I often write about hair loss or shedding and have a blog which addresses the same. One of the more common questions that I’m asked is: “how many shed hairs per day is normal. Can you really lose 100 hairs per day and still be within normal limits?” I’ll answer these questions and explain the answer in the following article.
Your Hair Cycle: Why Some Shedding / Hair Loss Is Normal: Hair goes through three phases is its life cycle. The first is the anagen phase. Ultimately, this is the healthiest, most normal phase where you get the healthiest hair. The hair is actively growing and is deeply embedded into the follicle and is being properly nourished. If you’re experiencing hair thinning, your goal is really to get your hair in the anagen phase and keep it there for as long as possible.
The second phase is the catagen phase. This is essentially when the hair begins to die off and gets ready to shed. I often call this the “dead hair” phase. The hair is no longer being nourished and is no longer actively growing. I was often able to tell when I was approaching a shed because I’d start to see a lot of fly away hairs that couldn’t be tamed. These hairs were in catagen and were getting ready to shed.
The final phase is the telogen phase and this is when hairs fall out, although this is technically called the “resting phase.” Hairs stay in this phase for about two months and then fall out. This is why folks who have telogen effluvium (excessive hair shedding) often notice a lot of hair loss about three months after the “trigger,” like giving birth, starting a new medication, etc. It takes that long for the hair to “rest” and then finally fall.
Why 100 Hairs Per Day Isn’t Always Typical: Dermatologists will tell you that at any given time, about ten percent of hairs on your head are in the telogen or falling out phase. So, that’s why it’s said that in a typical head of hair that has 100,000 or more hairs, 100 hairs per day would be about ten percent. But, not everyone has 100,000 hairs. And, if you’ve been shedding for a while, this may no longer be your reality.
Some doctors will tell you that 50 – 100 hairs per day is no cause for concern, but, that really doesn’t tell the whole story. Every one is different and you know what is normal for you. A couple of dermatologists that I consulted about my hair loss would tell me that I was technically not that much over normal limits. However, I knew what was normal for me. And, I knew that my hair had become MUCH thinner (my pony tail went from the size of a quarter to the size of a dime) as the result of losing over 100 hairs per day for months.
Granted, it’s normal to lose more hair than normal seasonally. No one loses the exact same number of hairs day after day. If you’re shedding seasonally, then it may be normal to lose 100 hairs for a few days, but this shouldn’t go on over a longer period of time with no end in sight, day after day.
The exception is true cases of telogen effluvium where something has changed in your body to place a greater percentage of your hair in the “resting” phase. This includes pregnancy, switching birth control pills, changing your medication, or having surgery. Some believe that stress can cause TE, but not every one concedes this.
The Importance Of Regrowth: No matter the cause of shedding or whether you’re within normal limits are not, healthy, thick regrowth is vital. Because, at the end of the day, if you’re able to regrow and replace what was lost with the same quality of hair, you’ll come away with a net loss that is not so bad.
But, if your regrowth comes in sickly, miniaturized, or malnourished because of chronic shedding, scalp problems, or a trigger that you are missing or have not properly addressed, the over all thinning of your hair is going to be much more pronounced and noticeable.