What Causes Hair Loss?


I've been approached by so many people recently who are experiencing some sort of hair loss so thought I'd put pen to paper (fingertips to keyboard) and run through some possible causes and also talk about the different types of hair loss.

Firstly it's completely normal to lose around 100-200 strands of hair a day, don't panic, however when you start noticing your hair looking increasingly thinner, there are a few things to consider before going to the doctors.

  • A low-protein diet or calorie-restricted diet can also cause temporary hair loss.

  • Stress, illness, and childbirth can cause temporary hair loss.

  • Cosmetic procedures such as shampooing too often, and chemical treatments can contribute to overall hair thinning by making hair weak and brittle. Tight braiding, using rollers or hot curlers, and running hair picks through tight curls can also damage and break hair. However, these procedures don't cause baldness. In most instances hair grows back normally if the source of the problem is removed. Still, severe damage to the hair or scalp sometimes causes permanent bald patches.

  • Hormones such as abnormal levels of androgens (male hormones normally produced by both men and women)

  • Genes from both male and female parents may influence a person's predisposition to male or female pattern baldness.

  • Drugs including chemotherapy, blood thinners, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and some birth control pills, can cause temporary hair loss.

  • Burns, injuries, and X-rays can cause temporary hair loss.

  • Autoimmune disease may cause alopecia areata. In alopecia areata, the immune system revs up for unknown reasons and affects the hair follicles. In most people with alopecia areata, the hair grows back, although it may temporarily be very fine and possibly a lighter colour before normal coloration and thickness return.

  • Medical conditions such as thyroid disease, lupus, diabetes, iron deficiency anaemia, eating disorders, and anaemia can cause hair loss.

Most of the above causes can be treated by identifying the underlying condition, unless there is scarring or is genetic.

A little tip that I always tell people to get into the habit of, is to make sure that they are massaging their scalps when shampooing as scalp stimulation promotes hair growth by bringing nutrients to the hair follicles.