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Female hair loss: What's normal and what's not

Nadine Avola



Nadine is a film/TV actress, appearing in the new Vacation movie this summer. She's also been in Sydney White, Guiding Light, and Game On — an Italian Disney TV series.

Are we actually losing hair — or are we just paranoid?

In our society, aging has become such a bad thing that many women (including me) try to avoid it at all costs. The days of aging gracefully have been replaced with injection appointments and nights slathered in anti-aging creams.

In any case, hair loss is part of aging and can be a scary thought. So, how can we tell if we are actually losing too much hair, or if we're just overly worried for no reason?

Dr. Ava Shamban, a Beverly Hills dermatologist and the author of Heal Your Skin, stepped in to help. She graciously answered all of our fanatical hair loss questions to put us at ease and give us the cold, hard facts.

At the end of the day, let's keep in mind that there are many women suffering from chemo treatments, alopecia areata (spot baldness) or trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder) who need our support — and need not watch us scrutinize over the three extra hairs we saw in our sink this morning.

More: 12 Reasons you're losing hair faster than ever

1. How early can women start noticing hair loss?

Dr. Ava Shamban: Women may start noticing hair loss at any age, including teenagers and the elderly. Hair loss can be triggered by several factors, including hormones, stress, weight loss, extreme diet, medications or medical conditions. Excessive hair loss may be from thyroid disease, anemia or autoimmune conditions, so see your medical provider.

2. Are we actually losing hair as we get older, or just paranoid?

AS: It is part of the natural aging process for our skin, hair and nails to become more dry and brittle. It is important to maintain the moisture barrier of our skin using ceramides while drinking plenty of water. Some hair loss may also occur at the time of menopause.

3. How can you tell if you are losing hair beyond what is average?

AS: A simple pull test at your dermatologist can determine if you are actively losing hair. The hair bulb will be visible at the root of the hair strand.

4. How much hair does the average, normal person lose per day?

AS: It is normal to lose between 100 to 120 hairs per day. We have an average of 100,000 hair follicles.

5. What percentage (roughly) of women have hair loss issues?

AS: Approximately 75 percent of women will have hair loss issues at some point in their lifespan.

6. Are there any tips for keeping hair?

AS: A well-balanced diet with carbohydrates, protein and fat will promote healthy skin, hair and nails. For hair loss, Biotin 5000 mcg can be helpful, or Viviscal is a supplement which helps promote hair growth.

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