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Normal Hair Shedding or Hair Loss? 6 Tips To Tell the Difference

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Anytime that you feel like you may be losing more hair than normal, or it is starting to look thinner than usual, may be upsetting.

But, there are situations where you may be experiencing a period of excessive hair shedding which may grow back, and not long-term hair loss.

The normal amount of hair to shed each day is around 50-100 hairs, so if you see more than this falling out each day something may be happening.

Read on for 6 ways to help try and differentiate between if you may be dealing with some excess shedding short term, or if you are likely experiencing hair loss.

1. How quickly did it start?

In general, long-term hair loss tends to come along gradually.

In women, hair loss is normally an overall even thinning of all of the hair, whereas in men you normally see a gradually forming bald spot on the crown of the head, or a receding hairline.

If your hair started falling out very suddenly, it may be more likely that you are dealing with excess shedding which may be able to grow back in a long enough time period.

2. Have you been through a major stressful event?

Major stressful events can take a physical toll on your body, including your hair.

If you have recently been through a severe illness, high fever, went through a pregnancy, lost a lot of weight, or had a particularly stressful event happen (loss of a loved one, lost a job, going through a divorce), you may notice a lot of hair falling out suddenly.

This stress-related excess hair shedding is called telogen effluvium, and normally starts a few months after the stressor occurs.

Luckily, if the stressor is removed, people who experience telogen effluvium shedding will likely regrow the hair that they lost over the course of 6-9 months, and is not considered to be permanent hair loss.

3. Is there a bald spot or a receding hairline?

If you are a man and your extra hair loss tends to be gradually coming from your hairline or a bald spot on the crown of your head, you may be dealing with hair loss.

Excess shedding tends to be more diffuse and causes a thinning all over the head, so if the loss is concentrated in these normal male-pattern hair loss areas, this may be long-term hair loss developing.

4. Is it falling out in clumps?

Hair rapidly falling out in clumps is not common with normal hair loss or with stress-related temporary hair loss, but may be a sign of Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune condition in which the body attacks the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out quickly in usually round quarter-sized patches.

In some people, Alopecia Areata clears up on its own, and normally the hair that fell out may regrow like normal once the scalp inflammation of the auto-immune condition subsides.

If you have rapid patchy hair loss, you may want to speak with a doctor to see if you are experiencing alopecia and what treatment options are available.

5. Did you start a new medication or hairstyle?

Hair loss can be a side effect of certain medications and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy.

If you have recently started a new drug or therapy and notice hair changes, speak with your doctor to see if your hair loss may be related.

Excess hair shedding with medications and medical treatments may be permanent or temporary, and hair may return after the treatment has ended, but it depends on the exact medication or treatment.

Hairstyles that pull the hair very tightly or have the hair intricately braided can put too much stress on the individual hairs causing hair to fall out.

If your hair loss coincides with you trying out a new high-maintenance hairstyle, your new ‘do may be causing the hair loss.

Switch to a hairstyle that puts less pull and stress on the hair and scalp to see if the hair starts regrowing.

6. Is your scalp inflamed or irritated?

If your scalp is inflamed, irritated, excessively dry, or flaky, your hair loss may be occurring due to the poor health of your scalp.

Scalp irritation can come from an infection, dandruff, not washing your scalp enough, or an allergic reaction to hair products.

Eventually, a very unhappy scalp can cause excess hair losses.

If your scalp is experiencing irritation, try to fix the scalp problem like getting treatment for dandruff, washing your hair more often, and stopping irritating products.

Once your scalp health returns to normal, any hair that was lost from your scalp irritation may grow back.


There are a few reasons why you may be shedding more hair, including going through a stressful event, or having an irritated scalp.

Sometimes rapid excess shedding events may be temporary and the hair that was lost during a stressful time can be regrown.

But, if your hair has been gradually thinning over time, this may just be normally permanent hair loss.

Clumps of hair falling out may be a sign of an autoimmune condition, and this hair may regrow once the condition subsides.

If you still aren’t sure what may be causing your hair loss, have an appointment with a doctor in person or online to help figure out what may be happening.

Here at Strut Health, we treat hair loss in men and women.

You can have a free online visit with our doctors today, and if you are a good candidate for hair loss treatment, your prescription medication can be shipped straight to your front door with our free shipping.

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