Have you ever noticed an alarming amount of hair in your shower drain while taking a shower? Yes, you could have scrubbed your scalp too hard and caused your hair follicles to panic, but what if this sign of hair loss is a sign of something else?
The truth is that losing hair daily is entirely normal. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, losing 50 to 100 strands of hair per day is normal. This shedding is caused by your body’s natural renewal cycle, according to Medical News Today. However, if you notice that your hair is falling out more frequently for weeks on end (for example, in your shower drain or after brushing your hair), it’s worth looking into why this is happening and how to fix it.
We spoke with two trichologists to learn more about why hair loss changes and possibly treat it. This is what they had to say about it.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
While the average person loses 50 to 100 strands per day, Penny James, a salon trichologist, tells that anything over 150 is abnormal. And, because this is a difficult thing to count, it’s essential to pay attention to the amount of hair left in your hands, on your brush, or the bathroom floor after you’ve shampooed.
“What happens is that our hair’s natural growth cycle is complicated,” James explains. There are three different stages in which your hair can be: “Anagen is the growing stage, during which 85 percent of our hair is in the cycle at any given time; this can last up to six years. Then there’s the resting stage, or catagen, which affects about 5% of your hair and can last up to three weeks. Finally, the falling out stage is known as telogen, and it occurs when about 10% of your hair is ready to fall out naturally and new hair growth. Our hair will continue to work in this cycle for the rest of our lives.”
However, Gretchen Friese, a BosleyMD certified trichologist, points out that there are other times in our lives when we shed more than usual. One of these times is known as “seasonal shedding,” which occurs when your follicles enter a shedding phase due to a temperature change. “However, if you’ve been losing excess hair for more than a month,” Friese advises, “you might want to look into a remedy.”
What Causes Hair Loss In The First Place?
According to Friese, stress, hormonal changes, childbirth, thyroid issues, medications, vitamin deficiencies, excessive weight loss, and some autoimmune disorders can all cause hair loss.
James provided a checklist to consider before calling your doctor if you believe your hair has been shedding excessively for more than three months.
In the last three months:
- Have you changed your medication? Have you started taking a new drug?
- Have you ever had food poisoning?
- Have you been on a strict diet and eliminated protein from your diet?
- Do you have COVID-19? Are you recovering from COVID-19?
- Are you very stressed?
- Are you menopausal?
- Are you under stress?
- Have you been ill?
Suppose you answered yes to any of the above questions or suspect something more serious is wrong with your body (such as thyroid problems or an autoimmune disorder). In that case, you should consult a medical professional or a trichologist to figure out what’s wrong. “Get some blood work done to rule out any underlying conditions,” James advises. “Speaking with a trichologist can help you figure out what blood tests you might need.”
However, once the problem has been identified and a solution has been provided, there is good news. According to James, excessive shedding will usually correct itself. Remember that hair grows in three-month cycles, so it will take about three months to repair.
“When there’s a lot of shedding, the hair’s natural cycle is disrupted, and the hair is pushed into the telogen stage too soon,” James explains. “Your hair will return to its normal growth pattern once you’ve corrected your diet, improved your health, and recovered from an illness. The new growth will take three to six months to appear.”
What Is The Best Treatment For Hair Loss?
Because there are so many reasons why people lose their hair, it’s essential to speak with a doctor to find a personal anecdote. Most trichologists, according to James, recommend that people do the following every day to keep their scalp and follicles healthy:
- Having a well-balanced diet is essential.
- Vitamins B, 6, and 12, as well as vitamin D.
- Ensuring you wash your hair at least three times a week is essential (for natural, curly hair, once a week).
- If you’re wearing your hair out, then wash your hair twice a week.
“Scalp health is very important,” Friese says. “The importance of maintaining a healthy environment for hair growth cannot be overstated. Wash your hair and scalp regularly to avoid a build-up of oils, sweat, products, and debris. The majority of people do not clean their scalp thoroughly enough.”
Also, pay attention to how you style your hair. “Tight hairstyles like buns, ponytails, and tight braids should be avoided,” Friese advises. “Hair loss can be caused by follicle tension. Brush your hair gently. If necessary, use a detangler to avoid too much tension while brushing.”
However, James advises against relying on hair products that claim to regrow hair because they are frequently deceiving. “Our hair is the tiniest and most complex organ in our bodies. Our hair is a fibre that needs to be cared for and nourished.” That’s why she suggests seeing a trichologist to figure out what’s causing your hair loss so an expert can recommend the best hair treatment for you.
If seeing a trichologist isn’t in the cards right now, James recommends determining your hair type and purchasing high-quality shampoo and conditioner. “Natural oils such as lavender, rosemary, jojoba, almond, and avocado oil can also be used to treat your hair and scalp. These ingredients can be mixed and applied directly to the scalp and hair as a scalp and hair treatment. Leave on for 20 minutes, then shampoo thoroughly. (If you have a naturally oily scalp, this treatment is not for you.) “
However, it’s important to remember that there’s a reason your hair is falling out in the first place, and an at-home remedy might not be enough to solve the problem. “Find out why then act,” James advises. “If you continue to use a lot of products blindly without understanding why your hair is falling out, it will continue to fall out.”