Ask a Scientist: Should I Be Concerned About How Much Hair I Lose in the Shower?

The Scientist: Amy McMichael, M.D., Chair of the department of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Answer: So, you’re finding clumps of hair clogging up the drain at the end of your showers? This is totally normal and you probably have no need to worry. As hair cycles between phases of growth and rest, everyone naturally loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day, depending on genetics. And on days when you’re roughing up your head with a good shampooing, that number is going to be even higher.

If you have super-straight hair, a lot of the hairs you shed will end up on your clothes, in your hairbrush or on the floor. The rest will come out when you suds up. If you have curlier hair, shed strands often get caught in their stable neighbors and might not be freed until you wash your hair—probably a few times a week at most—and that means you could conceivably pull out significantly more than a hundred hairs in a single shower. And if that hair is long and thick, the mass of strands in the drain is going to look especially scary.

If you’re worried that you might be suffering clinical hair loss as opposed to regular shedding, the true indication will not be the amount of hair that comes out, but whether that amount has changed. If you’re noticing more hair than normal in the drain, if it’s coming out in clumps, if your ponytail feels thinner than it used to, or if you can see more of your scalp than you could before, you should consult a dermatologist.

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  • Gianna Ellis

    Thanks for explaining!! I have thick curly hair and when I wash my hair I see tons of strands bunched together in my shower drain and I always freak out and thinking I’m loosing a lot of hair but now understand! Lol great article 🙂

  • Jennie Mele

    Please help. My hair has always been my pride and joy. I figured since it is pretty damn healthy, it could deal with some bleach damage. And I figured the master stylist who did all the color-corrections would know how much would be too much. I was wrong, and now I want to burst into tears every time I look at my hair or touch it. I just don’t know what to do. my hair has also NEVER been shorter than this and it breaks and falls out. What should i do to regrow hair?

    • Jenny Taylor

      Hi honey! Please don’t fret. It’s going to be fine. Sounds like you’ve learned a hard lesson about lightening it. I’m sorry for your experience. The colourist sounds incompetent. I’m guessing you’re now going to learn to embrace the hair God gave you!
      If your hair was healthy and strong before, there’s no reason it shouldn’t grow back to its original condition and health with time and patience.
      Sea Kelp supplements will help you to grow it out faster. I know, as I’ve used them successfully over months. Holland & Barrett’s Nature Garden was the one I used, but there are others.
      You can boost your hair’s condition and health with a high strength vitamin E 1 a day capsule. Add a good B complex to that and you’ll be well on your way.
      If you don’t think it’s growing back well, perhaps get another professional opinion from a different hairdresser. Failing that, consult a tricologist (hair specialist). They’ll be able to give you a much fuller picture than I can of what’s happened and what you can do/expect.
      Best do little to it for a while except be kind to it. Massage with oils is also a really good way to stimulate growth, as it boosts circulation.
      Try rocking your short hair for a while with a cute pixie cut, maybe!
      Best of luck ; )

  • maria

    i am losing 300 to 400 strands on shower day. is it normal?

    though i wash my hair once a week