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  5. How To Differentiate Normal Hair Fall From Severe Hair Loss?

Did you know it is absolutely normal to have hair fall? Yes! Indeed hair fall is a natural phenomenon that occurs in your body. While a new hair grows in the follicle, the old hair must vacate it.

“All hair goes through a natural cycle of growth, rest and fall, much like the leaves of the trees. As seasons dictate the leaf’s fate, our hair growth is dependent on our Ayurvedic Prakriti (genetics), age, nutrition, metabolism, and lifestyle, ’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

If you've been confused whether your hair fall is normal or a reason to worry, this article will address your questions.

What Is The Total Count Of Hair On The Human Scalp?

At an approximate rate, healthy hair in a human grows at 0.35 mm/day [1]. And, the terminal count of hair on a human scalp ranges from 80,000 to 120,000.

However, various Ayurvedic texts present different Kesha Sankhyas (number of scalp hair). While Acharya Charaka enumerated it as 29,956, Acharya Sushruta believes that the number of hairs on the human scalp is innumerable.

How Much Hair Fall Is Normal In A Day?

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, we can consider the falling of 50 to 100 strands as normal [2]. And, the hair fall is more noticeable in people who have longer hair strands.

Average Estimates Of Normal Hair Fall In A Day:

 

How much hair fall is normal for a day

50-100/day

How much hair fall is normal female

50-100/day

How much hair loss is normal for a teenage girl

50-150/day

How much hair fall is normal during hair wash

150-200/day

How much hair fall is normal while combing

50-100/day

How much hair fall is normal in summer

50-100/day

How much hair fall is normal in winter

50-100/day

How much hair fall is normal in monsoon

50-100/day

How much hair loss is normal in menopause

200-300/day

How much hair fall is normal after hair wash

50-100/day

How much hair fall is normal after oiling

50-100/day

How much hair loss is normal after pregnancy

around 300-400/day

Ayurvedic View Of Normal Hair Fall

Ayurveda believes that the features of your hair and its falling conditions depend on the equilibrium of tridoshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

These three doshas are the vital biological energies of life, which combine in a unique ratio in every individual. This unique combination of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha determines the innate Prakriti (nature and physiological features) of an individual, while one or more doshas have a dominant contribution.

People with Vata dominant Prakriti usually have very thin hair which can be straight and unruly. In these people, Vata dosha may get easily aggravated when compared to the other two doshas.

People with Pitta dominant Prakriti may have fine and straight hair with moderate thickness. In these people, Pitta dosha may get easily triggered while compared to other doshas.

People with Kapha dominant Prakriti may have wavy, strong, and thicker hair. In these people, Kapha dosha can be easily aggravated when compared to Vata and Pitta.

In normal conditions, the Vata hair type is a bit weaker than Pitta's hair, while Kapha's hair type is stronger than both. Also, in the lifespan of an individual, the period from birth to puberty is generally governed by Kapha dosha, during which a nominal hair fall is observed throughout.

The period from puberty to the age of fifty is governed by Pitta dosha, during which a moderate level of hair fall can be expected in ideal conditions. And, the period after fifty years of age is governed by Vata dosha, during which severe hair fall occurs, as the hair becomes weaker.

Other than hair fall that occurs with growing age, in any condition, your hair grows healthy when these three doshas in your body are at equilibrium, while they balance each other. Any imbalance occurring in tridoshas due to internal or external factors may lead to abnormal hair fall or hair loss.

Life Cycle Of Hair Based On Modern Science

The growth of hair starts in a hair follicle. The follicles receive essential nutrients from the blood vessels connected to their base. From the beginning of growth to falling out, your hair undergoes four stages: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen [3].

1. Anagen (Growing Phase)

The anagen phase is what determines the length of your hair and it lasts for about two to seven years. During the anagen phase, your hair may be able to grow up to a length of 3 feet.

2. Catagen (Transition Phase)

During the transition phase, your hair strand detaches from the dermal papilla as your follicle shrinks. The catagen phase lasts for about 14-21 days.

3. Telogen (Resting Phase)

The resting phase is when the new hair begins to grow in the follicle, while slowly pushing out the old hair from it. The telogen phase lasts for about 3 months.

4. Exogen (New Hair Phase)

This is when the old hair sheds off your scalp and new hair continues to grow. The exogen is the end part of the telogen phase.

When your hair goes through the anagen phase for a reasonable duration and then gradually reaches the exogen phase, it is considered to be normal hair fall. Every day, around 50-100 hair strands may reach the exogen phase and shed off naturally.

However, as you grow old, the duration of the anagen phase keeps decreasing naturally with each cycle, which we can correlate with the Ayurvedic concept of normal hair fall.

Did You Know?

  • At any given time, around 90% of your hair is in a growing phase while the other 10% is in the resting phase.
hair growth cycle phases

When Should You Be Concerned About Your Hair Fall As Per Ayurveda?

When you observe noticeable hair thinning due to excess hair shedding, it is the indication that your hair is entering the exogen phase too early or your doshas are imbalanced.

Different factors like metabolic imbalances, lack of nutrition, or other illnesses can derange your dosha equilibrium, thus, decreasing the length of the anagen phase of your hair. If ignored, your hair becomes weaker and thinner with each cycle over time and eventually leads to hair loss.

Identifying Imbalances In Dosha Levels

  • When Vata dosha aggravates, it is indicated by dry and frizzy hair with split ends. Your scalp gets dehydrated and hair becomes brittle and lustreless. Eventually, your hair breaks or becomes very thin and falls out in clumps.
  • When Pitta dosha aggravates, it is indicated by scalp inflammation and premature greying of your hair. You will also undergo short-temperament, anxiety, and stress when Pitta dosha spikes up. It causes severe hair fall, which leads to baldness over time.
  • When Kapha dosha aggravates, it is indicated by excessive oiliness on your scalp and hair. You may also have itchy and oily dandruff associated with scalp acne. Hair loss can be the result.

Sometimes, more than one dosha can be in an elevated state, which can lead to compound damage on your hair's healthy growth and cause hair fall. You need to understand your underlying dosha imbalances before treating your hair loss.

Other signs that indicate abnormal hair fall and hair loss may include the following:

  • Hair starts thinning gradually on top of the head (receding hairline on the forehead).
  • Circular or patchy bald spots start occurring in the areas of the scalp, beard or eyebrows.
  • Hair loosens up suddenly and falls out in clumps.
  • One may experience temporary hair loss during treatments like chemotherapy for cancer.
  • Skin diseases like ringworm, psoriasis, etc. cause patches of scaling over the scalp. It leads to the swelling of hair follicles and eventually hair loss.

Preliminary Tests To Check If Your Hair Fall Is Normal

Pull Test

Take about 60 hair strands in between your fingers. Gently, pull the hair as you run the fingers through it. If you have 5-8 hair strands in your hair, you can consider it as normal hair fall. But, if you lose about 15-20 hair strands, then it indicates an abnormal hair fall.

Comb Test

Lean over a light-colored bed sheet and comb your hair from the back of your head to the front of your scalp in the forward direction. After a minute of combing, count the hair strands on the bed sheet. If you see more than 10-15 hair strands, then you may have abnormal hair fall.

Hair Fall In Women Vs Men

Around 70% of men may experience hair loss in their lifetime, while that is observed to be only 40% in women. Men are more prone to androgenic alopecia [4], which can be inherited genetically. It is the hair loss caused by Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormones in men. DHT hormones, which are synthesized from testosterone, block the blood vessels in hair follicles, and stop the nutrient supply for hair growth. This eventually leads to follicle shrinkage and hair loss. Even women [5] may experience DHT hair loss, but not as heavily as men because of their different genetic disposition. In men, hair loss can be noticed as thinning scalp hair, receding hairline, and sometimes as a horseshoe-shaped pattern with the crown exposed. In women, we observe hair loss as general hair thinning (especially at crown region).

woman with hair loss problem

Hair Shedding Vs Hair Loss

If you are shedding more than 100 hair strands in a day, then you are undergoing telogen effluvium, which is nothing but excessive hair shedding. This can be caused by any temporary illness, intense stress, or weight loss. Telogen effluvium can be correlated to Khalitya in Ayurveda.

With Ayurvedic hair care routine based on your current dosha status, proper diet, and stress-free lifestyle, telogen effluvium can be easily reversible within a few months.

But, if you notice thinner hair on your scalp or bald patches, it can be considered as hair loss. Your follicles become dormant and stop growing new hair when you have hair loss. If you experience excessive hair shedding in patches for more than three months, then it is likely that you may have hair loss(alopecia areata) or Indralupta. Ayurveda has specific therapies and treatments to treat Indralupta[6] and reverse hair growth.

How Much Hair Fall Is Too Much?

If you observe more than 150 hair strands falling out throughout the day, you can consider it as abnormal hair fall. It is recommended to consult your doctor or Ayurvedic consultant to find out the underlying causes of your hair loss. Sometimes, hair loss could be an indication of serious illness in the liver or imbalanced thyroid conditions.

The Last Word

Factors like underlying medications, age, pollution, stress, etc. can also accelerate your hair loss. Apart from medications, an appropriate lifestyle and diet are the primary factors that can be your weapons to keep your hair loss in control. Ayurveda suggests exotic therapies, diet, and lifestyle to control hair loss while keeping your doshas in balance.

At Vedix, we customize your hair care regimen based on your hair needs by evaluating your current dosha levels.

Know Your Dosha Now