Hair loss is a condition that presents itself in many different ways and various levels of severity. However, the physical as well as emotional effects remain the same, so it remains necessary to understand exactly what causes this condition. Before people can take appropriate steps toward treating their hair loss, they must first find out all the probable causes of this condition, starting with the most common.
Listed below are the top 10 causes of hair loss in men and women, including a detailed explanation of how each one can be prevented and/or addressed.
1. Genetics and Heredity
This is perhaps the most common cause of male pattern baldness, which occurs in one for every five men in the world. Males who have fathers, grandfathers, and uncles who went bald or experience hair loss upon reaching the age of forty (sometimes younger) are very likely to go through the same process. Unfortunately, there is no preventing male pattern baldness since gene therapy has yet to be perfected in order to combat this specific condition.
However, the mere awareness that you have the genetic markers for male pattern baldness can help you prepare for the inevitable.
2. Adverse Effects to Medication
In the case of people undergoing treatment for cancer (radiation and/or chemotherapy), hair loss is one of the most common side effects to expect. Chemotherapy, for instance, is a treatment for cancer that essentially uses toxic substances in order to kill off cancerous cells. Before the positive effects of the treatment set in, patients are bound to experience severe side effects, not the least of which is falling hair and even complete baldness for some.
Most cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments usually grow their hair back at some point. However, there is not much they can do about the hair loss before they complete the therapy.
3. Excessive Use of Haircare Products
Many are guilty of this practice, especially women, who think that the only way they can maintain great looking hair is to use various products such as shampoo, conditioner, and leave-on serums on a daily basis. It is very important to know that most haircare produts are laced with chemicals that can permanently damage hair follicles and prevent their re-growth. The most common sign of excessive use of haircare products is dryness, since the chemicals strip your hair of its natural oils. Some products even cause the development of dandruff since the scalp also becomes too dry and flaky.
4. Underlying Medical Conditions
Such conditions as Alopecia Areata can cause severe and permanent hair loss as it attacks the hair follicles, causing irreparable damage. Since this condition is an autoimmune disease, it works quite insidiously and there is no hope for a permanent cure as of yet. Other conditions that can cause hair loss include thyroid deficiencies, scalp infections, and other skin disorders.
5. Certain Hairstyles
Some people mistreat their hair more severely than others and the repercussions are also quite serious. Such hairstyles as dreadlocks, cornlocks, tight buns and/or ponytail can cause hair to fall out at an alarming rate. Since the hair strands are pulled too tightly, the follicles are subjected to undue stress, which almost always results to significant hair loss.
For women who like styling their hair, it is best to pick a hairstyle that will not agitate the hair follicles or cause the strands to become brittle. Using clips instead of rubber hair tie would also be preferable so the hair is not pulled too tightly.
Much like the skin, human hair bears the grunt of undue stress and exhibit signs of degradation as a result. People who are under a lot of stress are more likely to experience hair fall or hair loss than those who are fairly relaxed. When the body is under pressure, it cannot fully carry out its restorative function, which is necessary in order to maintain a healthy head of hair.
Prolonged high levels of stress can cause irreparable damage to the hair follicles, which brings about the onset of baldness in men and falling hair in women.
7. Pregnancy and Childbirth
Hormonal changes in women is one of the most common causes of falling hair. During the first two trimesters when the body is undergoing rapid changes in preparation for childbirth, women can expect their hair to fall out at an abnormal rate. During this time, women are encouraged to cut their hair short and consume the necessary vitamins (in addition to prenatal supplements) in order to lessen hair fall and prevent permanent damage.
8. Malnutrition and/or Poor Diet
Many people do not realize that what they eat can directly affect how well their hair looks and how healthy each strand would be. The body cannot fully function, let alone revitalize itself in the absence of necessary nutrients such as Vitamin D, E, and A. Hair loss is often caused by poor diet practices so it can easily be remedied by improving one’s diet, specifically by consuming more green vegetables and fresh fruits.
9. Drastic Weather Changes
People who have just gone on vacation or have recently relocated to another location can experience significant hair loss due to the drastic change in weather. This is particularly true for those who move to an area where the humidity is especially high. The damage that weather changes can do to human hair can be quite significant so it is necessary to take appropriate measures to prevent permanent effects.
10. Unhealthy Weight Loss
Women who undergo extreme diet programs and/or resort to questionable weight loss methods (i.e. purging, prolonged fasting) are more likely to experience hair loss. Losing too much weight in a short span of time can cause the body to shutdown and become unable to perform even the simplest tasks such as cell renewal, which is necessary in maintaining healthy hair.
Most women who suffer from anorexia or bulimia also experience persistent hair loss in addition to other troubling effects.
There are other less common causes of hair loss, some of which only affect specific types of people based on their genetic predisposition. In any case, it would be a good idea to know all the causes listed above so that you can take appropriate measures to prevent losing hair.