Are You Experiencing Normal Shedding or Hair Loss?

If you've cleaned what looks like “a lot” of hair out of your hairbrush or shower drain recently, you may be wondering if the amount of hair you’re losing is considered normal. Trying to figure out whether you're experiencing normal shedding or significant hair loss can be tricky—but ultimately it comes down to knowing what's considered standard for you and your body.

What does normal hair shedding look like? 

The average person sheds about 50-100 hairs per day. While most of us aren't counting the number of hairs we lose on wash day or when we comb our hair, we're probably used to seeing around the same amount on the shower wall.

If you're someone who extends your wash days sometimes, either through dry shampooing or protective styles, you aren't shedding those hairs, so it can seem like you’re losing more once you do wash. However, rest assured it’s generally the same amount of regular shedding—the amount of hair is just compounded by time.

How to determine if you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning

Shedding strands is a natural part of the hair growth cycle—you shed hair to allow a new hair to grow in its place. Sometimes, though, that cycle can get disrupted, whether through hormone imbalance, stress, or even damage from tight styling; when that happens, it can cause you to lose more hairs than normal and sometimes even prevent new hairs from growing in their place.



Knowing what’s normal for your hair and scalp can go a long way in helping to determine what kind of hair loss (if any) you’re experiencing. If you have a solid grasp on how much you normally shed on wash days and how dense your hair is on regular basis (say, how thick your ponytail is, or how much of your scalp you can see through your hair at any given time), then these signs of hair thinning or loss will be easier to spot

- Your hairline is thinner or receding: this can be a sign of either traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by tight styling, or androgenic alopecia, a hormonal (and hereditary) type of hair loss.

- Your scalp is more visible through your hair: overall hair thinning can be caused by telogen effluvium, hair loss caused by stress or a major event (think pregnancy or surgery)

- You have chunks of hair missing: this is likely a condition called alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune condition causing the body to attack the hair follicles.



If you’ve noticed a break from your baseline, consult with your doctor to help determine what the root cause of your hair loss might be. Luckily, there are many options for treatment (including topical treatments) that can help reduce thinning and even help regrow hair.

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