What Can Cause Hair Loss?

If you’re wondering what can cause hair loss, it’s important to understand that the answer can be different from person to person. One of the most common causes is a hereditary condition causing male or female pattern baldness.

Sometimes pregnancy, childbirth or the menopause can cause temporary hair loss in women when hormonal changes take place. Other times medical conditions can play a role in hair loss.

It’s thought that around eight million women in the UK suffer hair loss. And one in eight of those surveyed were under 35. Baldness affects around 6.5 million men at some point in their lives.

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Let’s take a look at what can cause hair loss in more detail.

What Can Cause Hair Loss — 9 Common Reasons

#1 Genetics — “Runs in the Family”

what can cause hair loss

You can inherit the genes that cause hair loss. It can happen early on or as you age. Known as androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness), symptoms usually show in the form of a receding hairline, thinning hair with women, or bald spots with men.

The good news is you might not always fall victim to hereditary baldness. You may get lucky and watch your brother go bald and your hair stays in place.

This is because you may not inherit the gene or genes involved in hair loss.

#2 Auto-Immune Disorder

One of the most common forms of hair loss is caused by an auto-Immune disorder called Alopecia Areata. This is a disease that causes the white blood cells to attack the hair follicles. The attacked hair follicles will fall out causing temporary baldness.

The good news is — the attacked hair follicles are usually not totally destroyed. This means you can re-grow your hair again with the right treatment.

#3 Hormonal Changes

Hormones are responsible for both growing and losing hair. Therefore it’s obvious that hormonal changes can cause hair loss. This is the most common cause of thinning and affects both men and women.

If hormones are imbalanced, like a thyroid imbalance or you are menopausal this leads to a drop in the level of estrogen which can cause hair to dry out and thin.

#4 Childbirth

Within 8 to 12 weeks after giving birth, a lot of women will start to lose quite an amount of hair. Although this situation can last a frustrating 6 to 7 months, it’s good to know that in most cases everything will turn out just fine.

All it takes is the women’s body to recover from 9 months of pregnancy. The good news is, when your hormones start to return to normal, your hair loss should stop. Returning your luscious locks back to their former glory.

#5 Prescription Medications

what can cause hair loss

A growing number of reports warn that prescription drugs can cause hair loss. These are “every day” drugs, used to fight common diseases and illnesses like low cholesterol, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s and arthritis as well as blood thinners and anti-inflammatory medications.

It’s obviously better to lose your hair than get sick, so don’t be afraid to take recommendations from your doctor. But be aware that in many cases there are alternative drugs available that will not cause hair loss.

#6 Chemotherapy Treatments

Almost 100% of cancer patients who have to undergo chemotherapy will lose hair. It’ll start within a few weeks after the chemo treatment is started.

And no, not just scalp hair will be affected. All areas of the body are likely to go bald. Most patients, however, will notice their hair growing back 6 to 8 months after the last chemotherapy session.

#7 Stress

Stress is a well-known factor in causing hair loss. It can take around 6-12 months for a stressful event to have an effect on your hair. This is because of the hair growth cycle.

Hair loss due to stress is usually not permanent. If you can get your stress and anxiety under control and get your body healthy, it’s likely your hair will start to grow back.

#8 Toxins and Poisons

In our modern society, we are constantly surrounded by toxins and poisons that are used in the manufacturing of many everyday products. When ingested over a long period of time, some of these poisons and toxins can lead to cause hair loss.

#9 Hairstyles and Hair Treatments

Traction alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by hairstyles or hairstyling that pulls the hair really tight. Hot oil hair treatments and styles that use abrasive, permanent hair treatment can also cause hair to fall.

What Can Cause Hair Loss — Final Thoughts

The most common reasons for hair loss have been listed above.

But there are many other factors that will increase the chance of hair thinning or falling out. These are; age, severe weight loss or weight gain, poor nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle.

To protect yourself against hair loss, follow these simple tips;

  • Stop smoking and maintain a healthy weight with a good diet. Smoking has been linked to baldness in men
  • Minimise harsh treatments on your hair like using hot tools, tight hairstyles and permanent treatments. Try using a wide-tooth comb and limit styles pulling your hair back with abrasive rubber bands
  • If you are taking medications that cause hair loss, talk to your doctor about alternatives. There may be a more natural option out there
  • If you are undergoing chemotherapy, ask your doctor about a cooling cap which may aid in minmising hair loss

Related: How to stop hair loss — 9 tips to combat thinning hair.