And let’s be honest, not everyone who loses hair will end up looking like a movie star (take Vin Diesel— have you seen the man’s muscles?). So how much shedding is considered “normal,” and when should we start worrying?
A Hair-less Situation — The Need-to-Know
Most people have about 100,000 hairs on their heads and lose around 100 to 125 hairs per day (imagine trying to count each one). Alopecia— no, not) the medical term for common hair loss different from the disease (Alopecia Areata)— occurs because scalp hair grows in cycles. Each hair follicle undergoes a growth stage that lasts two to eight years, followed by a two-month resting stage where no growth occurs. Then, the hair strand falls out and a new one begins to grow in its place. For a healthy person, this means between 80 and 90 percent of hair follicles are growing hair at one time, while the rest of the follicles are resting or shedding.
Losing more than that? Something could be wrong. When the loss exceeds 125 hairs per day, it’s no longer just considered “shedding.” There are plenty of reasons for this, though— and the good news is they’re usually reversible (hooray!). Ever been stressed enough to pull hair out? Well, there may be some truth to that— physical and emotional stress can contribute to excessive hair loss . Other reasons include lifestyle upsets and changes in diet. Antidepressants, anti-acne prescriptions, and some forms of birth control can also temporarily disrupt hair’s growth cycle.
Show Shedding Who’s Boss — Your Action Plan
If the line “your hair is everywhere” means more than just a lyric from Dashboard Confessional, here’s the good news— there are some ways to help slow shedding.
Since stress is a major cause of hair loss, it’s important to find time to relax and take a deep breath. To help manage the stress, try getting a massage, taking a nap, or getting some good ol’ exercise— never underestimate the power of endorphins! Some studies show a deficiency in iron may lead to excessive hair loss, particularly in women, so eating a balanced diet and boosting iron intake can also help ensure healthy hair .
Basically, be good to hair and it will be good back. Too much shampooing, heat-fueled styling, and chemical products can weaken hair and cause it to break off. And beware of the hairbrush, too— excessive use can also result in increased shedding . On the other hand, shampooing hair less frequently can make shedding seem worse because it allows loose hair to build up and then all come out in the shower .
Unfortunately, human hairs naturally thin with age (referred to as pattern baldness) and this loss is permanent (womp, womp). One half of all men begin to bald by the time they’re 30, and for females, pattern baldness can begin after menopause. But have no fear— we’re hearing the Trumpster look is coming back in style these days, after all.
This article was written by Caitlin Covington from Greatist and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
- Hair growth inhibition by psychoemotional stress: a mouse model for neural mechanisms in hair growth control. Peters, E.M., Arck, P.C., Paus, R., Biomedical Research Center, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Group, Internal Medicine, Psychosomatics, University Medicine Berline, Charité Virchow Campus, Germany. Experimental Dermatology, 2006 Jan;15(1):1-13.
- Low iron stores: a risk factor for excessive hair loss in non-menopausal women. Deloche, C., Bastien, P., Chadoutaud, S., et al. L’Oréal Recherche, Clichy, France. European Journal of Dermatology : EJD, 2007 Nov-Dec;17(6):507-12. Epub 2007 Oct 19.
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