Causes of Hair Loss

Why Hair Falls Out: Causes of Hair Loss

No matter what the reasons for hair loss are, it is often dispiriting and sometimes even frightening. Many wonder why people lose their hair in the first place. The fact is that people are always losing their hair, for the hair grows, rests and falls out in cycles. This means that the 50 to 100 hairs that fall out every day are constantly replaced. Hair loss becomes noticeable when this predictable cycle is disturbed in some way.

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Here are some reasons why people lose their hair:


Genetics is the most common reason that people lose their hair. It manifests as either male or female pattern baldness. Men notice a receding hairline that might eventually leave them with just a horseshoe of hair around the sides of their heads or complete baldness. Some men start to experience this type of hair loss when they're teenagers. Women notice that their hair thins, but they rarely become completely bald or suffer receding hairlines.


The hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy, menopause and childbirth can cause women's hair to thin, though in the case of pregnancy and childbirth the normal hair cycle resumes soon after the birth. Polycystic ovary syndrome, which is an imbalance of male and female hormones in a woman, can also lead to hair loss. Treatment, including the use of birth control pills, can correct this problem.

Imbalances in thyroid hormone can also cause hair loss. Interestingly, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can affect hair growth.

Medical Conditions

Immune disorders such as lupus and alopecia areata can lead to hair loss. In immune disorders, the person's own immune system attacks the body. In the case of alopecia areata, the hair follicles are affected. In the case of lupus, the connective tissue is attacked. This causes system-wide problems, including hair loss.

Ringworm is another disease that causes hair loss. It has nothing to do with worms, but is a fungus that attacks the skin, including the scalp. Hair returns when the ringworm is treated. However, there are scalp conditions such as lichen planus that damage the hair follicles. This makes the return of hair difficult if not impossible.

Anemia, which is a reduction of circulating red blood cells in the body, is a cause of iron deficiency and might lead to hair loss. Anemia is often a symptom of another underlying disease.

Another psychological disorder is trichotillomania. In this disorder, the person has a compulsion to pull out the hair from their scalp and from other places such as their eyelids.


Chemotherapy is notorious for causing hair loss. This is because chemotherapy drugs destroy cells that grow rapidly. Malignant cells do this, but so do the cells found in hair follicles. Other drugs that can lead to hair loss are antidepressants, anticoagulants and anabolic steroids.


Hair loss can occur if the person takes too much vitamin A or too little vitamin B and protein.


Both emotional and physical stress can cause a person's hair to fall out. This includes the death of a loved one, surgery, fever and sudden weight loss.

Hair Styles

Traction alopecia can occur when the person continually wears hair styles that pull at the roots of the hair, like cornrows. Hot oil treatments can scar the hair follicles.

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