Hair Loss: Causes, Prevention, and [Effective] Treatment Options

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Hair loss is a common problem that men, women, and children face. It’s also something we all have to deal with in our own way.

There are many causes of hair loss, like genetics, certain health conditions, stress, or even over styling. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s normal for you to lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day.

It can happen to anyone, but there are many treatment options that can help you grow your hair back or prevent further loss. Learn everything you need for better hair and scalp, along with hair loss prevention and treatment options.

What is Hair Loss?

Hair loss occurs when there’s an interruption in the body’s hair growth cycle. The three phases of the hair growth cycle are anagen (growth phase), catagen (resting phase), and telogen (shedding phase). If the cycle is disrupted, or if a hair follicle is damaged, hair may fall out more quickly.

Hair loss is a natural process that occurs as hairs fall out and are replaced by new hairs. However, if the rate of hair loss exceeds the rate of new hair growth, it can lead to thinning or complete baldness.

There are various ways to prevent or treat hair loss, depending on its cause. Dermatologists can help identify the type and cause of hair loss and offer treatments to stop its progression.

Hair Loss Symptoms

If you notice any sudden or gradual hair loss, it’s important to see your healthcare provider to find out the cause. Hair loss can be a symptom of many different underlying conditions, so it’s important to get a diagnosis at early signs of balding.

There are many potential causes of hair loss, including:

  • Hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy or menopause)
  • Medical conditions (such as thyroid disease)
  • Medications (such as those used for cancer treatment)
  • Autoimmune disorders (such as lupus or psoriasis)
  • Nutritional deficiencies ( such as anemia)

Treatment for hair loss will vary depending on the cause. In some cases, such as with temporary hormonal changes, no treatment is necessary. In other cases, treatments may include medications, surgery, or lifestyle changes.

What are the Causes of Hair Loss?

There are many causes of hair loss, but the most common are genetics, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices. Genetics plays a role in both male- and female-pattern baldness.

Medical conditions that can cause hair loss include alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that attacks hair follicles), scalp infections such as ringworm, and thyroid problems. Lifestyle choices that can cause hair loss include excessive stress, crash diets, and certain medications.

1. Age

As you age, your hair follicles shrink and you may start to lose hair. There is no known reason for this change, but it is believed that it’s a natural process.

You can use cosmetic approaches to cover up thinning hair or spots. There are also ways to prevent hair loss in middle age and older age. These include avoiding breakage and keeping your hair healthy and shiny.

2. Genetics

Genetics can cause hair loss. This type of hair loss usually occurs as you age. Other factors, such as medication, stress, and hormonal fluctuations, can also contribute to hair loss.

3. Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalance can cause hair loss in both men and women. PCOS is an imbalance in male and female sex hormones, which can lead to a number of problems, including hair loss. Treating PCOS can correct the hormone imbalance and help reverse some changes caused by the imbalance.

After childbirth, hormone levels take a while to return to normal, which is why many women experience thinning hair or bald patches. The hair will grow back in a few months.

4. Emotional Stress

Emotional stress can lead to hair loss in a condition called telogen effluvium. This is when stress causes the hair to enter the resting phase and shed excessively.

Once the stress is brought under control, normal hair growth usually resumes. However, it may take some time for new hair to grow back.

5. Physical Stress

Physical stress can cause hair loss by disrupting the natural cycle of hair growth. Cortisol, a hormone that’s released when the body is stressed, can lead to hair loss.

Dermatologists may suggest minoxidil treatments to help grow hair back. Shock to the system can cause hair loss, which can happen months after the shock event.

6. Iron Deficiency (Anemia)

Iron deficiency can cause hair loss in various ways. Poor growth and shedding can be caused by a lack of iron, which can lead to bald patches.

The quality of hair may also suffer from iron deficiency, appearing dry and brittle. In severe cases, complete hair loss may occur.

To prevent or treat hair loss caused by iron deficiency, it’s important to consume foods that are rich in iron and vitamins. Iron supplements may also be necessary.

7. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. This can cause a range of symptoms, including hair loss.

Hair loss is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Thyroid conditions can cause a range of hair issues, including thinning or missing eyebrows, thinning hair, and less hair on other parts of the body.

The best way to treat hair loss caused by hypothyroidism is to treat the underlying cause. Treatments to control thyroid conditions will get hormones back in balance and stop hair loss.

8. Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is essential for many bodily functions, including the production of red blood cells and DNA. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, which can cause hair loss.

There are several ways to get vitamin B12, including eating meat or fish, taking supplements, or getting injections. If you’re deficient in vitamin B12, increasing your intake can help reverse the effects of anemia and stop hair loss.

9. Dramatic Weight Loss

If you are losing weight rapidly, it’s important to speak with a doctor to make sure you are doing so in a healthy way.

When you lose a lot of weight quickly, it can put stress on your body and lead to shedding. This is because when you lose weight, your body doesn’t have time to adjust. The sudden change can cause a type of shock to your system, which can lead to hair loss.

Hair loss may also be a sign of an eating disorder. If you are not getting enough nutrients, it can affect the health of your hair. Eating disorders can also cause other health problems, so it’s important to get help if you think you may have one.

10. Infections

Infections can cause hair loss by thinning hair or balding. Infections that cause a high fever, fungal skin infections (like ringworm), and bacterial infections can all lead to hair loss.

11. Nutritional Deficiencies

As we now know, nutritional deficiencies can lead to hair loss. This is due to a lack of essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy hair growth.

When these nutrients are not present, it can cause the hair follicles to weaken and eventually die. This results in thinning hair and eventual hair loss.

12. Chemotherapy and Radiation

Chemotherapy and radiation can cause hair loss in both men and women. Reason being – the treatment kills both cancerous and healthy cells.

Hair will usually grow back after chemotherapy is stopped, but it may come back with a different texture or color.

There are a few ways to deal with the hair loss, including shaving or covering it up with a scarf.

15. Medications

There are certain medications that can cause hair loss. Blood thinners, beta blockers, and antidepressants are some of the most common culprits.

If one or more of your medications are causing hair loss, talk to your doctor about adjusting the dosage or switching to a different medication.

17. Overstyling

Over styling your hair can lead to hair loss. This is because repeatedly shampooing, blow-drying, using heated styling tools, pulling on your hair, and rubbing your scalp can all damage your hair follicles.

16. Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases can cause hair loss by attacking the hair follicles. This can cause the follicles to become dormant, which leads to hair loss.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hair loss, which may range from just one location to the entire body. More below

10. Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair loss. The hair may fall out in patches or all over the body. There’s no way to predict how much or if hair will return after alopecia areata is diagnosed.

There are different types of alopecia areata, but all of them cause some form of hair loss. Alopecia areata can affect adults and children, and hair loss typically begins suddenly.

There is no cure for alopecia areata, but there are treatment options available that may help hair to regrow. Treatment options include topical treatments and medications. NYU Langone has a monthly support group for people with alopecia areata.

9. Traction Alopecia

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss that is caused by friction against the scalp. This can happen when hair is pulled or trapped in certain ways. Over time, this can lead to irritation and hair loss.

Treatment for traction alopecia may include various therapies, such as surgery. However, the best way to prevent this condition is to avoid tight hairstyles and use gentle hair rollers.

18. Female Pattern Hair Loss

Female pattern hair loss is a condition in which women experience gradual hair loss around the crown of their head. The cause of female pattern hair loss is unknown, but may be due to a combination of genetics and hormones.

Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery.

19. Male Pattern Hair Loss

Male pattern hair loss is a common condition that affects men in their 20s and 30s. The exact cause of male pattern hair loss is unknown, but it’s thought to be a combination of genetics, hormones, and other factors.

There’s no cure for male pattern hair loss, but treatments can help manage the condition.

How is Hair Loss Diagnosed?

There are a few simple tests that can be performed to diagnose hair loss. If you suspect you may have hair loss, always consult your doctor.

A doctor will ask about your diet, medicine, and health history. Your doctor may do a physical exam, determine your stage of hair loss (Norwood Scale) and order blood or biopsy tests.

Can Hair Loss be Prevented?

It’s likely that hair loss can be prevented if it isn’t caused by a hereditary condition. as reported by NYU Langone Health, stress-related hair loss, menopause, pregnancy, smoking, and other habits or medical illnesses may be avoided or even reversed once.

Step 1: Identify Your Hair Loss Trigger

There are many possible triggers for hair loss. The most common cause is hereditary male- or female-pattern baldness. However, other factors, such as hormones, illness, and trauma, can also lead to hair loss.

Doctors may ask questions about a person’s diet, medications, and health history in order to identify the cause of hair loss. A physical exam may also be performed. In some cases, a doctor may order blood tests or a biopsy in order to make a diagnosis.

Step 2: Talk to Your Doctor

It is important to talk to a doctor about hair loss because the doctor can prescribe medication to help with the hair loss. The doctor can also provide information on other things that can be done to help with hair loss.

Step 3: Adjust Your Diet

A lack of nutrients can lead to hair loss. A well-balanced and varied diet is essential for good health and preventing hair loss.

Not getting enough iron can lead to hair loss. Iron-deficiency anemia is a symptom of not having enough iron in your body.

Eating Cuban black beans and rice can help you get the iron you need to prevent hair loss.

Since hair loss can be caused by a number of factors, and a doctor might prescribe iron supplements or other healthy lifestyle changes to help prevent it. Increasing your intake of both iron- and vitamin-C-rich foods may help to prevent hair loss. Also, saw palmetto has shown promise in blocking hair loss.

Step 4: Manage Your Stress Levels

We’ve already said stress can cause hair loss. This is because when a person is stressed, the body goes into survival mode and redirects energy away from non-essential functions like hair growth.

There are ways to prevent stress from causing hair loss. Like through exercise, meditation, and avoiding triggers.

Step 5: Get Good Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation report that sleep can help prevent hair loss by regulating hormones and restoring balance in the body.

When the body is well-rested, it is able to function properly and maintain a healthy balance of hormones. This, in turn, can help keep hair follicles healthy and prevent them from falling out.

Step 6: Take Care of Your Scalp

It is important to take care of your scalp if you want to prevent hair loss.

  • Use gentle shampoo and avoid washing your hair every day.
  • Dry your hair properly to prevent damage. Apply sunscreen and hats when outside, and avoid high-heat styling.
  • Avoid permanent or semi-permanent hair color.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and products that could damage your scalp.
  • Use soft, smooth pillows are best for your scalp.

Talk to your health care team before using any products that may help with hair growth, and be sure to discuss after hair loss strategies.

Step 7: Use the Right Hair Products

You can also use products that help improve the condition of your hair, like shampoo with volume without sulfates, and products that work at different times during the day or week.

There are also products that can help prevent hair loss by adding thickness or volume. Thicker shampoo and conditioner can help prevent hair loss by cleaning buildup and increasing the amount of nutrients your hair receives.

You might even try hair loss shampoo with active ingredients to fight additional thinning.

Hair Loss Treatments

The most effective options depend on the cause of the hair loss and the person’s needs. Some of the most common treatments for hair loss include medications, hair restoration surgery, and low-level laser therapy.

Medications

There are many medications that can treat hair loss, but the most common treatments include minoxidil and finasteride.

Minoxidil is a medication that was originally developed as a treatment for high blood pressure. Minoxidil is an FDA-approved treatment that promotes hair regrowth, and it is now the most common treatment for hair loss. It works by increasing the amount of blood flow to the scalp, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to follicles.

Finasteride is a medication that was originally developed as a treatment for prostate cancer. Finasteride is an FDA-approved treatment that inhibits the hormone testosterone, which causes hair loss in men. It works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Hair Restoration Surgery

Hair loss surgery is a treatment for hair loss that replaces lost hair with healthy hair. There are several surgical options available, each with its own risks and benefits.

Hair Transplant

A hair transplant is a surgical procedure that relocates hair to areas that are losing it and restore a natural-looking hairline. The surgery is performed under local anaesthetic and takes between four and eight hours.

Other types of hair loss surgery include scalp expansion, flap surgery, and tissue grafting. The transplanted hair falls out within a few weeks, but regrows permanently within months.

Hair transplantation is the most common type of hair loss surgery. Also, the surgery usually requires several sessions, and may require scalp reduction as well. The surgery is expensive, and there’s a risk of infection and scarring.

Follicular Unit Extraction

Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a hair transplant procedure that uses a device to remove individual follicles from the hair shaft. The follicles are then removed and placed into a container for storage.

This procedure is used to treat hair loss on the scalp, in areas where hair is thinning, or to correct scars from previous hair transplants.

Follicular Unit Transplantation

Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) is a hair transplant procedure in which a physician removes a small group of hair follicles from the back of the head across a linear strip, typically leaving a scar.

The physician then transplants these follicles into areas of the scalp where hair is thinning.

Low-level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a less invasive option, with fewer risks than some other methods, such as hair transplant surgery. It uses lasers to stimulate hair growth.

Studies have shown that LLLT can be effective in treating hair loss. However, it is not always covered by insurance.

Platlet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Another option for preventing hair loss is PRP injections. PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. These injections use blood from the patient to stimulate hair growth.

Microneedling is used along with the injections to help stimulate hair growth. PRP injections have been shown to be effective in treating hair loss in some cases.

Hairpiece

Wigs and hairpieces are an alternative to medical and surgical treatment for covering hair loss.

Hair Fibers

Hair building fibers made from keratin are used to fill in bald spots and thin patches. Hair fibers have made significant advances and now come in a variety of sprays and powders.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are a type of research conducted in order to test new treatments in a controlled environment. By testing new treatments in clinical trials, researchers can find new ways to treat hair loss.

Clinical trials are hosted by the National Institutes of Health and are an important part of finding new treatments for hair loss.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors for hair loss. If you have a family history of balding, you are at a higher risk. Age is also a factor; as you get older, you are more likely to experience hair loss.

Losing a lot of weight can also lead to hair loss. Poor nutrition can also contribute to hair loss. If you have a medical condition, you may be at an increased risk for hair loss.

Living with Hair Loss

If you are experiencing hair loss, there are a few things you can do to help cope with the situation.

First, be gentle when washing your hair and avoid using harsh hair products. You look at different thinning hairstyles.

If your hair falls out, try using a soft towel, electric shaver, or wig to cope with the loss. Additionally, sunscreen and hats are important to protect your scalp from further damage.

Finally, talk to someone about your feelings regarding the hair loss. This can be a friend, family member, or therapist.

FAQ

What is the main cause of hair loss?

Hair loss can have many causes, including genetics, hormones, and age. Pattern hair loss is caused by a combination of genetics and the male hormone dihydrotestosterone. The cause of pattern hair loss remains unclear. Whatever the cause, hair loss can be frustrating and even emotionally distressing. There are treatments available to help improve your overall health and treat your hair loss.

How can I stop hair fall naturally?

There are many natural hair fall remedies, but no single remedy is guaranteed to work for everyone. A healthy diet and good hair care practices are the best ways to prevent hair loss. If you are already losing hair, there are treatments that can help slow down or stop the hair loss.

Does biotin help menopausal hair loss?

Biotin is a vitamin that has been traditionally used to treat hair loss. Biotin supplements have been shown to be effective in stopping hair loss in 83% of men compared to 28% for the placebo group. 5% minoxidil and 16 weeks of use was found to be effective in 70.6% of men experiencing hair loss.

What is the main reason for hair loss in females?

Hair loss in females can be caused by a variety of reasons, but the most common one is hormonal imbalance. Female-pattern hair loss is the most common type of hair loss in women, and is caused by a combination of genetics and hormones. Female-pattern hair loss affects about one third of women, or 30 million people in the United States.

Does Wearing a Hat Cause Hair Loss?

Wearing a hat has never been scientifically proven to cause hair loss. However, wearing a hat too tightly could case extra stress to hair follicles that could lead to excess shedding.

By Eric Melillo

I'm the co-owner of B&B. I live in Guilford, Connecticut and I've been obsessed with bald & beard styles & trends for over 20 years..