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Whether in the shower or on your pillow, hair shedding can be a tough pill to swallow. Our advice? Don’t panic. It’s all too easy to misinterpret hair shedding as the early signs of balding. Healthy shedding is entirely normal, and is one of the key elements of the hair growth cycle. However, if your shedding is sustained over multiple weeks and is falling out in larger clumps, it could be a sign of male pattern hair loss. To help you figure out where you’re at with your hair, we’ve got together a quick explanation of shedding and balding.
How many hairs do you lose a day?
Even the healthiest head regularly loses strands of hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, losing between 50 and 100 hairs every day is completely normal. These estimates tend to vary among experts and can obviously vary depending on health conditions and other external factors. A study in 2009 expanded those estimates and found that a standard estimate for hair shedding is between 10 and 250 hairs per day.
While it’s totally understandable to be worried about losing over a hundred hairs each day, it’s important to remember that it’s a very small percentage of your overall hair count. Most people have around 100,000 hair follicles, which means that you’re only losing around 0.1% of your hairs each day. The shedding process is also part of your hair growth cycle and contributes to the replenishment of your hair over time.
Of course, there are varying factors that might see you losing more hair than an average person. For instance, those that style or brush their hair may lose more in the long run. A study found that 40% of women may experience excessive hair loss as a result of aggressive brushing or styling. While this study used women as participants, the rules still apply to men.
The hair growth cycle
Everybody experiences some form of hair shedding. If you’re not experiencing male pattern baldness, each shedding hair will inevitably be replaced with a new strand thanks to the hair growth cycle. The cycle itself has four distinct phases:
Shedding or balding?
While shedding is an important part of maintaining a healthy head of hair, male pattern hair loss baldness disrupts the cycle and damages your follicles. When overproduced, DHT is one of the hormones that can cause havoc to the cycle. If you have follicles that are sensitive to DHT they’ll struggle to produce new hairs, with the hormone latching onto receptors in the scalp and resulting in a damaged hairline.
If you’re noticing a large amount of hairs falling out for more than a few weeks, it may be one of the early signs of male pattern balding. Still unsure? We’d recommend taking some brightly lit pictures over a few months and comparing your hairline.