Shedding a FEW strands of hair is normal and should not cause alarm as this is the body’s natural renewal cycle.
So, the next time you see hair on your comb or hairbrush, do not panic.
However, it’s crucial that if you experience excessive shedding resulting in bald spots or loss of large chunks of hair you should speak to a professional.
How Much Hair Do You Lose In a Day?
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, the average person loses approximately 50 to 100 strands of hair each day.
This number may increase as one gets older and therefore excessive shedding is more common in older people.
As one ages so does the hair follicles. Many hair follicles produce new strands at a slower rate or stop producing at all.
Shedding is also seen to be higher when:
- Children are young
Most newborns will lose the hair they were born with during the first six months of their lives and therefore they tend to lose more hair that the average person.
Because children are still experiencing vital body developmental stages, good hair practices and good nutrition are crucial for healthy hair.
- When going through a stressful event or illness the average daily hair loss may increase but quickly goes back to normal when a person recovers.
Hair Loss versus Hair Shedding
It’s important to understand the difference between shedding and hair loss. See the distinction below.
#1. Hair Loss
Hair loss occurs when hair stops growing as a result of external factors and is medically termed as anagen effluvium.
This differs from hair shedding where you lose a few strands of hair as part of the normal body’s function.
Hair goes through a three-stage cycle; Anagen (the growth phase) , Catagen (transition phase) and Telogen (resting). Hair loss occurs as a result of any disruption of this cycle.
The growth phase is the active phase of the hair and during which the root of the hair is developing rapidly to allow for growth.
During this phase, the hair grows about 1cm every 28 days and scalp hair stays in this stage for 2 to 6 years.
The catagen phase is the transitional stage where about 3% of all your hair is in at a particular moment. It lasts for two to three weeks. Here, growth stops.
The resting stage accounts for 6% to 8% of all hair. This stage lasts for around 100 days and the hair follicle is at rest. The hair that is shed per day is telogen hair. 
Causes of Hair Loss
1. Hereditary Reasons
This happens as a result of your genetic makeup and is harmless. It is basically an inherited condition and has no cure but it is said that there is treatment that can slow or stop the hair loss. 
2. Undergoing Some Treatments
When undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment, for instance, you are bound to suffer from air loss. However, after the treatment is stopped, your hair will regrow. 
3. Tight Hairstyles
Hairdressers often warn against tight hairstyles that pull on the hair and eventually cause hair loss. True to their word, tight hairstyles must be avoided in order to prevent hair loss.
4. Harmful Hair Products
Healthy hair requires safe products. It goes without saying that any harsh hair products will definitely damage hair and even lead to hair loss and as such it is advisable to always check the contents of all hair products before use.
5. Immune System-Related Issues
There are some autoimmune diseases that may affect hair follicles and lead to hair loss. For example, alopecia areata which is characterized by sudden hair loss that begins with circular bald patches on the head. 
#2. Hair Shedding
Shedding occurs when you lose a few strands of hair, about 50-100 strands per day.
However, there are instances where one can shed more hair than usual. This condition is referred to as telogen effluvium and can be caused by the following:
Most times, new mothers notice hair shedding about four months after giving birth. This kind of shedding is normal and is referred to as excessive hair shedding by medical practitioners. 
2. Stress-Related Causes
Stress, physical or emotional, is one of the most common reasons for hair shedding. When you are stressed, your body releases the stress hormone which weakens the stem cells from hair follicles needed for hair growth thus resulting in hair shedding. 
3. High Fever
High fever or illness can result in shedding which is often noticeable after about three months after experiencing high fever or being unwell.
During this time, the hair follicles in the growth phase of the hair cycle being forced into the resting phase earlier than usual, due to fever and illness-related causes, where they are retained in the follicle 2-3 months before shedding.
Hair begins to regrow within six months as your body recovers and readjusts to its normal state.
4. Post-Surgical Causes
Undergoing surgery interrupts the normal hair cycle thus resulting in hair shedding.
5. Hormonal Changes
Hormonal imbalance can lead to hair shedding. This especially happens when one gets off birth control.
The hormones in birth control pills can cause hair to stay in the resting phase for too long or enter into the shedding phase too fast thus disrupting the hair cycle. The hormonal stress caused after coming off the pill contributes to hair shedding.
While this can cause hair shedding, it is not common for all women.
How to Prevent Excessive Shedding
- Consume more vegetables and extra protein in your diet.
- Take more vitamins (A, B, C, D & E) and minerals (zinc, iron) necessary for hair growth.
- Avoid harsh products
- Wear low Manipulation hairstyles
- Use heat sparingly
- Maintain good hair and scalp care practices.
While hair shedding is generally considered normal, it is important that you see a dermatologist in the event that you start experiencing excessive hair shedding or general hair loss as discussed above.
Most times, good hair and scalp care practices prevent hair loss and as such, it is advisable that you always remember to employ a good scalp and hair care routine.
BTW, did you know hair porosity plays a key role in hair growth? Take this simple hair porosity test to determine if your hair is HIGH, LOW or NORMAL porosity.