Although the sight of a hairbrush full of hair is never a good one, that doesn’t mean you are going bald, and not all cases of hair loss are worthy of medical attention. In fact, doctors say that losing up to 100 hairs a day is normal and you can lose even more if you have thick, voluminous hair. However, there are also cases when thinning hair is a symptom of a more significant problem that requires some blood tests and a visit to your doctor’s office. Here are the situations when hair loss deserves more attention.
When is hair loss normal?
Just like our skin, hair has a regeneration cycle that lasts for about three years. During this time, groups of three or four hairs grow by one cm and the old hairs constantly fall to make room for the new ones. Dermatologists agree that a total of 100 lost hairs every day is average and you should not be worried if you notice a couple of hairs on your pillow in the morning. The number of hairs you lose may also depend on the season, research shows. In spring and fall, when there are sudden swings in temperature, and the body faces vitamin deficiencies, hair loss is more common.
Hair loss as a side effect of medicine
Try to think of the period when your hair started to fall. Was it around the time when you started a new medical treatment? If the answer is yes, check the leaflet of that medicine and see if hair loss is listed among the side effects. Drugs that can cause hair loss include retinoids, antibiotics, birth control pills, antidepressants, pills for lowering cholesterol, thyroid medication and chemotherapy drugs. Make sure you talk to your doctor about hair loss concerns for a possible change in medication or dietary supplements that can cancel this side effect.
Check the hair loss pattern
One of the easiest ways to tell whether your hair loss is normal or not is to check how much hair you are losing. If you find more than 100 hairs on clothes, pillows and in the shower drain, then you should see a specialist. There is no need to start counting hairs because you can tell just by looking if you are losing a lot them. Also, you lose a little bit of hair already, so when more of it starts to fall, you might notice the difference right away. Contact a professional if you started losing hair all of a sudden and not gradually. Also, if itchy scalp and rashes accompany hair loss, schedule a dermatologist appointment to rule out a skin condition.
If you replaced your regular shampoo with a thickening shampoo for hair loss and haven’t seen any improvements yet, don’t panic. Most drugstore shampoos of this type do not contain the active substances your scalp needs to re-grow hair, so you should not expect miraculous results.
The Guardian. Should I worry about my hair loss?. Date accessed: November 2017
Tosti, A, et al. Drug Induced Hairloss and Hair Growth. URL link. Date accessed: November 2017
Nutritional factors and hair loss, D. H. Rushton. URL link. Date accessed: November 2017