Hair falling out when combing
Hair falling out when combing

HOW MUCH HAIR FALL IS NORMAL WHEN COMBING HAIR?

Daily hair loss is inevitable, hair goes through regular growth cycles and new hair replaces hairs that are shed form the scalp.  It’s normal to lose around 80 hairs per day (50-100 is average), but when hair is being lost in large amounts, you may start to notice less scalp coverage.

Some women may notice hair on the pillow in the morning or shedding may be noticed during brushing hair or in the shower.  There are a number of reasons for an increase in hair shedding such as stress, dieting, prescription medication or thyroid dysfunction.  This type of hair loss is normally noticed within weeks after hair loss starts.

TESTING YOUR OWN RATE OF HAIR LOSS

You can test your own rate of hair loss by performing a hair pull test.  A hair pull test is based on the fact that around 90% of hairs on the scalp should be in anagen stage and very firmly anchored within the dermis.  To conduct a hair pull test, simply run your hand through clean and dry hair and pull around 40 strands. If more than 4 stands are dislodged, it is likely you are experiencing excess shedding.  It is best to perform this test at least 24 hours after washing or brushing hair.

TYPICAL CAUSES OF EXCESS SHEDDING

No treatment is usually needed for excess shedding as this type of hair loss will usually correct itself.   If you feel that you are losing more hair than is you should it is worthwhile to investigate common causes of hair loss.

  1. Drug-induced hair loss – Certain prescription and recreational drugs can lead to excess hair shedding.  If you are taking prescription medication such as antidepressants, immunosuppressants or retinoids, talk to a medical professional about your hair loss concerns.  If you regularly take recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, this can also impact hair loss.
  2. Stress – Stress can impact your health in various ways and it can increase hair loss due to higher circulating levels of cortisol and the impact on your sympathetic nervous system. High levels of cortisol break down the collagen network needed to support the hair follicle.  If you are feeling stressed regularly, seek advice from your doctor and try to engage in activities that help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
  3. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies – Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are commonly associated with excessive hair shedding.  If you feel you may have any deficiencies, blood tests can help pinpoint specific vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in your diet.
  4. Recent childbirth – Due to hormonal changes, it is common to experience temporary shedding after child birth.

THE FINAL WORD

This type of hair loss is usually self-correcting, the hair loss will generally decrease over a few months.  Whilst the shedding may stop, new hair may be slow to grow in its place.  This is problematic because if shedding has been severe enough, you can be left with around 30% less hair on your scalp.  In some cases, shedding may persist for a number of years.

I f you feel you are losing more hair than usual, speak to a professional that specialises in hair loss.  Depending on the severity and duration of hair loss you can seek advice from your doctor, a trichologist or a dermatologist.

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