The Lowdown on Hair Loss: How Much is Normal?

hair-brushing
(Photo: iStock) 

If you’ve ever spotted a clump of hair in the shower drain and had a mini meltdown, you’re not alone. 

A luxurious head of thick, healthy hair is probably every woman’s dream, so it’s natural to panic if you feel like you’re losing your locks. But experts say what’s happening is more than likely very normal.

The average person loses between 60 and 100 hairs per day, according to trichologist a.k.a. trained scalp expert, Anabel Kingsley. This number varies so greatly because every person’s scalp is different; longer hair appears as though more has fallen out, while shorter hair might appear to shed less.

Regardless of how normal shedding your strands may be, it’s definitely alarming to see the effects of it on your bathroom floor. But before you freak out, you should know that there are definite - and totally normal - factors that can cause you to lose more than usual.

The Stress Factor

Your hair is super sensitive to any sort of stress your body might be under, from high fevers to crash diets to a taxing day at the office. When you’ve just been through a period of high stress, your hair can shed at an alarming rate even six to 10 weeks after the fact.

But don’t fret just yet — Kingsley maintains your hair will stop falling out eventually and grow back as usual. "The good news is that as long as your system has recovered and you continue to take care of yourself, there's no cause for concern," says Kingsley.

All Natural 

Another reason you could be noticing more hair loss is due to changing seasons. Many women realize that their hair sheds much more in late summer and much less in winter. Also, the amount of times you wash your hair every week plays a big role; if you only rinse once or twice per week you will tend to notice much more fallout has built up. An explanation as simple as genetics is another factor playing a huge role, dictating whether your shedding status leans more toward 60 strands a day or 100 strands a day.

Post-Pregnancy

If you’ve recently had a baby, you should probably brace yourself for some excessive hair loss, too. Many new moms experience sudden shedding anywhere between three and six months postpartum, which is made even more alarming due to the fact that pregnancy hormones had kept her with a full head of lush locks prior to labor and delivery. But take heart, new mamas — doctors say that by the time your baby turns one your hair loss should be finished and your mane should be back to normal.

Too Much Style

Highlighting or using a flat iron on your hair won’t technically affect it falling out, but it does contribute to the problem. Harsh chemicals or high heat damages the hair’s protein structure, which weakens the hair shaft and can lead to breakage that resembles hair loss. To remedy this, experts say you should add biotin hair supplements to your beauty routine as well as using a deep conditioning hair mask to restore hair health.

Cause for Concern

"If excessive hair shedding continues for longer than three months, seek the advice of a dermatologist or trichologist," says Kingsley. When your hair falls out and doesn’t grow back, it can be a huge red flag that something is wrong internally.

According to doctors, the most common causes of long-term hair loss are deficiencies in iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, as well as hypo or hyperthyroid complications. As long as you can get to the root of the problem, you can find the solution that’s right for you and work on getting your luscious locks back in no time.