Share this Story

How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?

How to know when that hair clump in your shower drain is a sign of a bigger problem

Thing i Secretly Googled

You finish showering, look down and see a surprisingly large clump of hair near the drain. Should you be concerned?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, we lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day naturally. When people lose significantly more than this, the medical term is called telogen effluvium, or excessive hair shedding.

More: 4 Reasons Why Pee in Pools Is Bad for Your Health

The causes include weight loss of 20 or more pounds, stress, recovery from an illness or operation or even something as simple as stopping your birth control. The good news? This type of hair loss is almost always temporary.

Hair loss, or anagen effluvium, has separate causes, which include harsh hair products, reactions of the immune system or hereditary loss. And unlike hair shedding, hair loss does not stop until the underlying cause is addressed, according to the AAD.

So how do you know what’s normal? Dr. Arielle Nagler, an assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, spoke to SheKnows about different types of hair loss. Natural hair loss — the 50 to 100 hairs you lose per day — occurs any time you pull on your hair, brush your hair, or just move about, she said. That’s because your hair is constantly transitioning from the growth phase to the fall-out phase, Nagler explained, so this hair loss is a natural process that happens over time.

More: Startling Rise in Babies Born With Syphilis

But when you see any major changes in hair loss, it’s time to see a doctor. This could include unusual patterns of hair loss or itching and burning on the scalp, Nagler said. Any number of causes could be to blame: stress, medical illness or that tight ponytail.

In fact, tight ponytails or updos can actually cause something called traction alopecia, a condition that can become irreversible over time. And while you may be tempted to just lay off the updos and wait for hair to grow back, Nagler stressed the importance of seeing a dermatologist to help you decipher the underlying cause of any of these changes, since other kinds of hair loss — including ones that require medical attention — could look quite similar.

“Diagnosing what is causing hair loss is an art, so if you’re concerned, it’s important to see a dermatologist,” Nagler said. “A lot of it can be reversed or stopped if caught early enough.”

More: How Improving My Overall Health Helped Me Regulate My Period

Bottom line? That clump in your shower is probably part of the normal 100 or so hairs you lose each day — but if you notice any major changes, see your doctor. And maybe save that tight ponytail for a special occasion.

Comments
Follow Us

SheKnows Media ‐ Beauty and Style

Hot
New in Health & Wellness
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!

b h e a r d !

Welcome to the new SheKnows Community,

where you can share your stories, ideas

and CONNECT with millions of women.

Get Started