Hair professionals around the world can attest to being asked this question many times over - how much hair loss is normal?
Concerns such as “i lost lots of hair when shampooing in the shower last night. Am I thinning?” and “should i be worried if i lose X amount of hair [insert photo of shed hair]?” are commonplace but are often not a reason to be concerned.
Let’s tackle these two questions specifically. Many of you may or may not be aware of the hair shed rule - expect to lose up to 150 hairs a day. Now the hairs referred to in that statement are shed hairs; hair that has shed naturally as a result of the hair growth cycle. How will you know if it’s a shed hair? The shed hairs are generally long hairs that have a bulb - a hard, white club shaped nodule - at the root end. This hair may fall loose without any assistance but often some help is required for the hair to untangle from the other 149,000 hairs on your head and this usually appears in the form of manipulation.
There are many people that don’t manipulate their hair daily - those with curly hair such as afro hair as well as those with coarse (thick) hair come to mind - this means that those 50 - 150 hairs will accumulate to perhaps comprise a few days or even weeks worth of shed hair.
Shampooing in the shower often loosens hair that has been shed but is unable to detach from the head. The force of the running water along with the rigorous manipulation provides the environment for that hair to detach and fall freely. This is often why people notice seemingly increased shedding after shampooing.
The length of your hair also plays a role here. As your hair grows, you seemingly start to lose more hair right?! Wrong, i’m sure you will agree that the longer strands can create the illusion of more hair lost when in fact, the bundle of shed hair that you are examining doesn’t contain more strands, just longer ones that when wound and bundled appear fuller.
So, to tackle the uncertainty of hair loss let’s try an exercise. The next time you wash and detangle your hair take a photo. You don’t need to do anything with it. Just keep it in your memory bank and the next time that you feel uncertain about the amount of hair you have lost during a detangling session look back and compare the two.
Generally we wait until we have a problem to take note but if you preempt the concern you can save yourself a whole lot of time and worry wondering whether you are genuinely losing more hair. If the size of the bundle of hair is significantly larger/greater than previous hair loss or you’re seeing more than 7-9 hairs between your fingers after running your hands through a small section, of say 100 hairs, then it is worth contacting a professional.