When Should You Worry About Hair Loss

finding hair strands on your pillowEveryone experiences some hair loss each day – unless you have no hair, of course. Still, everyone wonders occasionally – how much hair loss is normal? Unfortunately, there is no single answer.

Hair loss varies according to several factors. Some of these factors are normal and don’t affect overall hair quantity, some are cyclical, and some types of hair loss are a bigger cause for concern. Knowing which type of hair loss you have is the key to having peace of mind and knowing whether you need to take action.

How Does Hair Grow?

Knowing the basics of hair growth cycles makes it easier to understand normal versus abnormal hair loss. While it appears that hair just grows continuously unless cut, that’s not true for individual hairs. Each hair strand goes through phases that include shedding. For a normal healthy head of hair, more hair is in the growth stage at any given time than the shedding phase.

Unlike animals, human hair growth and shedding cycles are not cyclical or seasonal. Instead, the growth and shedding pattern for any given follicle is random as are the number of hairs in any given stage. Hair cycles involve three phases:

  1. The Anagen Phase is the active growth portion of the cycle. If hair is not shed in the last phase of the cycle, new hair that forms in the anagen phase will push it out and replace it. Under normal conditions, hair will stay in the anagen phase for two to six years, growing at an approximate rate of 1 cm every 28 days. People who can’t seem to grow their hair beyond a certain length have a short anagen phase.
  2. The Catagen Phase is the transitional phase and lasts between two and three weeks. In this phase, hair growth stops and a club hair is formed from the root that enables shedding.
  3. The Telogen Phase is the resting phase. Normal daily hair loss for a healthy person involves shedding hairs in this phase or hair that is being pushed out by new hairs at the beginning of the anagen phase.

How Much Hair Should You Lose Daily?

So how much hair loss is normal? Somewhere between 60 to 100 hair strands a day, depending upon the amount of hair you have per square inch. While that sounds like a lot, the normal scalp has more than 100,000 hair follicles and each follicle can produce one to four hairs at a time so it’s a small percentage. Natural blondes lose more hair than natural brunettes or redheads because lighter hair colors tend to have more hair per square inch.

Weather can affect hair loss, though not as reliably or predictably as it does in animals, like dogs. July and August and November through early January are common times for additional hair shedding. This is partially in relation to the fact that hair grows faster during periods of extended daylight to protect the scalp from sunburn.

Extended periods of high stress can also trigger hair loss. One type of hair loss commonly related to stress is telogen effluvium, also known as excessive shedding. Fortunately, hair loss that is only due to stress tends to be temporary. Once the stress is over, normal hair cycles will resume. However, stress can also exacerbate hair loss caused by other reasons, such as male (or female) pattern hair loss, genetic conditions, etc. Alleviating stress won’t solve that underlying problem.

In addition to prolonged high stress, such as when caring for someone sick, losing a job, relationship troubles or divorce, etc.) temporary excessive hair shedding is also common when a person has:

  • Undergone trauma or surgery
  • Lost 20 pounds or more
  • Had a high fever
  • Given birth
  • Ceased taking birth control pills

Is It Normal to Lose Hair Every Day?

So, is it normal to lose hair every day? Yes, and you can lose more depending upon the condition of your hair. Over-processed, damaged hair tends to become brittle, which can lead to breakage of strands without shedding. Although, both types of hair loss look the same. People with long hair might also notice hair loss more because the strands they find are longer and appear to be more significant as a result. So, as long as no bald patches appear on their scalp, it’s not generally an issue.

Is it normal to find hair on your pillow? Yes, within reason. We’re constantly shedding hair so finding some on a pillow isn’t surprising. However, if you find a large clump of hair on your pillow day after day, you may want to consult a doctor to be sure there is no underlying medical condition. Finding a lot of strands on a pillow? That might just be timing and circumstances. See if it continues and if it does, then consult a doctor. Similarly, if you are not sure if you’re just going through a phase of excessive shedding, due to stress or something else temporary, or dealing with hair loss, a doctor can determine the difference.

Get a Free Hair Loss Analysis

If you are experiencing hair loss, call RHRLI for a free consultation. Hair restoration surgeon Dr. Baiju Gohil has years of experience at a state-of-the-art facility using the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant System. Contact RHRLI for a personal consultation with Dr. Gohil himself to assess whether robotic hair restoration is a good choice for you. We also offer a free online hair analysis to determine if robotic hair restoration is right for you. Learn more by contacting us today.

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