Welcome to North Pacific Dermatology


Request Medical Records

Is Hair Loss Normal, or Do I Have Alopecia?

To a certain degree, hair loss can be normal. There are some instances, however, in which you could be experiencing early signs of alopecia. But how can you tell the difference between normal hair loss and early alopecia symptoms? Here are a few answers that might help you out.


Is Losing Hair Normal?

In a word, yes. Hair goes through a growth cycle in which it grows and falls out, so some hair loss is normal! You might notice a few strands in your hairbrush or caught in the drain after you shower. This is normal and part of your hair’s growth cycle. However, it’s important to recognize when ordinary hair loss has turned into something more serious.

What’s the Difference Between Normal Hair Loss and Alopecia?

While a few strands of hair falling out isn’t much of a concern, it’s important to know the difference between this and conditions like alopecia. Your hair’s normal growth cycle does result in hair loss, but it’s typically no more than a few strands here and there on a daily basis. Alopecia is an autoimmune condition that causes hair to fall out in patches. This hair loss is often sudden and can occur in small patches or large swaths. It doesn’t solely affect the scalp, either. Alopecia can affect the eyebrows, eyelashes, and even other parts of the body. While alopecia treatment can be effective in combating this type of hair loss, there is currently no cure for the condition.

Reasons for Hair Loss

If you notice a bit more hair falling out than is normal for you, it’s important to know why that could be happening. There are numerous causes for hair loss that don’t necessarily translate to alopecia, and the sooner you can isolate the reason for your hair loss, the sooner you can get hair loss treatment. One of the biggest reasons for hair loss is stress. Times of high stress can result in more hair loss than usual — in some instances, you may even lose patches of hair. If you can pinpoint stress as the issue, it’s possible to remove that stressor as a factor and begin healing your hair. Another common reason for hair loss is heat or chemical treatments. Regularly bleaching your hair and intense heat styling can cause hair breakage and hair loss. If you suspect this is the cause of your recent increase in hair loss, it could be time to put the hair tools away for a little while. If you can’t pinpoint a reason for your hair loss on your own, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist who can offer a more accurate diagnosis for you.

Common Signs of Alopecia

Unlike normal hair loss, alopecia is an autoimmune disorder. That means the above factors COULD contribute to the hair loss that occurs with alopecia, but they aren’t the root cause. One of the most important symptoms to look out for with alopecia is hair loss in small patches. Whether it falls out while you’re running your hand through your hair or while you’re in the shower, pay attention to how much hair falls out and whether it was all from the same area or not. In addition, hair loss on other parts of your body — in the same patch-like pattern — is another sign of alopecia.

If you’re noticing early signs of hair loss and you think it could be more problematic than normal, everyday hair loss, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology and schedule an appointment today. Together, we can find a treatment plan that works for you.

Was this helpful?

We would love to meet you and get started on a solution!