Tag Archive for: genetic hair loss

Normal vs. Excessive Hair Loss: Here’s How to Tell the Difference

Happy Head customer brushing his hair after using a custom topical finasteride solution for his hair loss.

Nooooo! Don’t let her use my bathroom. She gets hair everywhere!” screams my son every time my daughter asks to use his tub.  Yes, it’s true. She has long, thick hair and leaves a trail. That’s always been the case, and shedding is the norm for his sister. Is that the case for everyone? How do you know whether the daily amount of hair you lose is normal? After all, determining whether the number of strands you see in the sink is okay can be tricky. You don’t want to be paranoid, but you also don’t want to gloss over the situation if your hair really does need some extra attention. When it comes to normal vs. excessive hair loss: here’s how to tell the difference.   

You Naturally Lose a Certain Amount of Hair Each Day

Your hair goes through a growth cycle that includes a stage when hair rests and then sheds. That’s a fancy way of saying that it falls out. So, losing a certain amount of hair each day is normal. Here’s how your hair’s growth cycle works, along with the approximate timing of each stage:

Growth phase (3-5 years)

About 90 percent of the hair on your head is in a growth phase at any given time. During this stage, hairs push out of the follicles and continue to grow until they’re cut, or they reach the end of their lifespan. 

Transition phase (10 days)

The transition phase comes just after the growth phase. Only a small amount, about five percent, of your hair is in the transition phase at any given time. This is when your hair follicles shrink, and growth slows down a bit. Hair doesn’t shed quite yet.

Resting phase (3 months)

Next comes the resting phase, which affects about 10 to 15 percent of your hair. Your hair doesn’t grow during this phase but doesn’t shed either. That’s why it’s called a resting phase. 

Shedding phase (2-5 months)

Some scientists believe there are three phases of the hair growth cycle rather than four. The reason is that it can be difficult to distinguish between the two stages. People can lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs per day when their hair sheds. Yes, that seems like a lot of hair, but it’s completely normal.

There are Times When You Lose More Hair Than Normal, And That’s Okay

Losing hair for any reason is enough to send you to the mirror searching for thinning areas or bald spots. There are some perfectly rational reasons why you could lose more hair than normal, though. On those occasions, you’ll have to try not to panic. Your hair will grow back. When your body goes through any trauma, the hair growth cycle can get disrupted, triggering the resting stage earlier than expected. The disruption can occur if you’ve had COVID-19, the flu, or any other illnesses. Surgery, stress, weight loss, pregnancy, and other events that temporarily shock your body can have the same effect. Not to worry, though. Normal growth patterns will return on their own over time. Stress is one of the primary contributors to hair loss, so try your best to reduce your stress levels when you can.  

Other Times, You’re Losing Too Much Hair

So here’s the big money question. When are you losing too much hair? Let’s start with this. So far, the discussion we’ve been having is about shedding. When your hair sheds, it usually grows back on its own without any intervention. Hair loss is a different story. Hair won’t grow back on its own without intervention or hair growth treatment.  

Woman looking at her part in the mirror, trying to decide if she's losing too much hair.

If you’ve racked your brain and there hasn’t been anything unusual that could have disrupted your hair’s growth cycle, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.  There are many causes for hair loss, and they can help you determine why you may be losing excessive hair.  Some common reasons why include the following:

1. Genetic hair loss

If Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Aunt Betty, or any other blood relative on either side of your family has a history of thinning or balding hair, you may have inherited their hairline. Androgenetic alopecia, a.k.a male or female pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss among men and women who have gone through puberty. If this is the case for you, don’t worry. A lot of progress has been made in researching, identifying, and developing effective regrowth treatments.  The most effective oral and topical treatments, including Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, Spironolactone (our women’s formula), and other DHT blockers, are available by prescription.  Lower doses of topical Minoxidil are available over-the-counter.  

2. Autoimmune hair loss

Many different types of autoimmune diseases can lead to hair loss. Some people may be more predisposed to autoimmune hair loss if they have other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroid disease or Lupus. There are many types of autoimmune hair loss. One is alopecia areata which manifests as small, circular bald spots on various parts of your scalp. It’s a tricky condition because it’s unpredictable. Hair sometimes spontaneously grows back. Other times, the condition goes into a long remission and reappears years later. There’s also lichen planopilaris and other types of scarring alopecia that behave exactly like their names. Little scars grow over your hair follicles, cause your hair to fall out, and block new hair from emerging.  

Autoimmune hair loss is rare. Yes, we’ve been hearing more about it since celebs started sharing their stories. But, that doesn’t mean that you have it. Let your dermatologist diagnose you rather than using WebMD.  

3. Environmental hair loss

All the hair loss we’ve discussed so far stems from inside your body. Environmental conditions can cause direct damage to the outside of your hair, making it break or fall out. Let’s start with hair styling. Bleach, color treatments, perms, and other chemicals may give you immediate gratification, but over time, they can cause structural damage to your hair. When the outer cuticle gets lifted, the bonds inside your hair weaken and break. Dreadlocks, tight braids, and ponytail holders can cause traction alopecia resulting in temporary or permanent hair loss. Trichotillomania, compulsive hair pulling, can also cause hair loss. If you manage the factors contributing to the damage early enough, your hair can grow back. Deep conditioners, regular trims, and, in some cases, Minoxidil will help.  

Here’s What to Do if You Think Your Hair Loss is Excessive

It never hurts to get a professional opinion if you’re stressed out about the hairballs you’re finding on the shower floor. Don’t worry. Your dermatologist won’t think you’re an alarmist. They’ve seen it all.  If you are losing hair, an early diagnosis and immediate treatment will minimize hair loss and get you on the road to regrowth faster.

Don’t want to wait for an appointment? Let Happy Head help, all of our services are done online and without appointment. Fill out a short questionnaire about your hair loss, and one of our board-certified dermatologists will determine whether you will benefit from prescription-grade hair regrowth formula. You can also skip the pharmacy and have your prescription delivered directly to your front door in discreet packaging.    


Is Caffeine the Next Hair Loss Solution?


If you’re losing your hair, you may be rethinking your diet.  After all, diet does affect the quality of your hair.  We know that processed foods and too much alcohol aren’t recommended if you are experiencing hair loss.  If you’re one of those people who can’t get your day started without a steaming hot cup of coffee, though, you may be excited to learn what you thought was a vice may actually help you.  Yes, it’s true.  Researchers have been studying the effects of caffeine on male and female pattern hair loss.  So, here’s the million-dollar question.  Is caffeine the secret weapon to fighting genetic hair loss?  Grab a cup, find a comfortable chair, and keep reading.  

Caffeine:  Drink or Drug?

You’re probably very familiar with caffeine found in coffee, tea, chocolate, some sodas, pain relievers, and other over-the-counter medications.  But, this may come as a surprise to you. Caffeine is categorized as a drug by the FDA.  The reason why is that caffeine stimulates the nervous system.  That causes you to be more awake after downing a cup of coffee, tea, or energy drink such as Red Bull that contains caffeine. Caffeine is also found in many pain relievers, over-the-counter medications, and supplements.  Research shows that when caffeine is added to ibuprofen and other common analgesics, patients experience a higher level of pain relief. (01)  Caffeine increases the absorption and strength of the medication.  Patients with migraines are often told that caffeine can help relieve their symptoms.  

What’s the Connection Between Caffeine and Your Hair?

If you are experiencing androgenetic alopecia, you may be wondering whether caffeine can contribute to your hair loss.  The good news is that you don’t have to go into panic mode.   Caffeine won’t make you lose more hair.  Dr. Ben Behnam, board-certified dermatologist, hair specialist, and founder of Happy Hair hair loss solutions, doesn’t mind when his hair loss patients indulge in coffee or tea.  Although he recommends avoiding energy drinks and processed foods, he gives thumbs up to caffeine.  

Does Caffeine Stimulate Hair Growth?

Not only is caffeine not harmful, research indicates that caffeine can help patients who are experiencing male or female pattern hair loss.  In one study,, concentrations of .001 percent and .005 percent caffeine led to growth of hair follicles preserved in test tubes. (02)  Another study on the effects of caffeine contained in cosmetics discovered that caffeine acts as a DHT blocker. (03)  As a stimulant, caffeine can also increase circulation to your hair follicles, allowing it to work similarly to Minoxidil. (04)   

Can You Substitute Caffeine for Hair Loss Treatments if You Have Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss?

Don’t abandon your Minoxidil, Finasteride, or other prescription hair loss treatments just yet.  More research needs to be conducted on the most effective amount of caffeine and the best delivery method.  Low to moderate amounts of caffeine are safe; however, you would need to ingest a large amount of caffeine to prevent genetic hair loss. Yes, you can buy caffeine pills, but they come with many potential side effects, including high blood pressure, increased urination, and heartburn.  

What About Using Caffeine Topically to Treat Hair Loss?

Another option to try caffeine to treat male or female pattern hair loss is applying it topically.  One research study indicated that a .2 percent topical caffeine solution worked almost as effectively as Minoxidil. (05)  Caffeinated shampoos are an option.  When selecting a shampoo, however, keep in mind that the concentration of caffeine will most likely not be as high as the formula used in the study.  Many shampoos do not include the concentration of caffeine on their ingredients list.  Another option is a coffee rinse.  Again, there isn’t a guarantee that a coffee rinse will work, but if you try it, make sure that the coffee you use is completely cool before you pour it into a spray bottle and spray it on.

Other Hair Loss Treatments

If experimenting with caffeine isn’t for you, other hair loss treatments are worth using.  Prescription medications have been proven to be the most effective for treating male and female pattern hair loss and other forms of alopecia.  FDA-approved Minoxidil and Finasteride are first-line treatments for male and female pattern hair loss and produce measurable results in many people.  Minoxidil enlarges the hair follicles so hair can grow healthy and strong.  Finasteride is a hormone blocker that prevents testosterone from converting to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  Minoxidil and Finasteride are often used at the same time.  Although Finasteride works for most, some people need to step-up to Dutasteride, a more potent DHT blocker.  Women who need a stronger prescription may try Spironolactone, another pill with a different formulation that is also stronger than Finasteride.  Combination topical prescription medications are also available and more convenient than using multiple medications.  

To sum up, research indicated that caffeine may be a viable hair loss solution.  However, if you’re thinking about using caffeine to prevent hair loss and to grow new hair, look carefully at the percentages of caffeine in the product you plan to use.  Odds are that the concentration won’t be high enough to prevent further hair loss and stimulate regrowth.  Additional research and product development still needs to occur.  

In the meanwhile, if your hair is thinning or balding and you would like to start treatment, customizable Happy Head hair loss solution may be just what the doctor ordered.  Contact us so that one of our board-certified dermatologists can review your case and determine whether you would be a good candidate for our topical prescription hair loss medication.  



(01) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6485702/

(02) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2007.03119.x

(03) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23075568/

(04) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804833/

(05) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804833/