I'm often asked about hair shedding and what it signifies. How many hairs Is normal to lose everyday? What does it mean if I see lots of short hairs?
In general, when someone feels they are shedding more each day than they used to, I say that it is abnormal. Granted this is probably more than 70-100 hairs, but the cut offs are different for different people.
Individuals can shed long hairs or short hairs. How short should shed hairs be to raise suspicion for a person having genetic hair loss? It is important to keep in mind there is no exact number but 3 cm would be a fair answer. Shed hairs less than 3 cm are called "telogen vellus hairs" and these are commonly seen in androgenetic alopecia (AGA). In fact, in AGA about 60 % of shed hairs are telogen vellus hairs compared to just 4 % in the hair loss condition called chronic telogen effluvium. So you can see that if a person identifies short hairs it does not mean they have AGA. However, the likelihood they have AGA increases significantly if they shed alot of these short 3 cm hairs.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299