Every day when I wake up, I see a couple of hair strands on the pillow case, which made me think “am I going bald?”
One of the things that freaked me out was seeing hair strands on my pillow case when I wake up every morning. So I did a little research.
Why is there hair on your pillow every morning? Our hair goes through a growth cycle, and at the final phase of the cycle we lose hair. Therefore we tend to lose 50-100 hair strands every day when the hair becomes vulnerable. This is the reason why you see about 5-20 hair strands on your pillow every day.
What is the normal hair cycle
Before looking at the reason why your pillow case has hair strands every morning, lets take a look at the natural hair cycle.
There are roughly about hundreds of thousands of hair on a healthy person’s head. Each and every one of them grows and dies in a couple of stages. This is known as hair cycle. There are basically 3 phases in the hair cycle.
They are anagen phase, categen phase, and telogen phase. Each stage is responsible for a different function and serves a unique purpose.
This is also known as the growth phase. At this stage the hair will grow approximately 1 cm per month. According to the experts, this growth happens inside the hair follicles and can last from two to six years.
The duration of this phase is determined by the genetics of the particular person. It is said that about 85% to 90% of a person’s hair will be at this phase at any given point of time. At this stage the hair is attached to its follicles, thereby giving a healthy supply of blood and nourishment to the hair. 
This is also known as the transitional phase. At this phase the hair will detach from the follicles cutting the blood supply and nutrition for the hair.
The experts suggest that at any given point of time roughly about 1% of our hair will be at this phase.
The hair will not grow at this stage but since the hair detaches from the follicle it pushes the hair upward. This make the hair bit longer than at the end of Anagen phase. Catagen phase will last for about two weeks.
This stage is also known as the resting phase or shredding phase. This stage occurs after the catagen phase and the follicles will remain dormant for one to four months.
According to the experts, at any given point of time, around 10% to 15% of your hair will be at this stage.
At this stage without proper nutrition hair will fall off, giving its place for new hair to grow.
Why There’s Hair on Your Pillow?
We lose hair naturally on a daily basis. This happens mostly during the telogen phase of the hair cycle, where old hair moves up from the follicle, to allow new hair to grow inside. As a result the old hair will be more vulnerable to fall off.
When you sleep, your hair gets rubbed against the pillow case, therefore due to the vulnerability of the hair during the telogen phase, the hair comes off and drop on the pillow case.
This is what you mostly see every day when you wake up.
How much hair loss per day is normal
According to the leading dermatologists, it is normal for anyone to lose around 50 to 100 hair strands every day.
A healthy person has more than 100,000 hair on their head, therefore a loss of 100 hair strands a days may not make a difference in the appearance.
This occurs at the end of the telogen phase where new hair grows inside the follicles so that the old hair will fall out. This is considered to be normal and natural.
How much hair strands on the pillow is normal? Since every healthy human being lose about 50 to 100 hair strands daily, it is completely normal to see 5 to 20 hair strands on your pillow every day.
How to tell whether you are losing more hair than normal
This is a tempting question, however there is no specific method to check whether you lose hair more than the normal level.
If you are worried and doubt that you are going bald, then check this article and spot whether you have the signs of balding.
If you still want to check whether you lose more hair than usual, the experts suggest that you could perform a couple of tests at home to get a rough idea.
1. The comb and count test
In this test you have to comb your hair before showering, from the back of your head to the front where you reach your forehead. When you perform this test, lean forward and bend your head downward. Keep a light colour cloth (white is better) beneath your head, so that you can see the hair strands clearly.
Its better to do this test in the morning before showering. This is since, natural hair fall can occur during your shower and you might not notice it. When you perform this test, take note on how much hair strands fall off. According to the research, if the hair strand count is around 10, then it is considered to be normal.
Do not comb hard, because it can damage the scalp and the hair roots.
2.The hair pull test
According to the experts, in order to perform this test, grab about 50-70 hair from your fingers and pull a little while running the fingers through your hair. It is considered normal, to see 5 to 8 strands on your hands after doing this test.
I personally do not like this test, because it involves pulling hair out. You should be gentle with your pull, because a hard pull can damage your hair roots. And it’s even difficult to perform if you have short hair.
So in my personal opinion I would recommend the comb and count test, rather than hair pull test. However these tests would only give a rough idea about your hair condition, so do not stress yourself by counting hair every day. If you have doubts and feel like you are losing more hair than usual, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.
When should you see a doctor
It is always better to consult your doctor, if you see a gradual hair thinning on top of the head, or if you see bald spots or patches on your scalp. Also be mindful whether you lose hair from other parts of the body. These conditions may be a symptom of an underlying poor health condition.
It is normal for a person to lose hair every day. Do not freak out if you see hair strands on your pillow case, on your comb and in your shower. However, if you are worried that you are losing more hair than usual, consult a doctor, so that your mind will be at ease.
There are other factors that can cause hair loss. Check it from here.