Normal Hair Loss

How many hairs are normal to lose each day?

Let me give some insight in the examples below. What you’ll come to see is that:

  1. Normal loss is around 50-70 hairs per day
  2. Anything that a person considers ‘abnormal’ is likely abnormal ! 
  3. It’s completely normal to lose more on days that one shampoos the scalp.

These are the 3 principles of daily hair loss. 

 Hair grows longer each day by staying in the growing phase (also called anagen). Most hairs stay in the growing phase for about 4-7 years.

So for a person with no hair loss issues, the anagen phase is about 3-7 years, but let's say 4 years on average. That's 1460 days. Keep in mind that a typical person has 100,000 hairs on the scalp (provided they have no balding). So, every 4 years, a person in this example has to replace ALL his or her hair. So what this means is that it's normal to lose about (100,000 divided by 1460) = 68 hairs per day provided there is no balding. Yes, it might be higher and it might be lower. It could even be as low as 35 hairs for some people who have a growth phase that's very long (i.e. upwards of 7 years).

Now consider a female with thinning who counts her hair every day and says she loses 70 hairs per day. Is this normal? It might be or it might not be. It depends on what her previous rate was. Suppose this female had at one time 80,000 hairs on her scalp and had an anagen phase of 5 years (1825 days). Her normal rate of loss was 100,000 divided by 1825 or 44 hairs per day! Now as she develops genetic hair loss, she has 75000 hairs on the scalp, and her anagen phase is 3 years. Her scalp still looks full and she’s still very pleased with her density and nobody (even her) knows there is ANY genetic hair loss. Her rate of loss every day is now 75,000 divided by 1095 or 69 hairs per day. Is this 69 hairs per day abnormal? Yes! Are we right to reassure her that she’s fine because her number is under 100? No way! She has early genetic hair loss and the so the earlier we address it the better. 

Normal shedding is under 100 hairs

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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