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How many hairs are on a human head?

Published on October 17, 2020
Updated on October 19, 2020
Close up of a man inspecting his hairline with a magnifying glass
The average person has between 80,000 and 120,000 hairs on their head

Babies are usually born without hair. Yet, as we age, more hair grows on our scalps — but only up until a certain point. Age-related hair loss, which affects both young and middle-aged adults, can be caused by a variety of different factors, including lifestyle, genetics, and specific health conditions. 

But wait, don’t pick up that shaver just yet. Your hair might grow back if it’s due to external factors, like certain medical treatments. Even in cases where it’s not, hair loss can still be completely treatable. 

Age-related hair changes

Most healthy men have between 80,000 and 120,000 hairs on their scalp. However, the density of your hair changes as you get older. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that seeing your hair thin this way is a normal part of aging. 

The Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings says that hair generally grows at a rate of 0.35 millimeters per day. This means that you’re likely to see it lengthen by half an inch (1.27 centimeters) per month or 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) per year. However, hair growth rate also slows as you age.

Both of these age-related changes ultimately reduce the total number of hairs you have on your head. However, if you have male pattern baldness, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says that you’ll see more than just changes to your hair volume. 

Hair loss often occurs in a specific area, like your temples or the crown of your head. The hairs themselves also become thinner, shorter, and more fragile. 

A study in JAMA Dermatology reported that follicular miniaturization is what triggers these changes. When follicular miniaturization occurs, the hair follicles in your scalp are essentially shrinking. Eventually, the follicle stops producing hair altogether. 

Facts about hair loss

Anyone who has ever unclogged a shower drain and found it full of hair knows that losing hair can be a perfectly normal part of life. Standard activities like washing, brushing, and dyeing your hair can increase the amount your scalp sheds. 

A healthy scalp typically sheds about 100 hairs each day. If you’re losing a lot more hair than this, you may be starting to go bald.

Male pattern baldness (formally known as androgenetic alopecia) is the most common cause of hair loss. One of the main factors that causes it is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that our bodies produce naturally. Approximately 50 million men in the United States are affected by this inheritable condition. 

Male pattern baldness can cause hair to thin at any point in your life. According to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology:

  • 25 percent of men start going bald before the age of 25
  • 40 percent of men experience some amount of hair loss by the age of 35
  • 50 percent of men have significantly thinning hair by the age of 50

So, how many hairs are on a human head? As you can see, it depends. Unfortunately, most people don’t get to keep the luscious locks they had in their teens. The older you get, the more likely you are to experience symptoms of hair loss.

 

Understanding your hair follicles

The hair on your head is dead, but the follicles, buried inside your scalp, are alive. These follicles go through three main phases as they produce hair: 

  1. Growth (which lasts between 2 and 6 years)
  2. Transition
  3. Rest (which lasts about 3 months)

After completing these three stages, your scalp sheds the hair away. The follicle remains, though. In a healthy scalp, this means that the process can start up again.  

Unfortunately, though, sometimes hair doesn’t regenerate. This is when people tend to start noticing their hair thinning.

Remember — you’re not alone. From Julius Caesar hiding his bald patch behind laurel wreaths to Donald Trump’s multi-directional combover, men have been dealing with hair loss for centuries. 

 

Other reasons for hair loss

Male pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss. However, hair follicles may not regenerate hair for a variety of different reasons. 

Hair follicles won’t produce new hair on their own if they’ve been damaged. A study in the Tissue Engineering Part B Reviews Journal says that burns, ulcers, and other wounds have the potential to cause damage. In these cases, follicles are likely to scar or even close up entirely, preventing new hair from growing.

Certain health problems can also harm hair follicles. For example, in the condition alopecia areata, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says that your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys your hair follicles. This typically results in a patchy distribution of hair on your head, but it can result in complete loss all over your body as well. 

Sometimes, hair loss is temporary. This is usually when it’s caused by a specific treatment, such as chemotherapy. This can also include medications like mood stabilizers or antidepressants, skin care products, and even some dietary supplements.  

Follicles may simply stop generating new hairs over time, like when follicular miniaturization occurs. However, it’s possible to regrow hair as long as the follicle is intact and remains alive – your follicles may just need a little bit of extra tender love and care.

 

Strategies for tackling balding

Throughout history, men have tried very strange methods to make their hair grow back. Ancient Egyptians were perhaps the most creative, rubbing their scalps with a paste made from lion, hippo, crocodile, goose, snake, and ibex fat. 

Although they’ve become a bit less absurd, these snake oil cures have continued well into modern times. Even in the mid 20th century, American men were sold hair loss creams made from petroleum jelly and fish extract.

These days, there are many different types of hair loss treatments that can actually help. The exact approach you’ll need to take will depend on your individual needs. 

Tackling hair loss involving scar tissue, like a burn, may require hair transplantation. This surgical procedure takes follicles from an area on your body with hair and introduces them into the area without. Fortunately, most people suffering from hair loss have much simpler options available to them.

Some clinics provide on-site treatments like low level laser therapy (LLLT), which can help stimulate hair regeneration. They might also offer microneedling therapy or prescription-only medications like finasteride. 

If you’d prefer not to go into a clinic for a procedure, you can also perform certain treatments at home. At-home treatments include microneedling kits, medicated shampoos, and over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements.

Choosing the right option for you can be daunting. If you’ve already noticed that you’re losing more hair than usual, it’s worth talking to your doctor about the best options available. You can also check out our kit, which contains several different products that can improve scalp health and promote hair growth. 

Takeaway

A healthy human head will have about 100,000 hairs. However, this number declines as you get older. If you end up experiencing hair loss, you may end up with a fraction of this amount. 

The best way to deal with hair loss is to keep an eye out for the early signs and be aware when it’s happening to you. The earlier you tackle the problem, the faster and easier it will be to get your hair to grow back.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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