How much hair loss is normal?

Let's have an honest conversation about hair loss - a topic that many of us encounter at some point in our lives. Picture this: you're in the midst of your daily hair routine, and as you shampoo, you notice a clump of hair swirling down the drain. Panic sets in, questions arise: "Is this normal? Am I losing too much hair? Am I alone in this?" It's a roller coaster of emotions, isn't it?

Take a deep breath. You're not alone in this journey. Since I was 19, I've faced hair loss due to Androgenic Alopecia, a genetic form of hair thinning. It's been a challenging experience, watching my once-thick locks gradually thin out. It was undeniably scary, but over the years, I've discovered ways to cope, and I'll share those with you later.

Understanding Hair Loss in the Hair Cycle

Hair loss is a natural part of our hair's life cycle. To determine what's normal and what's not, it's essential to comprehend this cycle. At any given time, approximately 90% of your hair is in the growth phase (Anagen), while the remaining 10% is in the resting phase (Catagen), waiting to be shed. Let's break it down:

  1. The Growth Phase (Anagen Phase):

This phase is when your hair is flourishing. It can last anywhere from 2 to 7 years, with roughly 90% of your hair actively growing during this time. The duration of this phase depends on factors such as genetics, age, health, and more. It's the phase responsible for those moments when you recall your hair growing seemingly overnight.

  1. The Resting Phase (Catagen Phase):

Following the growth phase, your hair enters the brief transitional Catagen phase, which typically lasts 2-3 weeks. Think of it as the calm before the next stage. During this period, hair follicles shrink, and strands detach from the blood supply, like your hair taking a short nap to prepare for the next step.

  1. The Shedding Phase (Telogen Phase):

This is the phase that might have startled you once or twice. About 10% of your hair patiently waits to be replaced by new growth during the Telogen phase. Hair in this phase can remain in place for months but can be pushed out more quickly due to factors like daily washing, styling, or new hair emerging. So, when you spot strands on your pillow or in the shower, remember it's a natural part of the process.

On average, people lose 50 to 100 hair strands daily. But before you start counting each strand (trust me, I've been there), remember that we have thousands of hairs on our heads, so losing 50 to 100 is just a fraction.

hair growth phases

Factors Influencing Hair Loss

Several factors can influence hair loss, including:

  1. Seasonal Shedding: Believe it or not, many people experience increased shedding during specific seasons. A bit more hair loss during autumn? Totally normal!

  2. Hair Treatments & Styling: Chemical treatments, aggressive brushing, and tight hairstyles can lead to more hair breakage and shedding. So, if you've recently gone for a bleach or are rocking that super tight ponytail daily, consider giving your hair some TLC.

  3. Hormonal Changes: Life events like pregnancy or menopause can affect your hair's life cycle. If you're going through significant changes, your hair may reflect those adjustments.

  4. Health & Diet: The saying "You are what you eat" applies to your hair too. A balanced diet supports hair health, and underlying health issues can influence hair loss. Consulting a healthcare professional is a good idea if you're concerned.

  5. Stress: Stress has a way of affecting nearly everything, including hair loss. Significant stressors can accelerate hair shedding, so consider this a gentle reminder to find moments of tranquility.

Listening to Your Hair

Rather than obsessing over the number of hairs in your brush, pay attention to other signs. Is your part getting wider? Do your ponytails feel thinner? These could indicate that your hair loss exceeds typical daily shedding.

But here's the crucial point: it's okay! There are remarkable options available that can help you regain your sense of self and confidence. Trust me, someone who has walked this path and found beauty and empowerment in wearing hair.

Embrace Change

The hair you have is a part of your unique story. I've learned so much from my own hair loss journey. Were there challenging moments? Undoubtedly. But throughout it all, I discovered my inner strength, and you will too.

When it comes to wearing hair, it's not about concealing or disguising; it's about celebrating who you are. It's about the joy of trying a new style without committing to a dramatic cut, or achieving the volume that makes you feel like a million bucks. Whether you're wearing hair due to thinning or simply exploring new looks, there's no right or wrong reason.

My hope for you? Embrace change, listen to your hair, and remember that you're not alone. There's an entire community of us here, cheering you on.

To the woman reading this, perhaps with concern or curiosity in her eyes, remember this: you're beautiful, your journey is valid, and sometimes, the unexpected twists and turns of our hair lead us to the most remarkable paths of self-discovery. 💛