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Why Does My Hair Fall Out When I Wash It?

author image Kathy Mayse
Kathy Mayse began her writing career as a reporter for "The Jackson-County Times Journal" in 2001. She was promoted to assistant editor shortly after. Since 2005, she has been busy as a successful freelancer specializing in Web content. Mayse is a licensed cosmetologist with more than 17 years of salon experience; most of her writing projects reflect this experience.
Why Does My Hair Fall Out When I Wash It?
A young woman is washing her hair. Photo Credit Salvador Benítez San José/iStock/Getty Images

A good scalp massage and shampoo removes dirt, debris, excess oils, styling product and loose hair. Those with long hair appear to lose more hair during and immediately after shampooing because long strands of hair are easier to spot than short hairs. However visual and upsetting the loss may be, most hair loss associated with shampooing is normal.


You can expect to shed up to 100 hairs per day as part of the natural hair-renewal process. While you will not shed 100 hairs all at once, many become entangled with other hairs or get held in place by styling products. Brushing and shampooing releases all of the shed hairs at one time, which may lead you to believe that your hair is falling out when you wash it. For most people, however, the hair left behind in the drain is all part of the natural process and nothing to be concerned about.

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When you lose more than 100 hairs per day or more than your body can replace, thinning occurs. Thinning has many causes including age, illness, stress, malnutrition, hormones, hair damage, medications, and scalp diseases and disorders. For men, thinning is more noticeable at the front hairline and in the crown. Women usually experience an overall thinning, but some notice localized thinning on the top of the head. If you are actively thinning, you may notice the hair loss while you are shampooing even though you are losing hair throughout the day.


Damage from chemical treatments, too-tight styles, thermal styling, excessive sun exposure and certain products weaken the structural integrity of the hair, resulting in breakage. When you shampoo your hair, your hair becomes heavy due to absorption of water. Healthy hair stretches to accommodate the additional weight, but damaged hair snaps under the pressure. The act of shampooing and massaging your head also places tension on the hair, which can result in even more breakage.


Some medications list brittle, dry hair as a side effect, according to WrongDiagnosis.com. Weak, brittle hair can be likened to damaged hair. In its weakened condition, brittle hair cannot withstand the tension created by cleansing, drying and styling. Brittle hair can snap throughout the day and while you sleep. While you will find some hairs on your pillow, clothes and furniture, the majority will come out when you shampoo.


Hormonal changes and thyroid conditions bring about dramatic hair changes. Changes in the way the male hormone testosterone is metabolized causes 95 percent of thinning and hair loss cases, according to Medical News Today. Thyroid conditions alter hormonal levels, which also causes hair loss.

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