One of the most shared experiences women have is the mural of hair we create on the walls of the shower after washing our hair. But why is our hair falling out in the shower? Is it normal? And how much hair loss is too much hair loss in the shower? Let's discuss in today's blog!
Hair fall out in the shower
When we are looking at the reason why hair starts falling out in the shower, it is important to understand the three phases of hair growth. We discussed this before in previous blogs, but let’s quickly recap:
The first phase is called the anagen phase which can last between two and seven years. During the anagen phase, our matrix hair cells are hard at work, dividing nearly every 18 hours to push the hair strand up, up, and away through the skin. While in this phase, our hair grows roughly half a millimeter each day. Remember that roughly 85-90% of the hairs on our head are in the anagen phase at any time.
The second phase is the catagen phase, which only lasts two to three weeks. This is a transitional phase where the hair follicle shrinks and this can last around ten days. While hair growth still occurs during the catagen phase, it begins to slow down: By the end of this phase, hair stops growing and leads to its third phase and final phase.
The third phase, known as the telogen phase, represents the part of the growth cycle when your hair rests and resets. Once this brief hibernation is complete, the follicle can cycle back to the anagen phase, push out the old hair shaft, and begin anew. Remember that on average, 10-15% of your hair follicles sit dormant in the telogen phase for 2-4 months at a time.
How much hair loss is normal? What does showering have to do with it?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, a person loses between 50 and 100 hairs per day, but it is dependent on the thickness and length of a person's hair. For example, a person with short hair will experience less shedding than a person with long and/or thick hair. Someone with thick and long hair might shed closer to 150-200 strands. A major contributing factor to why more hair may be falling out in the shower is related to how often you are washing your hair. More frequent showers can lead to the appearance of more hair shedding in the shower.
But this is perfectly normal! Most hair shedding occurs in the shower. It’s normal to see your hair falling out in the shower and afterwards while combing. However, with hair thinning and hair loss, relatively more hairs will be in the catagen and telogen phases of the hair growth cycle. These hair strands are not rooted into the scalp as strongly. The act of showering and washing your hair can lead individual hair strands to dislodge, giving the appearance of more hair shedding in the shower.
Tips to help decrease hair fallout in the shower
Decrease hair washing when showering to minimize hair fall
While it may appear that you are losing more hair in the shower when you wash your hair less, it is normal for hair to fall out when showering. Decreasing the amount of hair washing can be helpful to reduce the amount of pulling and tugging on your hair follicles, which is what causes them to fall out when showering.
Use Wide-tooth Combs
Another way to reduce tension on your hair is brushing your hair with a wide-tooth comb instead of using a bristled brush or small toothed comb. The wild-toothed comb will detangle your hair without adding excessive pulling. This is a simple way to minimize hair falling out in the shower and out of the shower.
Avoid Rubber Hair Ties
Wearing your hair in tight hairstyles, specifically with rubber hair elastics can also increase pulling and tension on your hair, leading to more hair falling out in the shower. Wearing your hair tightly pulled back could also potentially lead to traction alopecia.
Protect Your Hair from Heat
Another tip to protect your hair in the shower, and more broadly is to protect it from the sun and heat as much as you protect your skin. When outside, try wearing a hat or sitting under an umbrella. Excessive heat could damage the follicles, causing them to more easily dislodge. When using heat to style your hair such as straighteners, blow dryers, and curlers, make sure to invest in a good heat protectant.
Other good ways of stopping your hair from falling out in the shower is to take care of your hair after showering.