Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
5 min read
Hair has 3 stages of growth and a final stage where the strand comes out, which is known as the exogen phase. The former stages are known as anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase is the growth phase and lasts for 3 to 6 years, depending on the individual. During this phase, hair is growing and experiencing intense cell renewal. The hair then goes through terminal maturation.
The catagen phase is known as the regressing or transition phase. It's a transition time when the hair stops growing and is cut off from the blood supply. This typically lasts about 1 to 2 weeks and is only 10% of the growth cycle.
The telogen phase, telogen effluvium, is the resting phase. During this phase, the follicle is inactive for around 3 to 4 months. Once those months have passed, new hairs begin to grow from the follicles that old hairs have evacuated.
Once in the exogen phase, hairs spontaneously fall out of the follicle in which they are loosely being held. They also come out due to brushing and washing of the hair.
This is because the new hair is waiting in the follicle to emerge and is pushing the old hair out. It's also possible that you could shed hair regardless of where it is in the hair growth cycle.
There are many cells and structures involved in the hair cycling process. They are the following:
The large structure at the base of the follicle is called follicular papilla. This becomes smaller in the telogen phase. The size of this structure dictates the follicles' shape and size.
Hair shedding is a completely normal and natural process. Shedding stops on its own and can be caused by many changes.
Someone who has experienced weight changes (weight loss), pregnancy, or stress may have increased shedding. However, it's just for that period of time and not ongoing.
Hair loss, on the other hand, is influenced by some sort of external factor. This could be from hair treatments, tight hairstyles, or other physical trauma to the hair.
If you're not getting the appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals, you'll likely see the results in your hair and nails. You could have deficiencies in riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12, and you may notice more hair loss than normal.
Hormones play another important role in hair loss. For example, androgens, or male hormones, directly affect the hair follicles. Unbalanced hormones present themselves in many ways, one of them being hair loss.
People lose their hair in the shower because they are stimulating their scalp. As you wash your hair, the gentle motions pull out the hairs in the telogen phase that are on their way out soon, anyway.
This is also true if you haven't brushed your hair in a while. If it's been several days since you've showered or brushed your hair, you'll likely notice more hair coming out when you do.
It is completely normal to lose hair in the shower. However, if you're noticing bald spots and patches where hair is missing, speak to your doctor. You shouldn't be losing clumps of hair in the shower.
On average, people have about 250,000 hairs on their heads. We have a large amount of hair and some to spare.
The average person can lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day. This does depend on the amount, length, and thickness of the hair.
Typically, people with thick hair shed more hair. People with thinner or shorter hair shed less.
We mentioned above that a scalp that wasn't stimulated recently may produce more hair shedding in the shower. It's also true that, if your hair has tangles, you'll experience more hair loss in the shower.
You can accidentally pull out hairs that aren't on their way out when your fingers get caught in tangles. Unless there is something else going on, you should still have more hair on your head than you're losing. But it can be disconcerting to see more hair in your shower drain than you're used to seeing.
The best way to prevent hair shedding is to get adequate nutrients from the diet or added supplements. You need the proper amounts of essential fatty acids, protein, and other vitamins and minerals to keep your hair luscious and shiny.
Be sure you're getting enough rest, because sleep plays an essential role in overall health. Stay away from harsh chemicals and treatments that damage your hair. Instead, get a soothing scalp treatment to nourish your hair and follicles.
If you see sudden increased hair loss, it's time to speak with a medical professional. Any changes in your scalp or areas of pattern baldness are red flags that should be addressed by your doctor.
It's natural to experience hair falling out in the shower. However, no one should have clumps of hair coming out. That is a different type of hair loss that you should get checked by your doctor.
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