles.

In conclusion, a certain level of hair shedding is completely normal and is simply a part of the hair growth cycle. Factors such as genetics, hormones, and overall health play a role in determining how much hair you shed on a daily basis. Shedding between 50 to 100 hairs a day is well within the range of normalcy for most individuals.

However, it's important to stay vigilant and attuned to your body. Sudden increases in shedding, visible thinning, or the appearance of bald patches should prompt you to seek professional advice. A dermatologist or healthcare provider can help identify any underlying issues and provide guidance on managing or treating excessive hair shedding.

Remember, while hair shedding can be a concern for many, it's often a natural process that our bodies go through. By understanding what's normal and what's not, you can take the appropriate steps to maintain healthy hair and address any concerns effectively. 

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