Hair loss can be very concerning. By the age of fifty, 50% of men and 40% of women will experience androgenetic alopecia (male and female-pattern hair loss). How much hair loss is normal?" is one of the top questions I get in the salon. I always start by asking these questions in return: -Does your hair feel noticeably thinner?
-How often do you wash your hair?
-Have you started using any new products within the last 3-6 months?
-Have you been under extreme stress within the last 3-6 months?
-Have you experienced sudden weight loss in the last 3-6 months?
-Have you started any new medications, including birth control?
-How are you sleeping?
-Have you been pregnant or breastfeeding recently?
-Do you have any concerns regarding your thyroid?
-Is it fall or winter?
Most people have about 100,000 hairs on their head. The majority of these — more than 90% — are hairs in the growing stage. After 3 to 7 years, hair enters the shedding phase. Hair in this phase can easily fall out or be pulled out. Shedding 50-100 hairs per day is considered healthy hair loss.
If you hair does not feel noticeably thinner, than you most likely are experiencing seasonal hair shedding, or hair loss related to a stressor that should resolve itself on it's own. Your hair won't feel noticeably thinner until you have lost more than 50% off your hair. If you are losing more than your usual amount of hair, or noticing widening in you part, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
How often do you wash your hair?
Washing your hair helps to remove the hair that has shed, or that is ready to be shed. When you haven't washed your hair in a few days, you may notice more lost hair in the shower.
Have you started using new products within the last few months?
If you have started using a new product, and are experiencing red, itchy, or irritated scalp. You may be having an allergic reaction to your product, and should discontinue use. Scalp health is an important piece to preventing hair loss.
Have you been under stress within the last several months?
Even if the stressful event has passed, it can take upwards of 3 months before you notice hair loss caused by stress. This is short-term, and should resolve on it's own.
Have you experienced sudden weight loss in the last several months?
Even though you may be healthier after losing weight, rapid weight loss or change in diet can be stressful on the body and cause short-term hair loss that should also resolve on it's own.
Have you started any new medications, including birth control?
Hair loss is a side-effect of certain medications, and should be discussed with your doctor. Since birth control contains hormones, they can cause hair loss either short-term or long-term, again something that needs to be discussed with your doctor.
How are you sleeping?
Research has shown a three-way link between sleep, stress and hair loss. Hair loss can be a symptom of a sleep condition like sleep apnea. Stress about hair loss, can cause poor sleep, which causes a vicious cycle of more hair loss.
Have you been pregnant or breastfeeding recently?
Again, hormones. During pregnancy, some people experience thick, luscious hair. This is due to the hair not going into the shedding phase, and instead staying in the growing or resting phase. Unfortunately, the hair has to be shed at some point. Most new mom's will notice extreme hair loss around 4 months post-partum, but can be at any time. The added hormones, and stress on the body from breastfeeding, can add to the hair loss issue. This is all normal, and will resolve on it's own with time. The most important thing is to not stress about it, since stress can add to the hair loss. Hormones can be extremely out of sorts after pregnancy, and if you are concerned, you should mention it to your doctor.
Do you have any concerns regarding your thyroid?
Are you noticing a pattern with hormones here? Your thyroid plays a signification role in hormone production. If thyroid conditions run in your family, or if you are feeling extra tired, having unexplained weight gain/loss, change in hair texture or thickness, to name just a few, have your doctor run a FULL thyroid panel to rule out any underlying thyroid conditions.
Is it fall or winter?
Just how animals shed their winter coat in the spring, humans tend to do their shedding in the fall and winter. Why? It's thought that our body retains more hair in the summer to protect our scalps from the sun. The change in length of daylight, is thought to trigger a response to begin shedding. So, yes, it's very normal to experience extra hair loss during the cooler months.
Majority of the time when I talk to a client about their hair loss, we begin to uncover pieces to the puzzle that may be causing hair loss. Our hair is a small window into our overall body health, and is often giving us hints to what we need to nurture.
Hair loss can be caused by many things, and this is in no way is a complete list. It's always a good idea to run any concerns by your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions, or deficiencies.
Happy hair growing!