The average healthy scalp can shed 100 stands of hair a day. However, noticeable hair loss and thinning may be cause for concern. Luckily, not all hair loss is permanent, and even in the event that it is, there are proven solutions to restore the hair.
The first step to treating hair loss is identifying what's causing it in the first place.
Age & Genetics: The Top Hair Loss Causes
- Hereditary hair loss is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. The gene can be inherited by either parent, regardless of sex. Other names for hereditary hair loss include Female or Male Pattern Baldness and Androgenic Alopecia.
- Unfortunately, thinning hair can be a natural part of the aging process. As some people get older, hair tends to get thinner.
Disease & Side Effects
- Several diseases are known to cause hair loss. Hair loss can sometimes be an early sign of an undiagnosed condition. In most cases, hair loss can be stopped by treating the disease at hand.
- Cancer treatment including radiation and chemotherapy often cause temporary, or sometimes even permanent hair loss. Common chemotherapy drugs that cause hair loss include methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, bleomycin, doxorubicin, mitomycin, cytarabine, vinblastine and vincristine, among others.
- Infections — fungal infections in particular— can cause hair loss. Fortunately, they are treatable with medication.
- Stress as a result of trauma including illness or surgery can cause hair loss known as Telogen Effluvium. In general, stress-induced hair loss is temporary.
- Some prescription medications for conditions like blood pressure, heart problems, arthritis and depression have been shown to cause hair loss, and may be temporary.
- Menopause may cause hair loss in women that progresses with age.
- Women may experience hair loss after pregnancy due to dropping levels of estrogen. Hair usually grows back within a few months after childbirth.
- Birth control pills can cause some women to lose hair. It is usually temporary.
- Thyroid Disease: Hair loss may be a sign of both hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid). Laboratory tests are needed to diagnose a thyroid problem.
- Some people see hair loss after weight loss of more than 15 pounds. The hair loss often appears 3 to 6 months after losing the weight. Hair usually regrows on its own.
- Because eating disorders can negatively affect one’s overall health, hair health is also affected. Anorexia and Bulimia, for instance, often cause calorie or protein deficiencies which force the body to save protein by shifting growing hairs into the resting phase. This type of hair loss is slow and not noticeable until almost half the hair is lost. Combing, brushing and washing the hair may accelerate and increase loss.
- Malnutrition including too much or too little of certain vitamins and nutrients can affect your hair growth. For instance, a lack of protein or iron can lead to hair loss as well as an excess of vitamin A. Malnutrition needs to be fairly severe to result in significant hair loss.
- When hair is pulled too tightly into certain hairstyles like braids, buns and ponytails for long periods of time, hair loss can result.
- Frequent salon treatments like relaxers and hair color can damage the hair, which may eventually lead to hair loss.
- Overuse or misuse of certain hair tools, accessories and hair products can cause hair breakage and loss.