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Thread: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

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    Default Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    Hello, I have a question for everyone about hair shedding and what is normal, and what is excessive.

    I started to pay more attention to my hair and care for it better. I have been making a lot of life changes to be healthier recently, so 3-4 months ago I went off of my birth control that I have been on for almost 10 years and had a Mirena implanted (very low dose hormonal IUD).

    Around 3-4 months ago I noticed that my hair seemed to be shedding quite a bit more. Now I'm not sure if this is just the first time I noticed it, or if it has been going on for a while and my decision to take better care of my hair (and switching medications) made me pay more attention to it. Somebody also told me that since I have longer hair that tends to snarl, I just notice the shed hairs more. Truth be told, I never paid attention to shed hairs before.

    I am also concerned that switching my birth control has caused my hair to start falling out. I consulted with my doctor who said that switching hormones, especially from the high dose to the low dose as I did, can mimic a postpartum state in the body. She says that she typically doesn't see hair loss often with Mirena, but it's possible, and she expects it would last at least 6 months after the switch (I am about the 4 month mark).

    Yesterday I combed my hair for the first time in a few days and I counted about 60 shed hairs. I lost maybe 100-150 more in the shower (it was 3-4 days since my last hair wash). It seems like each time I run my fingers through my hair, 1-3 hairs comes out. They also fall out when I pull out my pony tail holder or braid.

    My hair is BSL and I have never had hair this long. Is this normal? My doctor said after 6 months I can go in for blood tests to make sure I don't have other health issues, but I'm worried I'll be bald by then!! There aren't any bald spots, and people around me say they haven't noticed a change in my hair thickness, but I'm pretty paranoid.

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    is a daily washer :D nobeltonya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    Normal shed is 50-150 a day. Especially if you stretch washes, shed hair.will become trapped in the length and come out when you wash so it appears to be more. Unless you notice thinning, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I have been considering cutting up to waist lately :O It is currently just above TB, b/c I keep trimming it...
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    Tries to Help Everyone jacqueline101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    I wouldn't worry unless you're going bald or have thinning hair.

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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    If I don't comb my hair before the shower, a bunch falls out when I'm conditioning. It's heart-breaking. I run my hand through my hair and strands just slither out between all of my fingers, sometimes in groups of 5-10. It feels like it just keeps coming and coming out Eventually it stops, but then there's a mouse-sized hairball in the drain trap. Ugh.

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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    The usual reason hair falls out during conditioning is because the added slip from the conditioner enables all the hairs that have been shed but are still held in the mass of hair to finally slip out. If you normally comb before the shower, but stop doing this, then you would see more apparent "hair loss" with conditioning, as you are seeing already-shed hair that the comb would have drawn out as well as already-shed hair that would only slip out with conditioning.

    (It is possible that certain conditioners can cause shedding, but this is much rarer and is usually related to a single product/ingredient. It is also generally only seen when applying the conditioner to the scalp, which is unnecessary anyway - conditioner should be applied to the length only, as the scalp generally recieves more than sufficient conditioning from sebum.)

    Personally, I'd try not to freak out too much. Shedding is a very individual thing, so no one can tell you what is normal for *you* (though the numbers you mention sound within the normal range). Shedding can be provoked postpartum (this is because pregnancy prolongs the growth phase (anagen) and then after birth all the hairs that should have fallen out during pregnancy under normal anagen length suddenly shed, resulting in a big shed). As your doctor said, it is possible that coming off hormone-based birth control (or drastically lowering the systemic (i.e. whole-body) dose) could provoke a similar shed. Mirena might do this as (theoretically) it only doses the uterus, while pills dose the whole body via the bloodstream.

    Another possibility is stress - either mental or physical (e.g. change in diet, increase in exercise, illness, etc.). Stress generally manifests in shedding a few weeks to about 3 months after the stressful event. This is because the stress stops the anagen (growth) phase in the hair, but the hair follicle then has to go through the catagen (transitional) phase (2-3 weeks) and the telogen (resting) phase (about 3 months) before the hair is physically shed from it. In cases of extreme stress, many hair follicles will prematurely undergo this transition, resulting in a larger shed and thinning. However, if the stress is stopped (e.g. recovery from illness) then the hair will usually grow back fine.

    What I'd recommend is measuring your ponytail. Just make a ponytail somewhere where it gathers as much of your hair into it as possible. Measure just above the hairband with a dressmaker's tape or, if you haven't got one, get a piece of string, measure off the circumference with that, then measure your piece of string on a rigid ruler. Repeat the measurement. Try not to get obsessive - once every month is plenty regular enough. Try to ensure the ponytail is in the same place and grabbing the same amount of hair (e.g. layers, fringe, etc.) each time. By having a physical measurement, you will have a much better idea of whether or not you are losing thickness. You will also be more likely to get a doctor to take you seriously.

    Personally, I think measuring the ponytail is a much better method than counting shed hairs. It averages out over your entire head and over your washing/haircare cycle. That way, the errors are reduced and you are much less likely to get freaked out over mis-measurement or the odd shed-heavy day which is more than likely balanced out.
    Last edited by Panth; August 13th, 2013 at 02:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    I was just wondering that myself, whether all the hair I'm shedding is normal. I came to the conclusion that I am noticing way more shed hairs because I don't use a brush anymore, and because I stretch washes. So now I can see them all in my hand, shower, and wide tooth comb, as opposed to them all getting trapped in the brush or washed in the shower. I believe it's the same amount, at least in my case. But I did slightly worry for a bit before I figured that out.

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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    Thanks for the reassurance everyone. I do have a very stressful job Panth, and 3-4 months ago I changed specialties, so that may be what's happening too. I just measured the way you suggested. My ponytail without fringe is 4.5 inches at the nape of my neck. I guess I will measure this again next month.

    I have very fine hair so I worry about loosing thickness/volume.

    What you said makes sense to me too, Surinecet, and I suspect that's what's happening with me too.

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    Member cmdinoto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    I noticed that since I have been using various Pureology products my hair doesn't fall out as much as it used to. I use the Precious oils shampoo and conditioner, the pureology oil, the miricle filler, the essential hair repair and the heat protectant. The product line is so amazing and my brush has less hair and I have less hair lose in the shower.
    2a/b-F-ii-Waist Almost at TBL!!!

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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    Do you know what your shed rate was before you starting taking care of your hair and paying more attention to it? If you have thick hair, what you're shedding now may be entirely normal for you and you just didn't notice it before. I could run my hands through my hair all day long, and I'd always come away with a few hairs. That's normal for me and it's always been that way; I have a lot of hair, so I shed a lot. For some people, it would probably be an alarming amount, but at my age (55) I know what's typical for me. If you noticed this apparent increased shed 3-4 months ago, and also changed your B/C 3-4 months ago, they're unlikely to be related because the hormone levels in your body don't change immediately. My guess is that you just started noticing your shed levels, and it seems to be quite a bit (and don't forget the longer your hair gets, the bigger that wad of hair in the shower looks), but it's not actually increased. I would monitor it for another month or so and see if it changes before getting too concerned.



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    Default Re: Hair Shedding - What is normal?

    I feel like I've been shedding a ton of hair recently.

    First, I'm stretching washes, and keeping it up most of the day, so more of it comes out at once vs. falling out all the time, or when I would brush it several times a day. Also, I notice that I shed more when I do scalp massages. Every hair has a follicle, so I'm thinking it was their time to go, and that means that many new hairs are ready to grow now. Also, it's summer, and I tend to shed more now anyway. I have not noticed my overall thickness changing. The thickness of my braid and pony circumference is the same, but it does seem like I'm shedding a lot more than usual. I'm not worried about it. The last thing I'll do is stress over it and make it worse. I know I'm healthier than I've ever been, so it's just a seasonal shed, and overall it doesn't look any different.

    Another thing, at BCL, 1 shed hair looks like 3 or 4 used to, so a lot of what appears to be "more" shedding could easily just be longer hairs making it look like more hairs.
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