How much hair loss is normal for a 30 year old woman on a regular basis?
August 14, 2014 2:49 PM   Subscribe

My shoulder length hair fully covers my head. I can't easily see my scalp. But I was looking at photos of myself from a few years ago, and I can't help but feel like there's just less there. Every single time I run my hands through my hair, a few strands come out, and when I comb my hair or shower, many strands come out. I have read about how long-haired women constantly shed hair, and I can't quite figure out if my daily hair loss is that kind of normal loss, or accelerating into something more. How can I determine which one it is?
posted by ocherdraco to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The average human loses 100 hairs a day. On long-haired people this seems like a lot of hair. I go through this every so often and for me there's an anxiety component to it, just one more thing going wrong that will eventually be the cause of my ruination! I'd take a photo of yourself just out of the shower or something and compare it to a similar photo six months from now. And if you see your doctor or a hair stylist before then, ask them about it. Dermatologists are usually the people who the go-to folks about this. Here's a website from the American Academy of Dermatology about hair loss that you can read through.
posted by jessamyn at 2:54 PM on August 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: just one more thing going wrong that will eventually be the cause of my ruination!

This is an accurate picture of the thought pattern I've got about this right now. It doesn't help that I've got some important interviews coming up in the next month.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:58 PM on August 14, 2014

I think if you can't see your scalp you are probably ok. I lose many more than 100 hairs each time I shower (somewhere around 150 and possibly more-- yes I have counted!). I also shed whenever I sit somewhere, and I lose more than a few strands every time I run my hand through my hair. I'm a couple years shy of 30 so I think you are fine.
posted by queens86 at 3:01 PM on August 14, 2014

I have slightly longer hair than you and am in my mid-30s... I lose so much hair in the shower that my husband refers to the collection in the hair catcher as a "small woodland creature". Still have a ton of hair and no visible signs of thinning.
posted by jshort at 3:04 PM on August 14, 2014

29, medium length hair. I lose so much hair that one of my exes used to text me every time he found one of my hairs in a new place in his flat with no possible explanation for how it could have got there ('there is one WRAPPED AROUND THE MARMITE JAR' etc).

I noticed much less hair loss when my hair was cropped close to my head, but don't think that was due to anything other than the lost hairs being less noticeable.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 3:18 PM on August 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have very fine hair, and when I had it below shoulder-length, I had a few different stylists tell me that wearing your hair pulled back frequently with those black spandex-y hair bands, especially while sleeping, would contribute to increased hair loss. If you use anything similar, that's something to consider.

Maybe you could start taking a hair-skin-nails supplement for a few weeks, plus switch to a Rogaine-type shampoo, and see if you notice any difference? I've also noticed more hair loss when I was under a great deal of stress. I like the idea of taking some photos for comparison in a few months.
posted by cardinality at 3:34 PM on August 14, 2014

Response by poster: I will try the photo thing. Thanks for the reassurance, everyone!
posted by ocherdraco at 3:37 PM on August 14, 2014

Part of it might be hair texture, too. My hair is very dry and curly and velcro-like. It often knots up in itself. When I run my hands through it, wash it, or brush it, a lot of it seems to come out all at once, but I think it has just been caught there during the normal process of shedding.
posted by sockermom at 3:39 PM on August 14, 2014

My delightful wife has ass-length hair and oh my god there is a lot of it in on and around our house. There has been no sensible diminution in her locks.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:10 PM on August 14, 2014

If you're still fretting over it after reading the advice in this thread, you may be worth your peace of mind to get your thyroid tested.
posted by Specklet at 4:59 PM on August 14, 2014

It's worth considering if you actually are losing more hair than normal. Are you on birth control? Birth control sometimes causes hair loss or thinning. So does anemia.
posted by amaire at 5:00 PM on August 14, 2014

I have always had very thick hair, and I shed a lot similar to what you describe (constantly losing at least a few hairs anytime I run my hand through it, my brush is always full of hair when I stop brushing, etc). I started to notice a decrease in the amount of hair around age 30 as well. But I would actually count it as a good thing, because previously I could not wear most standard ponytail holders without breaking them due to hair thickness. What you describe sounds within the range of normal to me.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:33 PM on August 14, 2014

If it's any consolation, I think we lose hair more in summer than the rest of the year.

Might I recommend Nioxin shampoo if you are really concerned? I lost a fair chunk of hair after having pneumonia and that helped put it back on, so to speak. About the way I determined that I was losing hair at the time was that it was literally thinner when I pulled it back--also my mother lost her shit when she saw my head after several months.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:51 PM on August 14, 2014

I always lost a lot of hair after having a baby (don't know if that applies) and certain medications will make your hair thinner (Metformin). But another thick haired person chiming in that our shower drain has to be cleaned daily.
posted by tamitang at 7:21 PM on August 14, 2014

There can also be either a nutritional or mental/physical health component. Make sure you're not iron deficient, consider getting your thyroid tested if you have any other related symptoms, and expect that you might have some hair falling out three or four months after a stressful event (exams, job change, flu, whatever).
posted by instamatic at 8:14 PM on August 14, 2014

Some medications besides birth control can do this, and so can very quick weight loss.
posted by marguerite at 6:43 AM on August 15, 2014

Also check the range the doc is using for thyroid. Endocrinologists use a different range. Subclinical hypothyroidism can cause hair loss.
posted by egk at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2014

I began to lose my hair in the front/top in my early 30s due to PCOS. It was gradual until one day I looked in the rearview mirror in the car and all I could see was scalp I'd never noticed before. Low androgen BC, Spironolactone, and Rogaine have me back to not easily seeing my scalp.
posted by cecic at 9:16 AM on August 15, 2014

I've been experiencing this recently, and it happens from time to time. I read about taking biotin supplements and how it helps hair loss, so I ordered some (yet to arrive). I have high hopes because I really don't have enough hair to spare. Might be worth also reading the reviews of some of the biotin brands on iherb to see the results other people are having.
posted by Zaire at 12:10 AM on August 16, 2014

Just a data point, but about a year ago I noticed that my hair seemed to be getting awfully thin. Around the same time, I coincidentally learned I was deficient in vitamin D. I've been taking supplements since then, and now my hair's fine. Either I was just fretting, or the vitamin D fixed it.
posted by tangerine at 4:08 PM on August 17, 2014

Response by poster: As far as I can tell, I was losing more hair than normal when I wrote this question, but I'm not now. I'm going to keep an eye on it, but I think it was probably just normal fluctuation.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:45 PM on September 14, 2014

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