I recently heard from a very distraught woman who told me that she had counted her hair loss one day last week and her loss totaled over 250 hairs. She was very alarmed about this. However, she counted again the next day and found that she had only lost 60 hairs that day. A day later she counted again and got about 40 hairs. The next day, she was back around 250 hairs again. She could not understand why the loss was fluctuating the way that it was.
She said in part: “Can it ever be normal to lose up to 250 hairs per day? I’ve read that it can be abnormal or cause for concern if you lose over 100 hairs per day, but I don’ t lose this much every single day. I’m just wondering if I should be concerned. I’ve noticed more hair loss over the past few weeks but it seems to be worse on some days and better on others.” I will try to address these concerns in the following article.
Sometimes, during seasonal shedding or with hair conditions like telogen effluvium (TE) you can lose alarming amounts of hair. 250 strands of hair would most definitely fit within either of these scenarios. But, most people who are experiencing typical hair loss during typical hair cycles lose less than 100 hairs per day. Keep in mind though, that these numbers are based on average heads of hair. What I mean by this is that this average number (100 strands) is a percentage. Basically, it’s considered to not be a cause for concern to lose about 5 – 10% of the strands on your head when those hairs are going through the “resting” or shedding phase.
Hair goes through a life cycle. Sometimes it’s growing and sometimes it is shedding. We all shed some hair every day. And, at any given time, most people are shedding out that 5 – 10 % on a daily basis. But, sometimes, either different seasons, illness, or a condition called telogen effluvium or other hair loss conditions will shift this balance and we may lose more than this typical percentage. However, if you are someone who has much more hair than other people, your “normal” percentage may be higher than that 100 hairs that you often read about.
And, the wild fluctuations that this young woman was seeing is typical also. Some days you may lose more hair than others for various reasons. I often suggest taking the average over several days, if you must count at all. In this case, she had lost about 600 hairs over the course of 4 days. So, that put her average at around 150 hairs per day which was admittedly high. And, she did feel in her heart that what she was seeing was atypical of her. So, unless she were seeing seasonal shedding, it made sense to take a look at some hair loss issues like TE (telogen effluvium) or AGA (androgenic alopecia) to see if these things were possibilities.