Experiencing significant hair loss or thinning can be devastating. While it is normal to lose some hair every day, losing large amounts at a time may be a concern. The good news is that most cases will improve on their own without treatment. If you think you may be losing your hair, the first step is to identify the cause. Without knowing why it is happening, you will not be able to help the hair re-grow. Whether treatment is possible depends on whether the hair follicles are still alive.
Although not common, some cases of hair falling out is because the hair follicles have been destroyed in some way and are no longer alive. Unfortunately, this means that hair loss cannot be treated.
In this article, we will highlight some of the many causes of hair loss among men and women. While some types of hair loss are common and can be expected with age, others are not so common. We will also go over what signs to look out for, how hair loss is diagnosed, and how to prevent hair loss in the future.
Signs of Hair Loss
Regardless of what causes your hair to fall out, the medical term for any type of hair loss is alopecia. Depending on the cause behind why your hair thinning or falling out, will play a role in whether it happens suddenly or gradually over time. If your hair starts falling out slowly, you may not be aware until it is more noticeable in one spot. Hair loss varies in severity and can affect just the head or develop across the entire body. It can also be a temporary or permanent condition.
If you are worried that you may have alopecia, here are some signs to look out for:
- Thinning of hair
- Hair is easily pulled out (has becomes loose)
- Bald patches (on the head or the rest of the body)
- Receding hairline
- Wider hair parting
- Missing eyelashes
Causes of Hair Loss
It is perfectly normal to lose some hair every day. Most people lose between 50-100 hair strands a day, without even noticing. Hair loss is not usually something to feel worried about, but it can sometimes be a permanent condition or a sign of an underlying medical condition.
There are many reasons why hair can start to fall out or become thinner. Some types of hair loss, like male and female pattern baldness, are permanent. Other causes of hair loss could be related to:
- Iron deficiency
- Use of damaging hair care products
Severe Stress & Hair Loss
People experience and cope with stress differently. Stress can appear in varying severities. You may be feeling stressed about financial issues, losing a loved one, or feeling stressed about work. This can cause temporary hair loss or hair to grow thin. When someone goes through a period of stress, this is how the body can sometimes respond. Not only can stress cause hair loss, but hair loss can also cause stress which results in a vicious cycle that may be difficult to break.
Stress can also lead to someone pulling their hair out from the scalp, face, and other parts of the body. Pulling hair out is a common symptom of stress in young adults. This can become a habit that started with stress, but continues after the cause of stress is resolved. If you find yourself pulling your hair out, you may need to seek therapy to help you stop.
Telogen effluvium is a condition that can be brought on by stress. When this happens, the hair remains in the natural shedding phase of the growth cycle. This means that the hair follicles are being pushed into a state of rest, so they do not produce any new strands of hair. It also makes the hair easier to pull out. If you are noticing your hair falling out more frequently or you spot hair clumped in the shower drain, on your pillow, or even finding that it is pulling out easier, this could be the cause.
In most cases, this type of hair loss is temporary and will fix itself in time without the need for treatment. If your hair loss continues, you should speak with a doctor about any possible treatment options.
Age & Hair Loss
Most people will experience some form of hair loss in their life. As we age, the rate in which our hair grows slows down significantly. As our hair follicles stop producing new hairs, our existing hairs become thin and light in color.
When we grow older, our scalps also start to produce less oil. This leads to weaker and brittle hair. Brittle hair can also contribute to hair loss, as it can lead to hair snapping or breakages.
Male and female pattern baldness is also a condition that starts developing with aging. Although, men can start showing the signs of male pattern baldness at around 30 years old. Men tend to lose their hair starting from the temples and extend to thinning of the hair on top of the head. Whereas women will usually have a gradual thinning of hair all over the head.
Hereditary Hair Loss
Hair loss that is caused by genetics is called androgenetic alopecia. This is the most common type of hair loss in adults. You may know this to be called male or female pattern baldness, as it is commonly referred to. The thought that men experience hair loss more than women is a misconception. Androgenetic alopecia is more common in men; however, many women experience it too. This hereditary condition is usually related to age as it is most likely to occur as we get older. However, genetic hair loss can happen at any time after puberty.
Hair Care Products For Hair Loss
Some hair care products contain harsh chemicals that can cause damage. Rather than nourish and strengthen hair, these products do the opposite. It is important to choose hair care products that promote hair strength.
Hair products such as Keranique can help protect your hair and keep it healthy. For women who are experiencing some hair thinning, Keranique scalp stimulating shampoo, and volumizing conditioner may help. They work together to help thicken thin hair by stimulating hair follicles.
It is important to carefully select hair care products that will nourish your hair, to keep it strong and healthy. Before purchasing any product to use on your hair, check the ingredients list to ensure it contains non-damaging ingredients.
Keranique hair regrowth treatment contains an FDA-approved ingredient called minoxidil. Minoxidil helps put nutrients back into the hair follicles to strengthen the hair strands. If you are a woman experiencing thin hair, Keranique products have been designed specifically with you in mind. By using gentle products, it is possible to improve the signs of any hair thinning.
Hormonal Changes Can Cause Hair Loss
When the body goes through a hormonal change, the body can respond in many ways. If you are on medication that affects your hormone levels, any changes that you make in your routine can cause hair loss. For example, if you are on birth control and you suddenly stop, this can lead to hair thinning. The reason for this is because your hormone levels will have to readjust, and this period of readjustment can have effects on the body.
Some causes of hair loss that are linked to hormonal changes include:
- Irregular Periods
- Pregnancy / Childbirth
- Excess Hair Grow on Face or Body
People with conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have higher androgen levels than normal, this can also lead to hair loss in women.
If you have noticed your hair thinning alongside any of the above, you may want to consider seeking medical advice from a trained professional. It may be worth having your hormone levels tested to see if it could be linked.
Nutritional Deficiencies Can Cause Hair Loss
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for your overall health. By following extreme diets or not consuming enough of what your body needs, it can lead to substantial health concerns. Diets that do not have enough protein, vitamin D, iron, or zinc are linked to hair loss.
Hair loss that has been caused through nutritional deficiencies can be reversed by improving your diet or taking supplements such as Keraviatin. However, it is always best to speak with your doctor before trying out any new supplements.
In people who have an autoimmune disease, their immune system attacks a part of their body. Normally, the immune system will attack germs and bacteria. But when someone has an autoimmune disease, their body does not know the difference and white blood cells attack the body.
Some autoimmune diseases can lead to excessive hair loss. These types of autoimmune diseases can result in partial or complete hair loss over the entire body. The reason why these diseases cause hair to fall out is that hair follicles are something that can be attacked. Some autoimmune diseases that can lead to hair loss are:
- Crohn’s disease
- Alopecia areata
- Alopecia Universalis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
When your immune system starts to attack the hair follicles, you may start noticing missing eyelashes or small circular bald patches on your head. Men may notice bald patches appearing in their beards. Autoimmune diseases can affect hair across the entire body.
In some cases, it can be more severe and lead to hair loss on the whole scalp, face, and body. Alopecia Universalis is one of the causes of complete hair loss. Even though some cases can be severe, many cases do resolve on their own. As hair follicles are still alive, the hair will usually grow back on its own. Unfortunately, it is common to come back again and again as there is currently no cure.
If you are suffering from an infection that is affecting the scalp, this can lead to significant hair loss. There are 3 different types of infections of the scalp:
- Bacterial Infection
- Yeast Infection
- Fungal Infection
When either the bacteria, yeast, or fungi grow, it can disrupt the hair follicles. Common symptoms of these infections include itchy skin, painful or sore areas, and scaling.
If you have a fungal infection, this is highly contagious, and you should limit close contact until it has been cleared. Fungal infections can easily be spread by sharing hats, bumping heads, or any close contact. For these reasons, fungal infections are a common cause of hair loss in children.
The treatment for losing hair because of infection will depend on the type of infection you have. Without treatment, an infection on the scalp can potentially lead to permanent scarring.
Taking certain prescribed medications can cause hair loss or thinning. It is important to note that while some medications may cause hair loss, this does not happen to everyone.
If you take medications for any of the following conditions and are experiencing hair loss, there may be a link:
- High Cholesterol
- Blood Pressure
If you notice any hair loss or change in body hair after starting a new medication, you should speak with your doctor. Your doctor will investigate and advise you on whether you should stop taking your medication or if you need to try a new type. You should not make any changes to your medication without consulting a doctor first.
Traumatic hair styling can cause hair loss
Taking proper care of your hair is important to keep it healthy. The products you use and how you style your hair can have a significant impact on your hair’s health. How you are styling your hair can be damaging your hair without you realizing it.
If you style your hair using heat, wear tight hairstyles, use chemical hair treatments, or color your hair frequently, you are at risk of damaging your hair. All of these are traumatic for hair and by repeatedly putting your hair through this kind of treatment, it can lead to excessive hair loss.
This type of hair loss may cause long-term damage that is difficult to treat. However, it depends on how long you have been following traumatic hairstyling. You should stop before the scalp becomes inflamed and the damage becomes irreversible. Putting your hair through traumatic styles and treatments can lead to scarring. Scarring occurs only when hair follicles are destroyed, meaning hair cannot grow back. For this reason, the earlier you take steps to improve your hair care routine, the greater chance you have of hair regrowth.
Diagnosing Hair Loss
If you are concerned that your hair may be falling out, you should seek advice from a doctor. A doctor will be able to book you in for a check-up to determine if you are losing your hair and if so, the cause.
There are many ways of confirming if you have hair loss. Here are a few of them:
- Pulled hair – by pulling your hair strains lightly, you will be able to see how many come out. If your hair is not loose, very few should come out. However, if you are experiencing hair loss, then you may be able to pull out handfuls at a time.
- Scalp biopsy – your doctor may decide to carry out a scalp biopsy to determine if your hair follicles are alive. The procedure involves scraping the scalp skin or removing some hair strands. Assessing if hair follicles are alive or not will tell your doctor how severe your condition is.
- Blood test – if you or your doctor are worried that you may have an underlying medical condition that is causing your hair loss, your doctor may recommend a blood test. A blood test will highlight some causes of hair falling out if related to an illness.
Once your doctor has determined the cause of your hair loss, they can have a better understanding of whether treatment is needed and how to proceed.
How Long It Takes for Hair to Grow Back
Hair loss, thinning, and damage can be a temporary or permanent condition. To identify whether your condition is temporary or permanent, you need to find out the cause.
Many types of temporary hair loss will improve over time, without treatment. However, there may be times when treatment and consulting a doctor is necessary. If your hair loss is significant and comes after a change in medication or alongside any other medical conditions, you should seek medical advice.
Without identifying the cause of your hair loss, it is difficult to say how long it will take for hair to grow back. A doctor will be able to investigate the cause and its severity. After making this assessment, your doctor may recommend treatment if it is necessary.
How to Prevent Hair Loss
There are ways to reduce the risk of your hair falling out and to keep your locks healthy and strong. What you can do to slow or prevent hair loss depends on why you are losing your hair. Here are some of the things you can do:
Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
Following a healthy diet that consists of vitamin D, iron, zinc, and protein can help promote hair health. Hair supplements, such as Keraviatin, can also help to improve your hair and hair growth.
Do not wear tight hairstyles
Tight hairstyles are extremely traumatic for your hair. By pulling your hair back tightly frequently, you are putting yourself at risk of hair loss.
Reduce the use of heat hair styling
Many people use heat as a way of styling their hair. If you continuously use heat on your hair, you could end up damaging the hair strands. Heat can result in weak and brittle hair which can cause hair loss or thinning.
As we age, we lose the oil in our scalp that helps keep hair strong. There are many hair care products out there that help promote hair strength. You should steer clear of any hair care products that contain harsh chemicals that will cause damage. If your hair becomes damaged, weak, or brittle, this can lead to hair snapping or falling out.
How Hair Loss is Different in Men and Women
If you asked someone to think about hair loss, they are most likely envisioning a bald man. For some reason, men are thought to suffer from hair loss more than women. This is a common misconception, especially with age-related hair loss. Women can experience hair falling out too, however, men are more likely to experience complete baldness.
One of the key differences between men’s and women’s hair loss is when and how it begins. Male pattern baldness will often start earlier in life. However, female pattern baldness does not often start until after menopause – this means there may be a link with changes in hormones.
Where men and women lose their hair is also different. Men will tend to lose their hair at the temples first before it progresses. As male pattern baldness develops, it then extends to the top of the scalp. Men may also notice some thinning on top of their heads, causing a circular area of exposed scalp.
Female pattern baldness behaves entirely differently from male pattern baldness. Rather than being in one or a few localized spots, hair loss is distributed all over the head. Women may first notice their hair is getting thinner while combing their hair. In women, hair loss typically starts in the middle of the head where the hair is parted. This results in a wider hair parting.
Unlike men, women’s hairline will usually remain the same. In men, their hairline will often recede quite considerably.
When You Should See a Doctor
If you are concerned about your hair falling out, consulting a doctor will help put your mind at ease. In a lot of cases, no treatment is needed, but it is always a good idea to seek advice. If your hair is thinning or you are losing your hair, it could be due to an underlying health issue. As always, you should see your doctor to get to the root cause of your health and hair problems.
Your doctor will want to investigate the cause of your hair loss to determine if treatment is needed. If no treatment is needed, it may be that you need to stop taking certain medications, if they are the cause. Or perhaps you need help with stress management. Your doctor will discuss with you whatever action is needed to help encourage hair re-growth.
If you are noticing some signs of bald patches or hair thinning, in most cases it is nothing serious and will eventually grow back over time without treatment. However, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause. The sooner you seek medical help, the better chance you have of hair regrowth if treatment is needed. Book an appointment with your doctor to explore the different options you have on how to move forward and improve your hair re-growth.