Hair loss isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, a certain amount of hair loss is normal for everyone. That’s why we at Salameh Hair Transplant put together this guide. It will help you understand what the normal range actually is, how to tell whether or not you fit within it, and what to do if you are experiencing a high volume of hair loss.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
There’s no definitive answer for how many strands each person loses per day. Normal hair loss varies based on a number of factors including diet, lifestyle, or life events like pregnancy.
The main thing to look out for is any major change in your average hair loss per day. If you wake up to find clumps on your pillow where you typically only see strands, that could indicate a problem. Likewise, if you run your hand through your hair and wind up with a fistful of strands where you’d normally only get a few, it may be time to do something about it.
Other signs to look out for include clogged drains possibly caused by an increase in hair loss while showering, a vacuum cleaner picking up more hair than usual, or simply seeing a major increase of hair on your clothing or throughout your living spaces. It can be alarming, but it helps to understand that natural hair growth occurs in four phases:
- Anagen – growing phase (5-7 years)
- Catagen – transition phase (about 10 days)
- Telogen – resting phase (3 months)
- Exogen – shedding phase (2-5 months)
How much hair loss is normal during the exogen phase? About 50-100 hairs per day. But not all of your hairs are in the same part of the cycle at the same time, so if you see them all coming out from either the front or crown of the scalp, it’s time to start considering some at-home hair loss tests.
Some hair is always supposed to be coming out. But if you’re concerned that what had once been normal hair loss is now increasing, there are some simple ways to find out at home whether your average hair loss per day falls within that standard range.
The Pull Test
The pull test is performed by grabbing a small section of hair, about forty strands, and then gently pulling on it. Some of the hairs in that clump will be in the telogen or exogen phase, so if you lose about six strands, there’s no need to panic about how much hair loss is normal.
However, if you go beyond normal hair loss while performing this test and pull out around 15-20 strands, you might be dealing with what is known as active hair loss.
Keep in mind that the pull test can be subjective. If you are experiencing hair thinning and are concerned about male or female pattern baldness, it might be positive near where the hair is thinning, but only show normal hair loss away from it. If your hair is shedding all over, though, it should be positive everywhere.
The Tug Test
Perform the tug test after a positive pull test to see if your average hair loss per day is due to problems in the hair follicles or because the hair strands themselves are weak or brittle due to diet, genetics, or heat damage.
Find a new clump of about 40 strands of hair, and then perform the pull test again, but tug from close to the ends of the hair and keep one hand holding the clump steady close to the scalp. Just as in the pull test, there will be a few strands of normal hair loss. But if a significant number of hairs come away, that means that the shafts themselves are snapping when you tug.
The 60-Second Hair Count Test
The 60-second hair count test is an entirely separate way to determine your level of hair loss. Before washing or shampooing your hair, comb your hair from back to front over a pillowcase or towel of a contrasting color. Do this for 60 seconds, and then see how many hairs have fallen onto the cloth.
How much hair loss is normal during this test? On average, about ten hairs should come out. Like the previous tests, though, if you see significantly more than that, it might be time to talk to a doctor for more advanced testing.
What to Do If You Have More Than Normal Hair Loss
Don’t worry if you have to come in and see a doctor. The bright side is that hair loss can be treated to slow down, stop, or even be reversed! If you’re concerned about your hair loss, you can book an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Salameh, and discuss what your options are. You’ll be on your way to reclaiming that full volume and youthful bounce you’re used to.
Treatment can sometimes be as simple as switching to medical-grade hair products. For slightly more advanced hair loss, there are noninvasive treatments that are still effective, like PRP hair restoration. And if necessary, hair transplant surgery technology has evolved dramatically from the hair plugs of the 90s — ARTAS can give you the thick, luscious locks you’ve been missing.
It can be tricky to tell when you’ve crossed the line beyond normal hair loss. But with these simple tests, you can monitor your hair volume and take action to keep your hair full, youthful, and gorgeous!