7 (Totally Normal) Reasons You Shed More Than Your Dog
If you’re constantly cleaning up strands of hair from, well, everywhere, here’s why. (Photo: Getty Images/sodapix)
If you’re startled by how much hair you shed, you’re not alone: Experts say that it’s completely normal to lose up to 100 strands a day.
“About 90 percent of the hair on your head is in the growing anagen phase, while 10 percent is in the resting telogen phase, meaning that 10 percent will fall out and leave room for new growth,” explains New York City hair restoration surgeon, Robert J. Dorin, DO.
Certain factors may cause more or less shedding through life. Here’s what you need to know about what’s normal.
Feeling unwell causes more hair loss. “Hair is very sensitive to internal upsets, so more hair loss is to be expected when you’ve been sick, stressed or are eating poorly,” explains Anabel Kingsley, a Philip Kingsley hair and scalp expert. However, the shedding usually occurs six to 12 weeks after the event that caused it, so people don’t always connect the two.
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Juicing and dieting can make you shed. “Hair cells grow quickly but are given last dibs on nutrients you ingest, as they’re non-essential to survival,” says Kingsley. Rabid juicing and dieting trends have become common triggers that cut off hair’s energy supply by not providing enough protein and iron. Popular hair growth vitamins like Viviscal and Philip Kingsley Tricho Complex can help grow more hair if you’re deficient in certain vitamins, adds Dorin.
Pregnancy increases shedding. About 50 percent of women will experience a phenomenon known as postpartum shedding a few months after giving birth. Higher estrogen levels during pregnancy lengthen the hair growth phase. As estrogen lowers after birth, more follicles will enter the resting stage, causing increased hair loss. It may feel disconcerting, but isn’t cause for alarm. “This type of shedding is only temporary – the hair will grow back when balance is restored,” assures Kingsley.
Heat styling makes you lose more hair. Breakage stemming from repeat tension from blow drying, straightening and curling with irons, bleaching, keratin and Brazilian treatments, excessive sun exposure, and permanently coloring hair past two shades from your natural hue can all pile the hair you see on the floor. Tightly pulling hair up in braids and buns on a regular basis can also kill follicles and result in more breakage, warns Dorin. Giving hair a break from styling and using soft ties can help retain more strands.
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Women and men shed the same. While both sexes technically lose the same amount of hairs every day, it may seem like women shed much more simply because the length of strands lost is usually longer and more visible on the floor or in the brush. Women also tend to color and heat style more than men, which can result in more snappage that mimics shedding, say our experts.
Shampoo can help. Choose sulfate-free formulas to keep skin irritation that leads to shedding minimal. Dorin recommends milder detergents like disodium laureth sulfosuccinate and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate. “These gentler cleansers with larger molecular size don’t get into the scalp, but rather stay on the surface and are water soluble to rinse off dirt,” he explains. Dorin is the creator of the Scientific Essentials line, and Keranique Hair Regrowth is a new line of shedding-savers that launched this week.
Sometimes, it’s just genetics. “You might just naturally lose 80 hairs a day while your friend may only shed 60,” explains Kingsley. Look for ingredients like provitamin B5, biotin, and hydrolyzed soy protein and keratin in hair products to help make the most of what you’ve got. And keep in mind that medical conditions like thyroid disease, iron deficiency anemia, polycystic ovarian disease, and lupus can all cause more hair loss than is normal as an early warning sign, says Dorin. See a doctor if you think you may be at risk.
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