At some point, most adults have probably looked down at the bathroom or shower floor after getting ready for the day and noticed the amount of hair everywhere. Shedding hair is common, but if you’re concerned by the amount you’re shedding, there are ways to tell if you’re losing too much hair. All it takes is a little focused attention, and in some cases, a call to a medical professional to determine whether the excessive hair loss is due to a medical condition, the natural progression of aging, or the normal postpartum hair loss that comes after childbirth.
“We naturally shed and regrow hair in regular cycles,” board certified dermatologist Janet Allenby, DO, tells Romper in an email. “Each hair follicle usually has its own cycle, that is why we don’t shed all at once and [the hair loss] is less obvious.” So, if you’re consistently losing hair on a daily basis, it’s not cause for immediate alarm. “Typically about 10% of our scalp hair is in the shedding phase at any one time,” Amy W. Fox, MD, Associate Professor at UNC Department of Dermatology tells Romper. “There are times when women can experience significant increases in shedding, and the reasons for this are various.”
That being said, increased hair loss can happen, and it’s usually subtle. “Sadly, by the time most people realize they have more than normal hair loss, approximately 50% of the hair has reduced,” says Dr. Allenby. That’s why it’s best to be observant of the amount of hair you’re shedding (but try not to obsess over it). Here are some things to be on the lookout for.
As always, it’s best to call your doctor if you’re concerned or if you’re exhibiting other symptoms. “If you are having symptoms on the scalp like tenderness or itching that persists or increased shedding that lasts longer than a few months,” that should signal a call to your doctor, Dr. Fox explains. Dr. Allenby agrees, and says the sooner you come in the better. “[With hair loss] the most important piece is determining the type, whether it is a medical problem versus the natural progression of aging,” she says “because the cause is the key to treatment and regrowing your hair.”
Amy W. Fox, MD, Associate Professor at UNC Department of Dermatology
Janet Allenby, DO, Board Certified Dermatologist and RealSelf Advisory Board Member