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The Root Causes of Hair Loss

Wondering what causes hair loss? Well, you can’t blame everything on mom and dad. While genetics cause a vast majority of hair-related issues, many men and women lose their precious follicles for a variety of reasons. For those with multiple factors, the effects can be cumulative. The more you know, the more you grow.

COMMON CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS?

Man with thinning hairLet’s break it down. Picture this: your genes are like the ultimate scriptwriters for your journey. The most common causes of hair loss comes from hereditary hair loss, or androgenetic alopecia –if we’re getting fancy. This whole thing happens because you’ve inherited a bit of a sensitivity to hormones from your folks, whether it’s your mom, your dad, or both of them throwing it into the mix. In other words, taking a peek into your family history could give you a heads-up on what you might be dealing with down the road. The fellas out there often dub this hereditary hair loss as “male pattern baldness” because it tends to follow a pretty predictable path. Imagine this: your hairline starts doing a bit of a moonwalk, making its way backward from the temples. And if that’s not enough, your crown might decide to get in on the action, rapidly thinning out. As time goes by, these two areas start tag-teaming, eventually meeting up and leaving you with this classic horseshoe-shaped patch of hair hugging your noggin. It’s like a whole hairline evolution right on your head. Hair loss can stem from a variety of factors, each with its own unique backstory. Here are some of the root causes that might be behind your shedding:
  1. Genetics: Yep, blame it on your family tree. Hereditary hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is often passed down through generations, leaving you with a predisposition to lose your locks.
  2. Hormones: Pesky hormones can throw a real wrench into your hair game. Fluctuations in hormones, like during pregnancy, menopause or thyroid imbalances, can send your follicles into a tailspin, leading to thinning or shedding.
  3. Stress: When life gets a little too chaotic, your hair might start to feel the strain too. Anxiety can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, where your follicles decide to take a break from their usual growth cycle, leading to temporary shedding.
  4. Medical Conditions: Certain health issues, such as autoimmune diseases, scalp infections and hormonal disorders, can mess with your mane. Treating the underlying condition is key to getting your hair back on track.
  5. Medications: Sometimes the cure can be worse than the ailment. Certain medications, like chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants and blood thinners, can have the unfortunate side effect of causing hair loss.
  6. Nutritional Deficiencies: Your hair needs a balanced diet. If you’re not getting enough of the good stuff, including iron, protein, or certain vitamins and minerals, your hair might suffer the consequences.
  7. Hair Care Practices: Believe it or not, how you treat your hair can play a vital role in whether you keep it or lose it. Excessive styling, harsh chemicals and tight hairstyles can damage your hair follicles and lead to breakage or hair loss.
  8. Age: Ah, the inevitable march of time. As we get older, our hair naturally thins out. It’s just part of the circle of life, my friend.
  9. Poor Scalp Health: Your scalp is the foundation for healthy hair growth. If it’s not in top-notch condition, your follicles might struggle to do their thing.
  10. Environmental Factors: Pollution, UV exposure, and other environmental enemies can wreak havoc on your hair, leaving it looking lackluster and prone to damage.
As you can see, hair loss can have a whole bunch of different root causes. Figuring out what’s behind your shedding strands is the first step toward finding the right solution to help you hang onto your beloved hair.

DOES HAIR LOSS HAPPEN TO WOMEN?

Hair loss is often perceived as an issue that primarily affects men, but it also impacts at least a third of women. In contrast to men, it becomes noticeable as a widening part, patchy hair loss or overall thinning. There are also various causes for this issue, some of which are linked to inflammation within the body. Age is another common cause of losing hair. A natural part of growing older is thinning hair when an increasing number of follicles go into the resting phase. Meanwhile, your remaining hair becomes shorter and finer. This is known as involutional alopecia. Most women start experiencing female pattern hair loss (FPHL) when they become middle aged, typically in their forties, fifties, and sixties. It may even start earlier for some ladies. FPHL is a gradually progressing problem that tends to get worse over time.

CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS FROM MEDICAL CONDITIONS* & DISEASES

Various illnesses and medical situations can contribute to hair loss. Now, let’s take a good look at some of the primary factors: Thyroid disease: Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can result in hair loss that impacts the entire scalp. Your precious hair may appear thin and sparse. These unwanted results typically become noticeable several months after the thyroid issue begins, due to the length of the hair growth cycle. In some cases, hair loss may occur after treatment for the thyroid disorder, leading to the mistaken belief that the medication is responsible. As a result, the discontinuation of treatment often occurs, which could intensify the hair loss. Autoimmune Diseases: Skin symptoms are commonly observed in individuals with autoimmune disorders. Individuals with lupus frequently experience skin complications, such as scalp rashes or sores, that may contribute to hair loss. Meanwhile, both hair loss and thinning can are known to have adverse effects of specific medications commonly used to treat lupus, such as steroids and immunosuppressants. Certain Cancers: Chemotherapy involves the use of potent drugs that target rapidly dividing cancer cells in the body. However, these medications can also affect other cells, including those in the roots of your hair. Some cancer-fighting drugs have a higher likelihood of causing hair loss, and varying dosages can result in anything from mild thinning to complete hair loss. Trichotillomania: This condition refers to hair loss resulting from the deliberate pulling of hair by the individual, often leading to breakage of the hair shaft. Typically, the patient wraps the hair around a finger and yanks it out during moments of deep concentration or while sleeping. Potentially, trichotillomania evolves into an obsessive behavior. The simple existence of trichotillomania indicates a significant psychological problem. Anemia: The problem occurs when there are insufficient healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin to transport oxygen to the body’s tissues. Hemoglobin, a protein present in red blood cells, is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to all organs in the body. Iron plays a crucial role in the production of hemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that facilitates the transportation of oxygen to the body’s cells for growth and repair, including those involved in hair growth. If you have noticed a receding hairline or overall thinning, identifying the underlying cause is essential for determining the most effective treatment. That’s why it’s crucial to schedule a hair loss analysis to diagnose the right solution for you.

CAN HORMONAL CHANGES CAUSE HAIR LOSS?

Like a symphony conductor orchestrating a delicate balance, the hormonal rhythms within a woman’s body can choreograph a mesmerizing dance—but sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Throughout pivotal life stages, including postpartum, perimenopause, menopause and amidst the labyrinth of conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the hormonal fluctuations often take center stage, casting shadows over one’s locks. Postpartum hair loss adds another layer to this intricate dance, as hormonal shifts post-birth can trigger significant shedding, leaving new mothers grappling with changes in their hair’s thickness and volume. Picture the postpartum period, where the exhilarating rush of childbirth is accompanied by an unexpected encore: losing your hair. As estrogen levels plummet after delivery, hair follicles caught in the midst of hormonal turmoil enter a temporary state of dormancy, leading to a cascade of strands departing from their roots. In the twilight years of perimenopause and menopause, hormones undergo a profound transformation, with estrogen and progesterone levels waning, leaving diminished follicles. Then there’s the enigma of PCOS, where the hormonal score takes an unexpected turn, with androgens stealing the spotlight. Amidst this hormonal cacophony, hair follicles find themselves ensnared in a relentless battle, as the excess of male hormones disrupts their growth, ushering in thinning and male-pattern baldness. In this intricate dance between hormones and hair health, each woman’s journey is a unique composition, filled with crescendos of challenges and interludes of resilience. By seeking out the right support and solutions, women can reclaim the spotlight, allowing them to once again shine with the brilliance of their inner-symphony.

WHAT PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND MEDICAL TREATMENTS ARE POTENTIAL CAUSES?

Prescription drugs and medical treatments can sometimes throw a curve-ball into your hair game. Here are a few that might be behind those unexpected changes:
  1. Chemotherapy: This heavy hitter in cancer treatment can lead to significant hair loss. It can be a temporary setback in the hair department. Thankfully, once treatment ends, your hair usually bounces back.
  2. Antidepressants: Some of these meds, particularly certain types like SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), might mess with your mane. They can cause hair thinning or shedding. At least it’s usually temporary.
  3. Blood Thinners: Those meds you take to keep your blood flowing smoothly might cause your hair to thin. It’s a double-edged sword, keeping your heart healthy, but playing tricks on your locks.
  4. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): When you’re trying to balance out those hormonal ups and downs, like during menopause, HRT can be a game-changer. Yet, it might also throw your hair for a loop, leading to some extra shedding.
  5. Steroids: Sometimes, when your body needs a little boost to fight off inflammation or autoimmune conditions, steroids come into play. But they can also cause some temporary hair loss.
  6. Acne Medications: You know those treatments you use to keep your skin clear? Well, some of them, like isotretinoin (Accutane), might have the not-so-cool side effect of thinning out your hair.
  7. Oral Contraceptives: Keeping things under control in the reproductive department might come with a side of unwanted hair changes for folks. Some oral contraceptives can lead to hair thinning, but it’s usually temporary.
  8. Cholesterol-lowering Medications: While they’re doing wonders for your heart health, these meds might be messing with your hair growth cycle.
  9. Epilepsy Medications: Keeping seizures at bay is crucial, but some epilepsy meds might lead to hair loss or thinning as a side effect.
  10. Beta-blockers: These guys are wonderful for keeping your blood pressure in check. However, they might also throw a wrench into your hair game, causing some shedding or thinning.
  11. Immunosuppressants: When your immune system needs to take a chill pill, these meds come to the rescue. But they might also mess with your hair growth cycle, leading to some uninvited changes.
  12. Thyroid Medications: Balancing out your thyroid levels is crucial for overall health. Too bad these medications often lead to some hair changes, like shedding or thinning.
  13. Weight Loss Drugs: Getting rid of those extra pounds might be on your to-do list, but some weight loss medication might also lead to rapid hair loss.
  14. Bariatric Surgery: When you’re making big changes to your weight and health through surgery, it’s not uncommon for your hair to go through some unpleasant changes at the same time.
These are just a few examples, and it’s essential to talk to your doctor if you’re noticing any unexpected changes in your hair while taking any medication or undergoing treatments. A health professional can help you figure out if it’s just a temporary blip or if there’s something else going on that needs addressing.

CAN AN INADEQUATE DIET CAUSE HAIR THINNING?

young man touching his thinning hair Maintaining a well-balanced diet is essential to having strong, healthy hair because your body craves the vital nutrients to function. Being deficient in certain vitamins and minerals can cause hair loss. Eating disorders, including bulimia, anorexia, and rapid weight loss can also contribute to hair loss.

Which nutrients are vital for healthy hair?

  • B Vitamins (particularly Biotin)
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Essential Fatty Acids

STRESS AND HAIR LOSS

Stress can be a sneaky culprit behind hair loss. When you’re under a lot of stress—whether it’s from work deadlines, personal challenges, or just life throwing you a curveball—it can mess with your body in all sorts of ways, including your hair. Here’s the deal: Stress can trigger something called telogen effluvium, which basically means that your hair follicles decide to take a bit of a break. Instead of continuing to grow like they’re supposed to, they shift into a resting phase prematurely. And when a bunch of hair follicles decide to clock out early at the same time, you might notice more hair shedding than usual. The good news is that this type of hair loss is usually temporary. Once you get your stress levels back in check, your hair growth cycle should bounce back to normal, and any shedding should taper off. It’s like your hair saying, “Hey, sorry about the freak-out back there. Everything is cool now.” If you’re dealing with chronic stress or if your stress levels are off the charts for an extended period, it can start to take a toll on your hair health over time. While a little bit of stress here and there probably won’t make all your hair fall out, it’s essential to find ways to stay calm and take care of yourself—your hair included. While typical daily stressors won’t impact your hair, there are three different types of hair loss that are associated with high stress levels: • Telogen Effluvium: Experienced after a sudden shock to the system, including childbirth, surgery and rapid weight loss, or traumatic events, like a death in the family, divorce or an automobile accident. • Trichotillomania: A stress-induced impulse control disorder that drives people to pull out their own hair. • Alopecia Areata: An autoimmune skin disease that attacks follicles, causing hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. TO SUM IT UP Each person’s receding hairline is unique. Meet with a HairClub Hair Health Expert to take your first step toward a hair system like Xtrands+ for full coverage, or EXT Extreme Hair Therapy for regrowth for early hair loss. Schedule a FREE consultation with one of our Hair Loss Specialists at one of 100+ HairClub Centers in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Book a Free Hair Health Consultation Today to Learn About Hair Loss Treatments That Are Right for You!

*The information provided on this page is general in nature and widely available. All content is provided for informational purposes. The exact cause of hair loss can only be determined by a medical professional

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