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If you've ever been in the middle of a shower, looked down and seen a gigantic lump of your beautiful hair in the drain, chances are good you've had to hold back a scream. Why does showering seem to make hair fall out in such massive quantities? More importantly, is this something you should be worried about? Hair loss in the shower can mean nothing, or it can be cause for concern.
Standard Hair Loss
If you see a little hair coming out in the shower, don't panic; it's normal and natural to lose hair. On average, everyone loses between 50 to 150 hairs every single day. Most of the time, though, they come out and fall to the ground here and there, and not in locations where you can easily see them, such as the white porcelain and tiles of the shower. If you have long hair, thick hair or curly hair (or all of the above), bear in mind that those few hairs are going to look like a lot more than they would for folks with less bulky hair.
The shower doesn't really cause your hair to fall out, it just stimulates the loss of the hair that's already ready to fall out -- in other words, hair that's already died at its roots but is still sticking to your head. All that rubbing and friction from washing and shampooing does a lot to work those dead hairs away from your scalp, then the running water rinses them down to where you can see them. So don't worry: nature is just taking its course and you don't need to wash more gingerly...or worry that staying clean is going to make you bald!
If you're seeing a lot more than 100 hairs falling out in the shower, it's probably time to see a doctor. Hair loss can be caused by a lot of things, but many of them are treatable, such as heavy stress or certain chemical conditions and products that may be causing damage to your roots. Watch for thick clumps and count 'em if you have to; better safe than sorry.
Since your hair is already dead before you step into the shower, you can't really prevent it from falling out with the friction of washing. You can, however, prevent it from coming out in the shower by giving it a thorough brush before you wash. This way, the hairs will come out during the brushing. Plus, smoothing and detangling your hair before you wash will help prevent a lot of the tugging on live hairs that may happen during scrubbing and conditioning.