Dear Lucy: How can I tell if I am losing more hair than normal? What amount of hair loss is normal, anyway? The hair above my forehead is so much finer than the rest of my hair, and it's getting split ends, even though it's very short. What is a sensible way to take care of hair like that? Are there remedies for women with thinning hair? Hair transplants? Something else? —Bad Hair Day
Dear Bad Hair Day: "Am I losing more hair than normal?" This is a question that many of us—male and female—will ask at some point in our lives. Fortunately, Lucy knew just where to go for the answer: MIT Medical Dermatologist Allison Larson.
Larson tells Lucy that the average person loses 50 to 100 hairs per day—a surprisingly large amount. "In folks with long hair, most of that loss will be visible during brushing or washing," she explains, "so someone who washes their hair once per week may see several hundred hairs come off at that time."
While there are treatment options for women with thinning hair, Larson says she can't be sure of the reason for your hair loss. "Breakage of the frontal hairline can be due to 'traction alopecia,' essentially, damage from pulling hair back," she says. "But this may not explain the particular changes you've noticed."
In any case, since treatment options for hair loss will vary depending on its root cause-no pun intended-both Larson and Lucy suggest making an appointment with your primary care provider to begin figuring out what's going on in your specific case. Once a clinician is able to evaluate the type of hair loss you are experiencing, you can proceed with an appropriate treatment. —Lucy