How to Know the Difference Between Hair Fall and Hair Loss?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

It's not uncommon to find strands of hair on your brush, in the shower drain, or on your pillowcase. While shedding hair is a normal part of the hair growth cycle, excessive or prolonged hair loss can be a cause for concern. Understanding the difference between normal hair fall and problematic hair loss is crucial in addressing the issue effectively and preventing potential baldness or thinning.

How to Know the Difference Between Hair Fall and Hair Loss

Hair fall and hair loss may seem similar, but they are distinct phenomena with different underlying causes and implications. The key to distinguishing between the two lies in understanding the normal hair growth cycle and recognizing the signs of abnormal shedding.

Normal Hair Fall

It's normal to shed between 50 to 100 strands of hair per day as part of the natural hair growth cycle. During this cycle, hair follicles go through three phases: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transition phase), and telogen (resting phase). At the end of the telogen phase, old hair strands naturally detach from the follicles, and new hair growth begins.

Normal hair fall is typically diffuse, meaning it occurs evenly across the scalp, and the shed hairs have a small bulb at the end, indicating they were in the telogen phase. This type of shedding is considered healthy and helps make way for new hair growth.

Hair Loss

Hair loss, on the other hand, is characterized by excessive or abnormal shedding that goes beyond the normal hair growth cycle. This can manifest in various ways, such as thinning hair, bald patches, or a receding hairline. Unlike normal hair fall, hair loss is often more concentrated in specific areas and may involve shedding of hairs that are still in the anagen (growth) phase.

Some common signs of hair loss include:

  • Excessive shedding (more than 100 strands per day)
  • Thinning or bald patches on the scalp
  • Receding hairline (especially in men)
  • Gradual overall thinning or diffuse hair loss
  • Dry, brittle, or dull-looking hair

Factors Contributing to Hair Loss

Several factors can contribute to excessive hair loss, including:

  • Genetics: Male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) is a common inherited condition that affects millions of men worldwide.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Fluctuations in hormones, such as during pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disorders, can trigger hair loss.
  • Stress: Emotional or physical stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle and lead to excessive shedding.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Lack of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins can impair hair growth and lead to thinning.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer treatments, and skin disorders, can cause hair loss.
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Addressing Hair Loss

If you suspect you are experiencing excessive hair loss, it's important to consult a dermatologist or hair loss specialist. They can diagnose the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes to address the issue.

Treatments for hair loss may include medications like minoxidil or finasteride, supplements to address nutritional deficiencies, or procedures like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy or hair transplantation, depending on the severity and cause of the hair loss.


Distinguishing between normal hair fall and hair loss is crucial for maintaining a healthy scalp and preventing further hair thinning or baldness. While shedding up to 100 strands per day is considered normal, excessive or concentrated shedding, thinning, or bald patches may indicate hair loss. Factors like genetics, hormones, stress, and medical conditions can contribute to hair loss, and seeking professional help is recommended for proper diagnosis and treatment.

By understanding the difference between hair fall and hair loss and taking proactive steps to address the issue, you can promote healthy hair growth and maintain a full, vibrant head of hair.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.