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What Causes Hair Loss? Reasons & Solutions Explained

What Causes Hair Loss? Reasons & Solutions

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Real Talk: Suffering from hair loss is one of the most unpleasant experiences. Noticing more than usual hair clogging your shower or sudden thinning of your ponytail is confronting the demons of hair loss. Waking up to loose strands on the pillow is a vicious circle tapping on your stress and anxiety level, isn't it? But, you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from hair fall, and understanding the root causes of hair loss might help reverse it.

Sometimes stressful episodes in life cause temporary hair loss; other times, it might be linked to genetic factors. Pattern baldness in males or females is often triggered by hormonal imbalance. If you have suffered from unusual hair loss, it's time to understand the root cause and find the right solution. Bookmark this blog to learn about hair loss and ways to reverse it.

What are the significant causes of hair loss?

While hair loss is common among people, it does not zero down to just one root cause. Here are some of the common reasons.

1. Excess styling and use of chemical products

Using hot styling tools, chemical products, and frequent coloring might also weaken hair and lead to hair loss. Over-processing hair, bleaching, and dyeing might cause breakage. Often, the question pops up - does hair dye cause hair loss? As John Kahen, MD, founder of Beverly Hills Hair Restoration to Real Simple, said, "The chemicals in hair dye damage the protein within the hair shaft, which can weaken hair and break off."

Aggressive styling like high-rise tight ponytails or the use of chemical styling products results in stressing strands. Constant tension and pulling of the hair caused by tight hairstyles might lead to hair loss, known as traction alopecia. Also, chemical products might weaken the follicles, resulting in hairfall. Constant exposure to heat dries out the strands and results in increasing hair breakage.

Here's how you can reduce damage
  • Avoid tying your hair into tight ponytails and braids
  • Always use mild hair care products that are free of toxic formulations like paraben and sulfate
  • Never vigorously rub your hair with a towel after washing
  • Use a brush or wide-tooth comb to detangle and comb
  • Do not opt for frequent hair coloring, chemical treatment, or use of hair extensions

2. Lack of balanced nutrition

Healthy hair growth demands a dose of balanced nutrition. Hair requires a balanced mix of proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals for its unhindered growth. Deficiency in Vitamin B12, biotin, folate, and riboflavin is also one of the prominent causes of hair loss. Low protein intake also might weaken hair as protein is known to maintain the structural integrity of hair fiber.

Here are the nutrients that help in reducing hair loss:
  • Biotin – It helps produce keratin proteins essential for strengthening hair. Some of the rich biotin sources include eggs, fish, sweet potatoes, seeds, nuts, etc.
  • Proteins - Increase protein intake by consuming beans, legumes, and lean meat. Soybeans are abundant in spermidine, and studies indicate it promotes hair growth.
  • Essential fatty acids - Make nuts and seeds a part of your everyday diet as they are rich in essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamins, etc., that help with hair growth.
  • Vitamins - Add berries to your daily eating routine, as they're loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. Antioxidants prevent damage by eliminating free radicals. Vitamin C produces collagen that strengthens hair.
  • Iron - Consume leafy vegetables rich in Vitamin-A, iron, and folate. For example, spinach is loaded with iron that helps boost blood circulation to the scalp and promote hair growth. Other sources of iron include kidney beans, iron-fortified grains, lentils, etc.
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3. Genetics and Hormonal Imbalance

As told by Michele Green, MD, cosmetic dermatologist, NYC to Everyday Health – "Excess androgens, or male sex hormones, and hormonal imbalances are the most common causes of hair loss like androgenetic alopecia." Male or female-patterned baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia, falls under hereditary hair loss due to hormonal imbalance in androgens. Common signs include receding the hairline and losing hair from the crown area. Excessive production of androgen in women weakens hair follicles, leading to female-pattern baldness. However, male-patterned baldness is triggered by an increase in an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that binds to hair follicles and stops hair growth.

Here are a few treatments for reducing hereditary hair loss:
  • Medication - Minoxidil, an FDA-approved topical drug, is known to boost follicle health and increase the hair growth cycle. Oral medicines like Finasteride are approved for treating male pattern baldness. Spironolactone is an oral medication usually used for treating female pattern baldness as it reduces androgen hormone production in women.
  • Hair transplant – Genetically-linked hair loss is often difficult to reduce, so people often opt for surgical implantation of healthy hair follicles.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP treatment) - It involves drawing blood and separating the plasma. The plasma rich in platelets is injected into the scalp, slowing down hair loss.

4. Disease and medications

Health issues and disease might also cause hair loss. An imbalance in the thyroid hormones might impair hair growth and lead to increasing hair fall. Both hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) might result in hair thinning. This can be reversed by taking the proper medication to address thyroid issues.

Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks the hair follicles, inhibiting new hair growth. Other autoimmune diseases like Lupus Syndrome and Hashimoto's thyroiditis might also cause hair loss, which is reversible through medications and hair restoration surgeries. Cancer treatment, like chemotherapy, also causes hair loss. Heavy-dose medicines like blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, beta and calcium channel blockers, etc., might cause hair loss. If the hair loss is caused due to medical reasons, always consult a doctor for treatment.

5. Pregnancy and postpartum changes

Pregnancy often leads to fluctuating hormonal levels that might lead to hair loss. It is found that nearly 40 to 50% of women experience postpartum hair loss, which usually reverses as soon as the hormone levels stabilize. The estrogen level peaks during pregnancy, often resulting in thicker hair growth. However, reducing estrogen levels postpartum leads to shedding, a primary cause of hair loss for new mothers. As per Cleveland Clinic, postpartum hair loss occurs for one to six months post-childbirth; symptoms might extend up to 18 months. It is recommended to consult a doctor if hair loss is not reversed.

6. Stress, lifestyle, and trauma

Stress is one of the most significant contributors to experiencing hair fall. Whether it's a life-altering event, illness, or surgery, the body is subjected to immense stress that triggers hair loss from acute telogen effluvium. Natural hair shedding starts in the telogen phase in the hair growth cycle. During telogen effluvium, the hair remains in the cycle's telogen phase, resulting in increased hair loss. Physical and emotional trauma are both causes of hair loss. Lack of sleep also induces stress that weakens the hair follicles and leads to hair fall.

Here are a few ways to reverse hair loss triggered by lifestyle choices:
  • Sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours as your body needs rest and recovery. This also keeps the stress levels in check.
  • Avoid drinking and smoking to stay healthy and reduce hair loss. Smoking is known to disrupt the hair growth cycle due to its inflammatory effect.
  • Regular exercise boosts cardio health and improves blood circulation to the scalp. This helps in keeping hair loss in check.
  • Eat healthy and a wholesome diet. If required, take biotin and vitamin supplements to compensate for any deficiency.
  • Keep hair clean, opt for a hot oil massage once a week, and avoid overusing styling products to avoid the onset of hair fall.
These are some significant causes of hair loss, but not limited to it. While premature hair loss is something to worry about, gradual hair fall and hair thinning are also a part of the natural aging process. Whether you have started experiencing increased hair fall lately or it's part of a seasonal transition, it's best to consult a professional for the proper treatment and solution.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/#:~:text=Only%20riboflavin%2C%20biotin%2C%20folate%2C,(FAD)%20%5B22%5D

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-nutr-120419-015419

https://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty-pictures/ten-causes-of-hair-loss.aspx

https://www.realsimple.com/can-hair-dye-cause-hair-loss-7368894

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor the fashion and beauty space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

    • Current Version

  • Mar 4, 2024

Written By -

Upasana Kakati is a lifestyle writer with 7+ years of experience in writing in the beauty and haircare industry.

Edited By -

Saima Ahmed with 8+ yrs of experience, specializes in crafting engaging content focused on Hair care, lifestyle, and beauty.

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