- by Dr. Tayfun Oguzoglu
Regularly losing small amount of hair is a normal process, a person approximately lose 100 hairs a day. However, if you are losing an unusual amount that might be a sign for an excessive hair loss problem. Losing small amount of hair would not affect the appearance of your hair or scalp. However, the significant loss of hair might esthetically affect your physical appearance. It might cause some dissatisfaction with your look.
Most people think that hair loss is hereditary or genetic. Even though genetics play a major role in the process of hair loss, there are other important reasons. Hormonal changes, medical conditions, stress, chemicals, medications, malnutrition, hair styling products, chemotherapy, pregnancy, and rapid weight loss are few of the main reasons for hair loss. Of course, causes of hair loss is not limited to these aspects however these are the most common reasons.
In this article, we will examine TOP 10 reasons for hair loss and try to provide insights about these issues.
We should note that before trying any hair loss treatments, consult with a specialist doctor about the cause of your hair loss and possible treatments. The most accurate treatment can only be offered by a specialist doctor in this field.
1. Family History (Genetics & Heredity)
Genetics play a major role for the hair loss in both men and women. The most common reason for hair lost is the family history or one’s genes. Both female and male pattern baldness called androgenetic alopecia. In this case, regardless of sex both genders start to lose their hair in time. This process can start as early as puberty (generally for males) and it can also start after menopause.
Usually, androgenetic alopecia takes different courses for males and females. Male pattern baldness means losing hair from temples and crown of the head. So, a receding hairline and bald spots are main indicators of male pattern baldness. On the other hand, the female pattern baldness leads to thinning of hair all over the head.
Immense amount of physical, emotional or psychological stress can cause hair loss. Physical stress that might caused by surgeries, childbirth, high fever or blood loss can easily lead to excessive hair loss. These causes of physical stress are generally temporary for your body. As the body heals, the hair loss will stop.
The causal relationship between hair loss and emotional or psychological stress is less concrete than the physical stress. However, it is commonly reported that continuous extreme stress and anxiety can lead to hair loss. Furthermore, a single shocking or stressful event can also considered to be an important factor for hair loss.
3. Hormonal changes and medical conditions
Many medical conditions and hormonal changes can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss. Childbirth, thyroid (hyperthyroidism & hypothyroidism) problems or menopause might alter the hormonal levels of one’s body. These alterations can cause hair loss problems.
Medical conditions may also cause excessive hair loss. For example, a medical condition called trichotillomania which is a hair-pulling condition leads to large amount of hair loss.
4. Pregnancy & Childbirth
Women might experience hair loss during their pregnancy or following the childbirth. This situation is closely related with increasing Estrogen levels. This hair loss is generally temporary and resolves itself around a year after the childbirth.
5. Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium is usually temporary and treatable hair loss reason. Telogen effluvium means that hair remains in telogen (shredding) phase of the growth cycle. This situation leads to excessive amount of hair loss. One can even lose hands full of hair at once. This condition might cause by childbirth, surgeries, severe stress, rapid weight loss, thyroid problems, and certain medications.
6. Autoimmune Diseases (Alopecia areata) or Radiation therapy to the head. (Anagen effluvium)
Anagen effluvium’s definition is losing large amount of hair rapidly during anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. This condition is not limited to the head, other body hair can fall out too. Some causes of anagen effluvium are as follows; chemotherapy, radiation, fungal infections, and autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune Diseases are one of the most complex and hard to treat medical problems among these causes of anagen effluvium. These diseases cause one’s immune system to attack the healthy cells of the body. These diseases can also cause hair loss. For example, alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease which causes patchy hair loss and scalp infections such as ringworm. In this case, the immune system attacks healthy hair follicles in every part of body including hair, eyelashes, eyebrows etc. and causes hair loss.
7. Medications and Excessive/Deficient Nutrients/supplements
Some medications can cause hair loss. In some cases, blood-thinners, beta-blockers, Accutane, antidepressants, and cholesterol lowering drugs known to cause hair loss problems.
Furthermore, deficient nutrients are important hair loss causes. Malnutrition or nutrient deficiencies are important problems to tackle for solving hair loss problems. Extreme diets, lack of protein, certain vitamins and iron can lead to extreme hair shredding.
8. Use of Chemical Products
Using chemical products is sometimes a necessity however some of the chemicals available in our hair or skin products might lead to hair loss. For example, some chemical components in shampoos or hair styling products are harmful for our hair and skin. Chemical fragrances that are added to hair products, sodium chloride, parabens, propylene glycol, diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) are harmful to the hair and scalp.
9. Hair Styling & Treatments (Traction Alopecia)
Some hair styling methods or treatments can cause Traction alopecia which is a hair loss type that most commonly caused by excessive pulling force. Tight buns, braids, cornrows, and hair extensions are hair models that are related with traction alopecia.
Furthermore, some hot oil treatments and permanents might cause hair loss. These can cause inflammation of the hair follicles. If the inflammation caused by these treatments or stylings leave scars, the hair loss might be permanent.
10. Rapid Weight Loss
Hair loss after rapid weight loss is usually associated with Telogen Effluvium which we examined above. Fluctuation in the Body Mass Index (BMI) causes stress on the body, which signals the hair follicles to move into an inactive stage. This rapid fluctuation causes hair loss. Furthermore, lack of calories, proteins, nutrition, vitamins etc. which we also examined as causes of hair loss can be applicable to the case of rapid weight loss. The deficiency of these important nutrients during/after a rapid weight loss might cause hair loss.
In this article, we examined the most common 10 reasons for hair loss. These reasons alone can cause an immense hair loss problem for a person. Also, a combination of these issues can be the cause of hair loss. It is important to underline that if you are experiencing hair loss, consult with a specialist doctor about the cause of this issue and possible treatments. The most accurate treatment can only be identified by a specialist doctor in this field.