Can shampoo increase hair loss?

23 September 2012

Question

Why does more of my hair fall out when I wash it with shampoo than when I wash with just water? Only a few strands come out when I wash with water, but a whole lot come out when I use soap.

Answer

Kat - Well, this is an interesting one and it's important to know that we all lose quite a lot of hair every day. We all lose around about 100 hairs every day, which sounds quite scary. But obviously, we have a lot, so that's alright. The other thing is that pretty much everyone uses shampoo. An awful lot of people use shampoo and most people don't seem to lose loads and loads of hair.

Probably the most strong argument I think is that the actual act of shampooing, building it up into a lather, you might be rubbing your head more vigorously, so you're actually just dislodging hairs that are on their way out or have fallen out, and are just kind of stuck in your hair. So, in fact, you're not losing more hair, you're just washing them out more effectively.

There is some argument that maybe some of the chemicals in certain types of shampoo, for particular people might damage their hair and cause it to fall out. But that tends to be a personal reaction to an individual shampoo, so switching your shampoo might help with that. My money's actually on the act of lathering up, just dislodging hairs that are coming out anyway.

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