View Full Version : How do I know if I'm shedding too much?

June 27th, 2014, 07:44 AM
I feel like I am shedding "a lot". But I don't know. I wash every 3-4 days, but lose maybe 30 (at least) hairs in the shower, and then when I comb it out I lose what feels like a small handful. My hair is mid-back length. How do I know if I'm shedding too much and getting thinner, or if this is just "normal"? :D

June 27th, 2014, 08:00 AM
My philosophy is to do what you can to take care of your health, and your hair will be fine. Sometimes I shed very little, sometimes a lot; it's all good. Shedding is a normal part of the hair growing process.

June 27th, 2014, 08:16 AM
It is really hard to say what is unusual shedding because shedding is different for everyone. 30-40 is on the low end of normal which I've seen quoted as up to 100 shed hairs a day. 20-40 is what I guess I loose in a day. If I don't comb twice a day one combing can look like an unusual shed. Don't comb for a longer period and the shed looks even more dramatic. Don't comb before showering and the drain screen fills up. Practice curly girl techniques and only comb in the shower and the shed looks utterly shocking and yet it is perfectly within normal.

Also, wet hair is usually more compact than dry, making a handful of dry sheds look like more than maybe it is.

Pay attention, keep notes if it helps. Only you can develop a sense of what is normal for you.

June 27th, 2014, 08:25 AM
Some people actually count their shed hairs. I never had the patience (and time!) to do that. I'm with spidermom in this, i think scalp has a balance; if you shed a lot one day, you'll probably shed way less next day. You should probably watch out for noticeable thinning in your hair or bald patches though, they might indicate a problem. Other than that, don't freak out on the amount you shed :)

June 27th, 2014, 09:30 AM
I'm very interested in this post, because sometimes it feels like I'm losing a TON of hair, and other times it feels like I'm losing nothing at all. I have noticed that on nights that I use castor oil, I seem to lose less hair the next morning when I shower. I think it all depends. I'm too afraid to count how many I lose.

June 27th, 2014, 09:34 AM
Unless you notice thinning I wouldn't worry.

June 27th, 2014, 09:44 AM
Unless you notice thinning I wouldn't worry.
I generally agree with this. Many people notice lots of shedding just by paying too much attention to it. 100 hairs shed daily is considered normal, but may be high or low for a specific individual. Also there are shedding cycles (often in spring and fall).

That said, there are some tests that you can ask your family doctor to run if you are noticing thinning.
Also, check out the "pull test" and various tests that can be done:

"This is also known as the 'traction test' or 'Sabouraud's sign' or the 'pull-out sign.'
Approximately 20-60 hairs are grasped between the thumb, index and middle fingers from the base of the hairs near the scalp and firmly, but not forcefully, tugged away from the scalp. If more than 10% hairs are pulled away from the scalp, this constitutes a positive pull test and implies active hair shedding. The patient must not shampoo for at least a day prior to the pull test."

"Hair loss associated with excessive shedding results in a positive “gentle hair pull” test. Grasp a lock of hairs to determine if any can be extracted with firm pull. Normally 0-2 telogen hairs can be extracted: these are hairs in the resting phase, identified using magnification by a rounded bulb at the proximal end. An elongated or tapered end indicates anagen hair (growing phase); anagen hairs extracted by the gentle hair pull test are pathologic. "

June 27th, 2014, 09:51 AM
Unless you notice thinning I wouldn't worry.

This. + sometimes it looks like you shed 30 hairs, but in reality it are 10 since your hair is getting longer. It might be a bit confusing, I noticed :P

June 27th, 2014, 10:14 AM
It might be worth measuring and recording your hair's circumference regularly (say, on wash day after it's dried). It'll vary a little bit just based on position, how tight you pull the tape measure, etc., but you'll get an idea of what your thickness is. If you see it consistently going down over several months, it's time to be concerned and explore whether you have any health problems that are contributing.

That said, having sheddy days seems pretty normal to me. Shedding more about 3 months after a really stressful period is another one that I've seen a lot around here.