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Lots of Hair Loss When Washing Hair?: It’s Not Always a Sign of Balding

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So, you are washing your hair, enjoying your hot shower, then you look down and notice a tangle of hair circling the drain. 

Seeing any amount of hair being lost can be alarming if you are concerned about hair thinning or hair loss, but try not to sound the alarm too soon -- a certain amount of hair shedding in the shower can be perfectly normal.

Below, we will help outline a normal amount of hair shedding per day, how hair shedding differs from hair loss, what to look for that might signal a hair loss process, and how to be gentle with your hair to help reduce shedding while scrubbing up and styling.

What is a normal amount of hair shedding per day?

While it may seem shocking to some people, it is actually completely normal to shed between 50 to 100 hairs every single day. And, no, this doesn’t progressively lead you to baldness, as this amount of hair shedding is balanced out by regrowth (as long as nothing else is going on, hair loss-wise).

If you tend to notice hair shedding in the shower, that makes sense, because washing your hair is the prime time for those about to shed (or already shed but hanging in there) hairs to detach and say their goodbyes due to all the massaging, brushing, gunk removal, etc. But, not washing your hair doesn’t mean you get to keep those ready-to-shed hairs, it just means that they will probably fall out less noticeably onto the ground or your clothes, when you brush your hair, or be tangled in there until you do eventually go for the wash.

What are the differences between hair shedding and hair loss?

Hair shedding is a normal part of the natural hair growth cycle process. A new hair grows in, keeps growing for a number of years, then detaches and makes way for a new hair to grow in. This detachment process to make way for a new hair is called shedding, and occurs in everyone, although the exact timelines for the cycle steps may vary from person to person.

Hair loss, however, is a little different. Hair loss is a process where hair starts detaching sooner in the growth cycle, and each subsequent hair tends to grow in a little finer, and shorter, and stick around for less time, potentially eventually leading to the hair follicle not growing a new hair at all. This is the process of hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia, also known as male and female pattern hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in both genders.

Basically, with healthy hair shedding and normal regrowth, you should not notice changes in your hair thickness, or density, but with hair loss, you may start noticing negative hair changes since the regrowth is not keeping up with the hair loss condition.

There are also other forms of hair loss including alopecia areata which is an autoimmune condition where the immune system accidentally attacks the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out in clumps. And telogen effluvium, where an extremely mentally or physically stressful event leads to a period of excessive hair shedding. Luckily, these forms of hair loss tend to regrow and recover, although the events may occur again and shed again.

What are some signs that you are dealing with patterned hair loss or another hair loss condition?

  1. If you have not changed up your shower schedule, yet you are definitely noticing more hair loss when washing your hair. This may indicate a hair loss process. However, if you just went from washing your hair every other day to once a week, you may just notice more normal shed “build-up” that had been accumulating over that time.

  1. You are experiencing hair falling out in clumps. Rapid hair shedding that comes out in clumps and leaves round bald patches on your scalp is an indication of alopecia areata, which is immune-mediated. You should speak with your doctor about ways to speed the regrowth of the shed areas and how to keep the condition from flaring up again.

  1. Your hair is looking thinner, balding in areas, or styling differently. No one knows your hair better than you, so if you feel like your hair looks thinner, is tougher to style the way you used to, or you swear your hairline used to be lower at your temples, it may not be your imagination. Talk to your doctor about treatment options for patterned hair loss if this is concerning to you.

  1. You had a stressful period in your life about 1-3 months ago. Excessive mental or physical stressors like surgery, high fevers, extreme weight loss, giving birth, a death, divorce, or losing your job can trigger a stress-induced hair shedding condition called telogen effluvium. This normally includes a rapid shedding period that lasts weeks or months, that can cause an overall thinning of hair. Luckily, this type of hair loss tends to regrow back to normal once the stressor is removed or recovered from.

  1. You are dealing with a nutritional deficiency. Certain nutritional deficiencies may lead to excessive hair shedding, including low iron, protein, zinc, and vitamins A, C, D, as well as certain B vitamins. If your hair concerns seem to line up with changes to your diet, talk with your doctor about testing for and addressing any nutritional deficiencies to help your hair recover.

If you are having trouble figuring out if you are dealing with normal shedding or hair loss, speak with your doctor to try and figure out the specifics and gain information on treatment options. Blood tests or a close look at your scalp or lost hairs may help pinpoint the cause behind any hair loss.

How to treat your hair gently to limit additional shedding and breakage

Sometimes, people notice a lot of shedding in the shower because they aren’t exactly treating their hair with the utmost care. Your hair is at its most fragile state when it is wet, so intense scrubbing of your scalp with sharp nails, rough brushing while your hair is wet, or going to town with that towel roughly drying your hair is likely not doing you any hair-retaining favors.

If you are treating your hair roughly, you may notice more hairs being pulled out before their time from the root, or more breakage leading to the look of less hair over time. 

Instead, take the gentle route with your hair by scrubbing your scalp gently using your finger pads in small massaging motions, finger combing your hair gently with a detangler product, air-drying your hair, or avoiding the use of excessive heat styling or tight hairstyles.

Strut Health prescription medications for patterned hair loss online

Not all hair loss is a bad thing. In fact, losing around 50-100 hairs per day is completely normal and necessary. However, if there is a distinct uptick in shower losses, or you seem to be losing much more than 100 hairs, something may be up.

People tend to notice hair loss in the shower more, because this is when you are coaxing all those detached hairs to come out. If you have recently extended out your washing schedule a few days, expect to see more losses due to the normally shed hairs from those extra days being washed away all at the same time.

Signs that hairs lost in the shower may be hair loss and not just shedding may include an obvious increase in the amount of hair lost, clumps of hair falling out, changes in how your hair looks or styles, or dealing with an extremely stressful event recently. Talking to a doctor may help you identify if you are dealing with hair loss, and also what type of hair loss may be occurring.

At Strut, we help treat the most common cause of hair loss -- hereditary hair loss called androgenetic alopecia. We utilize the most popular active ingredients in our formulas including Finasteride, Dutasteride, Minoxidil, Spironolactone, Biotin, and Tretinoin to create a treatment customized to you.

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss treatment is the best option for you, simply select the medication you are considering and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors in under 15 minutes. 

Our doctors will review your information and the current state of your hair, and put together an appropriate formula and treatment regimen for you. Then, your medication will be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.

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