Hair loss is a common condition that affects both men and women. It is estimated that fifty million Americans will experience hair loss at some stage in their lives. The majority of individuals experience hair loss due to aging or other medical conditions, such as alopecia, or a common current medical condition, Covid-19. However, simple hormonal changes or stressors such as dieting or illness can cause hair loss in some individuals with certain genetic traits and even those without a family history.
Let's take a look at some of the leading causes for hair loss, and remember to visit Southeastern Dermatology's hair loss treatment page to see what effective hair loss solutions are available.
Thyroid issues, menopause, and pregnancy can all cause hormonal alterations that can result in hair thinning. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent cause of hormonal imbalance in women and can result in an increase in hair follicle loss.
Genetics also play a role in hair loss. Androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, is caused by genetic factors and can run in families. In women, this type of hair loss occurs when the body produces too much testosterone or DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which causes the follicles to shrink and eventually become dormant.
Androgenic alopecia affects about half of all men by age 50 and three-quarters by age 70; it's also common among women who experience high levels of androgens during their menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
Alopecia areata is another form of genetic hair loss that causes patches on your scalp to become bald without any obvious cause. For example, there might be no inflammation around these patches or signs that they've been rubbed off due to friction against clothing or furniture surfaces.
There are a number of nutritional deficiencies that can cause hair loss. The most common is iron deficiency, which occurs when your body doesn't have enough iron to make new red blood cells. This means that the existing blood cells are unable to function optimally, and are more likely to die prematurely. Iron deficiency is often caused by low dietary intake or absorption problems (such as celiac disease). Other causes include heavy menstrual bleeding, pregnancy or breastfeeding--all of which require extra blood supplies that the body may not be able to keep up with if it's already dealing with an iron deficiency.
Other nutritional deficiencies include protein deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, copper and zinc deficiencies, folic acid deficiency, selenium deficiency, or iodine deficiency.
Certain medications can cause hair loss. The most common examples of this is patient's that are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer. Hair loss is a typical side effect, and is often reversed later on if a patient goes into remission.
If you are prescribed new medication, be sure to ask your prescribing doctor to go over all side effects, both for hair loss or for anything else.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are the most common causes of hair loss. Stress can be physical or emotional. Physical stress can come from an injury or physical trauma, whereas emotional stress can spawn from issues such as a death in the family, career uncertainty, or relationship issues. Too much stress can cause the body to produce excess cortisol.
Much like going off of medication, exiting a time of intensive stress can often see the return of once lost hair.
Hair Styling Practices
Hair styling practices are one of the most common causes of hair loss. The following are some examples:
- Tight braids and ponytails can cause traction alopecia, or balding at the hairline.
- Hair extensions that are attached with glue can also lead to baldness at the temples and around the ears if they're not removed correctly or regularly cleaned with alcohol-based solutions.
- Chemical treatments like bleaching and dyeing may damage your natural pigments, causing you to lose more strands than usual when they fall out later on, which can be irreversible.
- Excessive use of heat treatment such as blow dryers and curling irons can damage hair follicles and lead to excess shedding and hair loss.
Environmental factors, such as pollution and sun exposure, can also be to blame for hair loss. Pollution contains chemicals that are absorbed into your skin and hair follicles. These chemicals cause irritation in the scalp and may lead to inflammation or infection. This can result in scarring of the skin around the follicle, leading to permanent hair loss if not treated properly.
Sun exposure is another culprit when it comes to hair loss. As we age our bodies produce less melanin--the pigment responsible for giving us our natural skin coloration--which makes us more susceptible to harmful UV rays from the sun's powerful rays.
Hair loss is a natural part of aging. As you get older, the hair on your head will become thinner and less dense. This is because there are fewer active follicles in which to grow new hairs. The rate at which hair falls out varies from person to person. Some people notice that they're losing more than usual while others don't seem to have any problems at all.
Take Preventative Measures Seriously
If you are worried about hair loss, the first step is to live a healthy lifestyle. Diets filled with sufficient vitamin and nutrient intake will help give your hair what it needs to continue growing properly. Avoiding excessive heated styling, tight ponytails, and excessive hat wearing could give you an edge to avoid hair loss.
Products and Solutions
There are plenty of hair loss remediation treatments on the market today as well. At Southeastern Dermatology we offer treatments such as Morpheus8 microneedling, Alma TED treatments, and Revian. We also have hair loss oriented products such as Nutrafol supplements and Revitalash shampoos and conditioners.
If you are suffering from premature hair loss of any kind, call Dr. Doppelt today and schedule a consultation. We can go over your issues, discover the root of your hair loss, and figure out a plan to help you restore your hair as soon as possible. Call today!