Why is my hair falling out? How much hair loss is normal daily for men and women?
Hair with plenty of volume, movement, and shine is what most people consider healthy. So when you look down at the drain and see a clump of lost hair strands, it’s easy to assume that there’s a health problem causing hair loss. But some hair loss is normal for everyone and at every age.
When you wash your hair thoroughly in the shower, hairs that are already loose or disconnected from your scalp congregate near the drain. While it might look like a lot, you’re probably seeing normal hair shedding.
If you’re experiencing hair loss that’s unusual for you, including bald spots, patchiness, and clumps of hair falling out, you should see your primary care physician or dermatologist. Keep reading to find out if you are shedding a normal amount of hair each day.
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it’s normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. For people with longer hair strands, losing them may be more noticeable. Since there are 100,000 hair follicles — or more — on each person’s scalp, the loss of 100 or so hair strands a day doesn’t make a big difference in appearance.
Women tend to lose more hair strands per day than men. There’s no way to measure the difference objectively, because daily heat styling and frequent hair coloring plays a big part in how much of your hair sheds. Approximately 40 percent of women lose extra hair every day because of the way they style it. Women are also more likely than men to experience periods of increased hair shedding due to life events like pregnancy and menopause.
There are hundreds of thousands of hairs on your head, and every single one them is at a different stage of its two- to five-year lifespan. Hair grows and dies in phases, and nutrition, stress, hygiene, and daily styling all play a role in how much hair you lose daily.
The phase in which a hair strand is growing is called the “anagen” phase, and 90 percent of the hair strands you have are currently in that phase. Hair grows about 1 centimeter per month during the anagen phase. When something stops your hair from growing, it’s called anagen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is what you would typically think of when you think of “hair loss.”
The catagen phase comes next. Only about 1 to 2 percent of your hairs are in the catagen phase at any given time. This phase lasts two to three weeks. During the catagen phase, the hair strand stops growing.
The last phase of hair growth is the telogen phase. Hairs in the telogen phase are also called “club hairs.” During this phase, a hair strand will be at rest as it prepares to detach from your scalp. About 8 to 9 percent of your hair is in this phase at any given time.
Telogen effluvium describes having more than 10 percent of your hair in the telogen phase. Telogen effluvium is temporary, but more hair will fall out while you have it. Stress, surgery, or even having a fever for a few days can bring on telogen effluvium, but your hair will probably be back to normal within six months.
Excessive washing, bleaching, brushing, and heat styling can also have an impact on how much of your hair falls out every day. Once your hair follicle has been stretched or split as a result of a cosmetic hair treatment, the structure of the hair follicle is compromised.
You can perform a “pull test” on your hair at home. Start with a small area of clean, dry hair, and run your fingers through it, tugging gently once you get to the ends of your hair strands. If more than two or three hairs are left in your hand after each tug, you may be experiencing telogen or anagen effluvium. No more than 10 hairs per 100 strands being tugged should be coming out. You’ll need a doctor to determine the cause.
See your doctor if you’re concerned about how much hair you are losing every day. A gradual thinning on the top of your head, the appearance of patchy or bald spots on your scalp, and full-body hair loss are signs that there may be an underlying health condition. A doctor will be able to assess whether your hair loss is normal shedding.
Hair growth solutions: Natural remedies to regrow your hair
Your hair is said to be your crowning glory, and it’s normal to want to improve your hair if it’s not to your satisfaction. If you’re trying to regrow hair that you’ve lost or would simply like to improve the hair that you have, try some of these natural remedies. Their proven benefits can help to stimulate growth and enhance the hair that you have.
- Massage. Massaging the scalp can help to restore hair growth and can be used in conjunction with hair oils and masks. This stimulates the dermal papilla cells and therefore increases hair growth and volume
- Aloe vera has long been used for treating hair loss. It also soothes the scalp and conditions hair. It can reduce dandruff and unblock hair follicles that may be blocked by excess oil. You can apply pure aloe vera gel to your scalp and hair a few times per week. You can also use shampoo and conditioner that contain aloe vera.
- Coconut oil contains fatty acids that penetrate inside the hair shaft and reduce protein loss from hair. Coconut oil can be used either before or after you wash your hair depending on your hair type. If your hair tends to be oily, you can do a leave-in treatment overnight or for a few hours before you wash it. Massage coconut oil into your scalp and all of your hair. If your hair is dry, you can also use it as a leave-in treatment. There needs to be more research on coconut oil as a promoter of hair growth, but it’s been shown to improve the health and luster of hair and has been used for centuries.
- Fish oil. I have a friend that takes fish oil everyday and she has the longest, most beautiful blonde hair I have every seen. Consuming omega fatty acids can help to improve your hair from the inside, since they are filled with nutrients and proteins. Taking an omega supplement along with antioxidants helps to improve hair density and diameter. It also reduces hair loss. Omega fatty acids help your cells to work correctly and can boost immunity, leading to better overall health. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
- Ginseng: Taking ginseng supplements can promote hair growth by stimulating hair follicles. Ginsenosides are the active components of ginseng and are thought to be responsible for its positive effect on hair. Always take as directed and be sure to check for any possible side effects.
- Lemon: You can use fresh lemon juice or lemon oil since they are said to enhance hair quality and growth. Lemon oil can help you to maintain a healthy scalp and encourage hair growth. Apply fresh lemon juice to your scalp and hair 15 minutes before you shampoo. You can use lemon essential oil diluted in a carrier oil as a hair mask.
- Rosemary essential oil: Rosemary is one of the first essential oils people choose to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. Rosemary essential oil stimulates new hair growth and can be used to treat androgenetic alopecia. Mix a few drops of rosemary oil into a carrier oil and massage it into your hair and scalp before rinsing. Do this a few times per week. Add a few drops of rosemary oil into your shampoo and conditioner on a daily basis. Do not use essential oils directly on the skin. Always mix them in a carrier oil or shampoo.
- Geranium essential oil: You can use geranium essential oil to promote hair growth and boost circulation. Mix a few drops into a carrier oil and use it to make a hair mask. You can also add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner. Geranium EO can help to strengthen, hydrate, and restore your hair.
It’s not unusual to lose hair strands every day. But if you’re worried about clumps of hair in your hairbrush or in the shower drain, talk to your doctor. Factors like stress, medication, and underlying medical conditions can all aggravate hair loss. A professional assessment can put your mind at ease. There are several natural ways you can stimulate your hair to grow including but not limited to massaging, aloe vera, coconut oil, fish oil, ginseng; essential oils of rosemary, geranium, lemon, among others. Develop a routine and stick to it bearing in mind that it may take up to 6 months to see desired results. Consistency is key!!
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