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How Much Hair Is Normal to Lose in the Shower?

Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD

Reviewed by Sara Perkins

Written by Sheryl George

Published 07/24/2021

Updated 11/14/2023

There are the five-minute “get it done” showers, and then there are the “everything” showers. You know, the ones where you do all the things — exfoliating, hair masking, shaving, etc. 

But no matter what type of shower sitch you have going on, we can guarantee one thing: no one wants to see a clump of hair circling the drain as you end your shower ballad. That’s really ending things on a low note. 

Take heart and know shedding hair is totally normal. In this article, we’ll go through exactly how much hair is normal to lose in the shower and all you can do if the scale is teetering from “normal” to “yikes, that’s too much.” 

There are the five-minute “get it done” showers, and then there are the “everything” showers. You know, the ones where you do all the things — exfoliating, hair masking, shaving, etc. 

But no matter what type of shower sitch you have going on, we can guarantee one thing: no one wants to see a clump of hair circling the drain as you end your shower ballad. That’s really ending things on a low note. 

Take heart and know shedding hair is totally normal. In this article, we’ll go through exactly how much hair is normal to lose in the shower and all you can do if the scale is teetering from “normal” to “yikes, that’s too much.” 

The “Normal” Amount of Hair Falling Out in Shower

First off, losing some strands in the shower is totally normal. If you're wondering just how much hair loss is normal in the shower, the answer is a little difficult to pin down precisely, but you can typically expect to lose between 50 to 100 hairs a day on average. 

Some of that 50-100 can be on your pillowcase when you wake up, some can be at the bottom of the shower, some can be on the hood of your sweater — it depends.

That might sound like a lot, but you have thousands of hair follicles on your head (around 100,000, to be exact). So, a little hair around the drain is to be expected, especially when water pressure combined with the slip of shampoo and conditioner will help loosen any hairs already ready to shed. 

Keep in mind: if you’re a dry shampoo girlie or just someone who doesn’t lather up often, you may notice much more than the typical 50 to 100 strands when you do. 

So, when you’re on day six of not shampooing, you can bet that a lot of hair is ready to make a jailbreak on wash day. 

But it's okay to be concerned if you’re constantly finding excessive amounts of hair or a lot more than you typically experience. 

Let’s get into the reasons why your hair sheds and when it’s too much. 

Why Does My Hair Fall Out in the Shower?

Hair loss isn’t just hair loss. It can happen for several reasons, including illness, age, hormones, and just about everything in between. But if you’re noticing more hair falling out in the shower than the usual amount, likely culprits include:

  • Telogen Effluvium

  • Traction Alopecia

  • Alopecia Areata

Let’s look a little more closely at these issues — but first, let’s take some time to understand the hair growth cycle in the first place. 

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The Hair Growth Cycle

Your hair growth cycle involves three different phases, and each hair is at a different point in the cycle at any given time. These phases include the anagen phase (or growth phase), the catagen phase (or transition phase) and the telogen phase (or resting phase). 

In the last, the telogen phase, hair naturally sheds and the cycle starts all over again. That shedding happens everywhere — especially in the shower, thanks to all that soapy rubbing and hand-to-hair friction going on. Our guide to how much hair you lose in a day has all the deets on the hair growth cycle, but below, we’ll also dive into some potential causes of hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium

If you’ve been dealing with a lot at work or are experiencing or recovering from a sudden illness, you may be experiencing hair loss from stress. Seeing more hair falling out with a white bulb at the root? This type of sudden hair loss or excessive shedding after a stressful event is known as telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium usually results in sudden hair thinning across your entire scalp, resulting in more hairs on your pillow or, in this case, in the shower. The good thing is that this type of hair loss is usually temporary. 

To learn more, our guide to stress and female hair loss has detailed causes and treatment options. 

Traction Alopecia

A fan of tight braids or buns? We hate to break it to you, but hairstyles that are tightly pulled back can cause strain on your hairline, which can damage the root and result in a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. 

And it’s not just buns and braids that do the damage. 

Tight ponytails, hair extensions and any other hair styling technique that involves pulling on your hair can cause targeted hair loss over time. 

Alopecia Areata

If you’re noticing bald patches as round or oval bald spots, you may be dealing with alopecia areata. A rarer variant of alopecia areata involves the sudden onset of diffuse thinning of scalp hair.

This type of hair loss happens when the body attacks its own hair follicle.

This autoimmune disease tends to be unpredictable and can happen even if you’re in good health. It can also happen at any age (typically teens, twenties and thirties) and appears to affect all genders and races equally. 

We discuss alopecia areata and the things that cause it in our guide to hair loss in women

How to Reduce Hair Shedding

Depending on what type of hair loss or hair shedding you’re experiencing, there are options to help you get things under control. 

These hair loss treatments can help prevent certain kinds of future hair loss so you’re not haunted by your drain:

  • Spironolactone. As an antiandrogen, this once-daily pill helps target hormones that cause excess hair shedding. Specifically, healthcare providers sometimes prescribe spironolactone off-label to treat female pattern hair loss, or female androgenic alopecia (another type of hair loss that’s different from the three we’ve talked about). Spironolactone helps decrease testosterone levels in the blood and lessens its effects in certain body areas.  

  • Minoxidil.  One of the most studied hair loss treatments available for female pattern baldness, minoxidil is believed to work by encouraging hairs to enter into the anagen — or growth — stage of the hair growth cycle. In a 2014 placebo-controlled trial, researchers found that both 2% and 5% versions of minoxidil improved hair thinning. And thankfully, minoxidil drops are over the counter, so “adding to cart” is easy-peasy.

  • Topical Finasteride Spray. Another topical solution to treat female pattern hair loss, topical finasteride is a great option for postmenopausal women experiencing hormonal hair loss due to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) effects.

Additionally, you may want to see if you have a nutritional deficiency. While biotin deficiency is very rare, supplementation may help stop hair shedding if you are deficient and are experiencing clumps of hair at the shower drain. 

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Losing Hair in the Shower: What to Do Next

We can’t decide what’s less fun — losing hair in the shower, or having to clean it out of the drain. Blegh… But there are definitely ways to prevent excessive hair loss. You just have to figure out a game plan to get your hair health in its best shape. Things to remember:

  • Shedding a few strands daily is normal for the average person. You can expect to lose between 50 to 100 hairs every day.

  • If it starts to feel excessive or concerning, it’s okay — and encouraged! — to call in the experts.

  • Some things that can explain why you’re losing hair in the shower include your normal hair growth cycle, stress-related hair loss, alopecia areata and traction alopecia.

  • If you think you may be thinning a bit, talk to your healthcare provider about a hair loss treatment like minoxidil, spironolactone, topical finasteride spray or biotin supplements.

  • Stressed lately? Try finding ways to manage it like speaking with an online therapy provider.

If you’re concerned that you’re experiencing severe hair loss, talk to a dermatology professional to rule out any hormonal or medical changes. Our article on the best hair loss treatments for women for more information is another excellent resource if you want to dig a little deeper. And if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. You can also start a hair loss consultation and speak to a healthcare professional about hair loss.

8 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Hughes, EC & Saleh, D. (2022)Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  2. Murphrey, MB, & Agarwal S, Zito PM.Anatomy, Hair, Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513312/
  3. Hughes, EC & Saleh, D. (2022)Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  4. Pulickal, J. K., & Kaliyadan, F. (2022, August 8). Traction Alopecia - StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470434/
  5. Levy, L., & Emer, J. J. (2013, August 29). Female pattern alopecia: current perspectives - PMC. NCBI. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769411/
  6. Blume-Peytavi, Ulrike, Hillmann, Kathrin, Dietz, Ekkehart, Canfield, Douglas & Bartels, Natalie Garcia. A randomized, single-blind trial of 5% minoxidil foam once daily versus 2% minoxidil solution twice daily in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia in women (2011). Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21700360/
  7. Katta, R. (2017, January 31). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033
  8. Jolley, D., & Sinclair, R. (2005, March). Treatment of female pattern hair loss with oral antiandrogens. PubMed. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15787815/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Sara Perkins

Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. She is the director of the Teledermatology Program, as well as the Associate Program Director of the Yale Dermatology Residency Training Program. Her research focuses on telemedicine and medical education. Her practice includes general medical dermatology, high-risk skin cancer, and procedural dermatology.

Dr. Perkins completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and obtained her medical degree at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She completed her medical internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by residency training in dermatology at Yale University, after which she joined the faculty.

Dr. Perkins has been a member of the Hims & Hers Medical Advisory Board since 2018. Her commentary has been featured in NBC News, Real Simple, The Cut, and Yahoo, among others.

Publications:

  • Ahmad, M., Christensen, S. R., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). The impact of COVID-19 on the dermatologic care of nonmelanoma skin cancers among solid organ transplant recipients. JAAD international, 13, 98–99. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10518328/

  • Ahmad, M., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). Learning dermatology in medical school: analysis of dermatology topics tested in popular question banks. Clinical and experimental dermatology, 48(4), 361–363. https://academic.oup.com/ced/article-abstract/48/4/361/6869515?redirectedFrom=fulltext&login=false

  • Belzer, A., Leasure, A. C., Cohen, J. M., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). The association of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma with solid organ transplantation: a cross-sectional study of the All Of Us Research Program. International journal of dermatology, 62(10), e564–e566. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.16700

  • Ahmad, M., Marson, J. W., Litchman, G. H., Perkins, S. H., & Rigel, D. S. (2022). Usage and perceptions of teledermatology in 2021: a survey of dermatologists. International journal of dermatology, 61(7), e235–e237. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.16209

  • Asabor, E. N., Bunick, C. G., Cohen, J. M., & Perkins, S. H. (2021). Patient and physician perspectives on teledermatology at an academic dermatology department amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 84(1), 158–161. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491373/

  • Belzer, A., Olamiju, B., Antaya, R. J., Odell, I. D., Bia, M., Perkins, S. H., & Cohen, J. M. (2021). A novel medical student initiative to enhance provision of teledermatology in a resident continuity clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pilot study. International journal of dermatology, 60(1), 128–129. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753449/

  • Cohen, J. M., Bunick, C. G., & Perkins, S. H. (2020). The new normal: An approach to optimizing and combining in-person and telemedicine visits to maximize patient care. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 83(5), e361–e362. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7316470/

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