Having previously experienced a hair loss scare, I can relate to the feeling that you get the minute that you realize that your hair is starting to fall out more than it should. However before panicking, let’s try to determine the root of the problem (no pun intended). There are various causes for hair loss, some are temporary and fixable while others are more severe and may not be as straightforward to resolve. In this article we will look at the various triggers for hair loss.
Possible triggers for hair loss
- Age. Unfortunately, it is still unknown why hair thins out and fall more as we age, but it is not unusual if you reach the 50’s to start noticing those changes.
- Genetic. If hair loss runs in your family genes, chances are that you will potentially face signs of hair loss at a ‘young’ age. This type of hair loss is permanent, and to this day there is no medication for re-growth. However some medications like Rogaine are prescribed to prevent further hair loss.
- Hormonal change. Hormonal change occurs for different reasons and some of these can cause hair loss: Pregnancy or post-pregnancy, switching birth-control pills, menopause, if you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland that doesn’t produce enough hormones critical to metabolism/growth). Usually treatment of these conditions resolves the hair loss problem. Getting medical advice is the first route to go.
- Diet. For healthy thriving hair follicles, certain nutrients must be present in the body at the right amounts. The American Academy of Dermatology determined that too much vitamin A can be detrimental to hair follicles. Lack of protein, lack of vitamin B and Iron deficiency anemia are other possible nutritional causes for hair loss. Luckily, these issues can be corrected by modifying the diet accordingly.
- Poor grooming habits. Sometimes, simple things like constantly pulling our hair in pony tails or having tight braids can result in hair loss at those areas. Usually as soon as the hair style is changed, the hair usually regrows over time. However certain treatments such as chemical straightening can permanently damage the hair follicles if done too often or improperly, resulting in permanent hair loss.
- Physical and Emotional stress. Hair grows in 3 stages in the follicles. Sometimes a recent trauma like an accident, surgery or even pregnancy itself causes physical stress on the body affecting the growth cycle of the hair. Temporary hair loss is thus observed. Emotional stress from events such as death of a family member can also cause this type of hair loss. Often college students will complain of hair loss from all the stress that they juggle on a day to day basis.
- Medical conditions. Sometimes there are more serious conditions at the basis of hair loss. Certain autoimmune diseases such as Lupus can cause hair loss and unfortunately the likelihood of hair growing back is low. Other autoimmune diseases such as alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease where the body gets confused and attacks hair follicles by mistake), and scalp infections like ringworm can cause hair loss. Treatment can be done for alopecia areata, but the condition is unpredictable with hair growing back and falling out again.
- Treatments and Medications. There are many medications that can cause hair loss because they interfere with the normal growth/fall cycle of hair. Some of them are antidepressants, blood thinners, or blood pressure medications among others. You can find a comprehensive list here. Sometimes changing the medications can alleviate the hair loss problem.
These are 8 of the most probable causes of hair loss. Once you have determined the cause, you can then decide with a physician what the best course of action is.