How do I determine what amount of hair loss is excessive?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The thought of going bald is as unpleasant as boiled Brussels sprouts for anyone at any age. The good news is that most of the hair you lose is normal. In fact, you may be surprised to know that it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day, even more on the days you wash your hair.


If you are worried about hair loss, here is a way to tell if your shedding is normal. If you have enough hair, try the hair-pull test: Take your thumb and forefinger and grab about 20 to 40 hairs about an inch from your scalp. Tug the hair hard enough to pull up your scalp (we said tug, not yank!), and slowly slide your fingers all along the shaft to the end. Count the number of hairs that fall out. You should see no more than six hairs in your hand. If you find more than about six in your hand, talk to your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.