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If your hair is falling out, it can be hard to look in the mirror. While it's perfectly normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day, significant hair loss is distressing.
Hair loss can have many causes, the most common being androgenetic alopecia — also known as male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. This form of alopecia, or hair loss, is genetic and does not happen suddenly - rather it is a gradual thinning of your hair over time. For men, that often means a loss of hair at the crown, hairline and on the top of the head. For women, it can be more diffuse, resulting in patchy hair loss across different areas of the scalp or a widening of the part.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that affects millions. It happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks the normal cells that make up your hair follicles. This condition often occurs in multiple family members, suggesting genetics may play a part.
Traction alopecia is caused by damage to your hair follicles from constant pulling or tension over a long period of time. It usually results from wearing tight hairstyles such as ponytails, weaves or braids. Traction alopecia may also occur from cosmetic procedures that create tension around the hairline, such as a facelift.
Cicatricial alopecia is also known as scarring alopecia. This condition refers to a group of rare disorders that destroy your hair follicles and replace them with scar tissue, eventually causing permanent hair loss.
Other types of hair loss can be attributed to an increase in stress, changing hormones, disease, poor nutrition, or even certain medications. Often these triggers will lead to a more sudden loss of hair.
Many types of prescription drugs may cause hair loss including:
Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia can lead to hair loss. Other diet-related causes include:
No matter the reason for your hair loss, facing this issue can be devastating. Know that you are not alone and you have options.
For more information on the causes of hair loss watch our "Hair Loss 101" video.