Realizing that you have a clump of hair sitting on top of your shower drain can be alarming. If you’ve typed the phrase, hair falling out in shower, you’re not alone because no one likes the idea of hair falling out in the shower — or anywhere else. But before you panic, be aware that you may not have anything to worry about. The truth is, a certain amount of hair loss in the shower is totally normal. However, if you’re concerned about the amount of hair you’re losing, it may be time to pay extra attention to your strands and consult with your doctor. But before you do, keep reading to learn about how much hair loss in the shower is normal and everyday hair shedding.
How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person naturally loses between 50 to 100 hairs a day, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. It’s important to note that this type of hair loss really isn’t considered hair loss at all — it’s hair shedding. Hair shedding is the normal process of hair falling out daily, while hair loss refers more specifically to the inability to grow hair back due to various factors or conditions, referred to as alopecia.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the normal parts of the hair growth cycle include phases such as the anagen or growth phase, the catagen phase where the hair growth slows, and the telogen phase in which growth stops and the hair is dormant until it sheds.
3 Common Causes of Hair Shedding and Hair Loss
As we mentioned, 100 strands of hair shedding per day is normal and those with long or thick hair can expect to shed between 150 to 200 strands. If you tend to wash your hair more than once a week, that amount can quickly increase. Here are three common causes of normal hair shedding.
While most shedding typically happens in the shower because you’re manipulating the hair you’ve already shed, the Cleveland Clinic also reveals that it’s common to experience additional hair loss when you comb your hair post-shower because, similarly, it’s removing the hairs you’ve already shed.
Having a Baby
After having a baby, the influx of hormones in your body makes hair shedding a common, postpartum side effect. While some is completely normal, anything over the typical 100 to 200 strands a day may be cause for concern.
Hereditary Factors and Aging
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it’s not uncommon for men and women to develop hair loss as they age due to genetics. This is known as androgenic alopecia.
What Can Cause Excessive Hair Loss?
It’s important to know that hair shedding is a normal phase of your hair’s life cycle, per the Cleveland Clinic. That said, if you notice that hair falling out in the shower has become excessive, there are a few causes you may want to keep in mind.
The Cleveland Clinic shares that possible reasons for chronic hair loss include stress, hormonal changes, weight loss or diet, and medication.
Since various illnesses — like thyroid disease and more — can also be a factor, visit your doctor to find out what is specifically causing your hair loss. Your doctor will also be able to help you manage it.
Telogen effluvium may occur after a stressor or a drastic change in your body (such as having a baby) and causes the hair to enter the resting stage, per the Cleveland Clinic. This means the hair is shedding daily but new hairs aren’t growing. While 100 strands of hair loss per day is normal, around 300 strands of hair loss daily is what to expect if you’re dealing with telogen effluvium.
Excessive Hair Shedding vs. Hair Loss: What’s the Difference?
While it’s common to confuse hair loss and excessive hair shedding, there are key differences. According to the AAD, excessive hair shedding generally occurs when your hair sheds more than the standard 50 to 100 hairs a day. It can last between six to nine months, and then your hair should regain its normal fullness. This may occur after a stressful event, such as giving birth or recovering from an illness.
On the other hand, hair loss is when something stops your hair from growing. There are plenty of causes, including genetics, using harsh hair care products, medications and high-tension hairstyles. If you’re not sure if you’re experiencing hair loss or excessive hair shedding, a dermatologist can help differentiate between the two and determine what you may be experiencing.
Do Hot Showers Cause Hair Loss?
Hot showers feel great and relaxing, but they aren’t good for your skin or hair because they strip moisture, which leads to dryness. This can damage the hair, leading to brittleness and potentially even breakage if your hair isn’t in the best condition, but this should not lead to hair loss at the roots. The same applies to frequent showers — showering everyday does not cause hair loss.
When Should You Worry About Hair Loss in the Shower?
As we noted above, hair shedding in the shower is a fact of life. However, the Cleveland Clinic notes that if you continue to experience shedding long after your wash routine, you may be dealing with a more severe problem. Finding shed hair all over your clothes is also a sign that there may be an underlying issue.
6 Tips to Help Reduce Hair Shedding
Now that you’re more educated on hair falling out in the shower, it’s time to take action. Consider these six tips to help reduce the risk of excessive shedding.
1. Detangle With a Wide Tooth Comb
One of the biggest contributors to experiencing more hair falling out in the shower than you’d like is using the wrong detangling tools and tugging at the hair, which causes breakage. Make it a point to detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb, and start from the ends, working your way up to the roots.
2. Avoid Rubber Hair Elastics and Tight Hairstyles
Rubber hair elastics may be a must for your hair styling routine, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, this popular beauty essential can lead to hair loss. Elastics can grip your hair tightly, pulling and tugging which leads to hair loss over time. Whenever possible, use hair ties that are gentle on your strands, such as ones made of silk or cotton.
3. Limit Heat Styling
According to the Cleveland Clinic, using excessive heat on your hair can cause breakage and eventually lead to hair loss. So, as much as you may want to blow dry or flat iron your hair, it’s wise to cut back when possible. Instead, opt for heatless styling alternatives and be sure to use a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant before styling.
4. Protect Your Hair From the Sun
Protecting your skin from the sun is a must, but you shouldn’t leave your hair out of the equation. The Cleveland Clinic notes that sun exposure can damage your hair and lead to shedding just as using hot tools frequently can take a toll on your strands. Play it safe and take the proper sun care precautions for your mane, such as wearing a hat, using heat protectant and staying in the shade when possible.
5. Treat Your Scalp
The scalp may be the root of your hair concerns (pun intended). When the scalp suffers, so does your hair, so make sure it’s properly cared for and you aren’t dealing with concerns like inflammation or build up that can contribute to excess hair shedding and hair loss.
6. Try Supplements
According to the AAD, too little biotin, iron, protein, or zinc can lead to hair loss, so it may be beneficial to take supplements and vitamins to make up for the inadequacies in your diet. As always, consult with your doctor before adding new supplements or vitamins into your diet.
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn
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