The Main Causes Of Hair Loss

man looking in the mirror at balding hairline and hair loss

Hair loss affects a huge chunk of the population and can affect confidence and self-esteem. In fact, 85% of the male population will suffer from hair loss at some point in life, and so will 50% of women. Everyone knows that hair loss exists, and that it’s an extremely common issue, but not many people know or understand the causes of hair loss.

How To Spot The Signs Of Hair Loss

Hair loss generally doesn’t happen overnight, in most cases it is a slow process over an extended period, although it can be sudden. It can start as hair thinning before it progresses to balding or actual hair loss. Not only this, but you can experience hair loss across your entire body, or just your scalp depending on the cause of the problem.

Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include the following;

 

  • Full body hair loss
    • Medical conditions like alopecia can cause hair loss over the entire body.
  • Circular or patchy bald spots
    • Circular or patchy bald spots can happen on the scalp, beard, or eyebrows and skin may become itchy or painful before hair loss.
  • Sudden hair loss
    • Physical or emotional shock is typically what causes sudden hair loss, hair may come out in chunks when washing or brushing. This type of hair loss normally comes with thinning but grows back reasonably quickly.
  • Gradual hair loss
    • The most common kind of hair loss is typically triggered by aging. In men, this usually begins at the front of the hairline, and women typically have a broadening in their hairline.

 

The average person loses around 50-100 hairs a day, which sounds like a lot but is perfectly normal. If you think you are losing excessive amounts of hair or are already suffering from hair loss, seeking medical help or treatments can help you minimise the effects and treat the root cause of hair loss.

What Are The Main Causes Of Hair Loss?

Because there are so many different causes and triggers of hair loss, there is no ‘universal’ cure. That being said, many treatment methods can help minimise hair loss or promote hair growth, but to treat, you need to diagnose.

 

Aging

Aging is an inevitable process that everyone will go through at one point or another. Some people age earlier than others, and some people take longer to show signs of aging, it’s normally down to genetics.

As you age, the hormone levels in your body change. As we previously mentioned, you lose around 50-100 hairs a day, the reason it is not noticeable is your body is always working to regrow the shedding hair. Throughout your life, this stays at a stable level, but as you get older the hair growth rate starts to decline.

The change in hormones will decrease the growing period in your hair growth cycle, which can lead to an imbalance and means your body does not produce enough new hair to replace the hair that is falling out.

 

Medical Conditions & Hormones

Hormone-induced hair loss is much more common in women than men, as there are many more things that can trigger changes in hormones in women compared to men. Such as;

 

  • Menstruating
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Childbirth

 

The hair loss caused by these hormonal changes can be permanent or temporary. The lowered production of progesterone and estrogen particularly in menopause is what causes hair loss, as the hair grows much slower and hair follicles become thinner due to the lack of hormones. The decrease in hormones also triggers the production of androgens, from the male hormone group, which shrinks hair follicles and can result in hair loss. You can also experience the opposite effect due to overproduction of androgens, and experience hair overgrowth. This is why some menopausal women experience peach fuzz, and random darker hairs sprouting on the face.

Medical conditions like alopecia and thyroid issues can also cause hair loss. In the UK alopecia affects 15 in everyone 10,000 people and is currently incurable. Alopecia is an auto-immune disease where the cells in your body’s immune system attack the hair follicles which are responsible for making hair. This causes hair growth to stunt and hair to fall out. It specifically affects the face and head, but can also affect the entire body, researchers still cannot understand why this happens or what causes the immune system to behave this way, but believe that it is down to both environmental and genetic factors.

Types Of Alopecia

Girl with thinnning hairline

 

  • Patchy alopecia areata
    • The most common type of alopecia, hair loss happens in multiple coin-sized patches on the body or scalp.
  • Alopecia totalis
    • This kind of alopecia causes near or total hair loss on the scalp.
  • Alopecia universalis
    • One of the rarest forms of alopecia involves total or near-total hair loss on the face, scalp, and body.

Your thyroid can be overactive or underactive, both are treatable. Severe or prolonged thyroid issues can cause hair loss. This is more likely if the condition is left untreated as your hair will become weak and brittle.

 

Hereditary

Like most diseases and conditions, hair loss can also be hereditary and solely down to your family history. There is still a lot of research going on as to how men can inherit baldness, but it is thought to involve more than one gene. Women have two ‘X’ chromosomes, whereas men have an ‘X’ and a ‘Y’ chromosome.

Men inherit the X from their mother and the Y from their father, and baldness seems to be strongly associated with both chromosomes based on research. In one study, over 80% of the people who experienced balding, had a balding father. For females and FPB (female pattern baldness), there is not much known about the genetics. Researchers have however found that genes that create the code for the production of an enzyme called aromatase make testosterone to estradiol could be the cause, and also explains which FPB is much more likely to occur during or after the menopause.

 

Hair Styling

Both hair products and hair styling can cause enough damage to your hair that it causes thinning, and even patches of baldness. Heat tools like hair straighteners, curlers, and blow dryers can damage the hair follicles and cause the hair to fall out, as the hair becomes more brittle from damage, it becomes more prone to breakage and loss.

Oils, gels, and balms with ingredients that are damaging to your hair and being applied frequently can also have the same effect. Hair product damage is typically more reversible through treatment and the correct hair care, but it is important to take notice if any products look as though they’re causing a strain on your hair.

As well as this, tight hairstyles that pull back your hair can also cause damage over an extended period of time. Pulling your hair back into tight ponytails or buns regularly can cause strands to snap or completely come out. This is the same for hair extensions, as the extension weighs down on your natural hair, it can damage it and cause it to fall out, or cause bald patches.

 

Treatments For Hair Loss

Thankfully for those suffering from hair loss, although there is not always a ‘cure’ as such, there are always treatment options, and things available to help you feel more comfortable and get your confidence back.

For total hair loss, you can now purchase eyebrow stencils, fake eyelashes, and also wigs to help you feel like yourself again on the day-to-day. For those suffering from hair thinning or baldness, getting to the root cause of what is causing it is paramount, as it could require something as small as simple diet changes, or taking vitamins/supplements to improve your hair growth/hair health.

As well as this, there are shampoos and conditioners that can be prescribed to you to help stimulate hair growth and reduce thinning or even over-the-counter medicine such as Oral Finasteride. Visiting a medical professional when your experience signs of hair loss is crucial, as they can advise you on the best next steps, and help establish if there are any causes of thinning or balding, or if it is simply down to aging, or hereditary.

 

PRP For Hair Loss

At The Cosmetic Clinic, we provide PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) therapy as a treatment for balding and thinning hair, and it has proven to be extremely successful. The platelets found in your blood plasma are one of the most valuable healing properties that your body has to offer, and by injecting these concentrated platelets into areas of weakness in your body, you can enrich and heal the area. PRP contains several of the proteins that are crucial to your hair’s growth and to elongate the growth cycle of your natural hair cycle.

It’s important to note that PRP treatment for hair loss does not provide instant results and that you will need 3-5 sessions to achieve results, but this could vary based on the results you’re wanting to achieve. Our qualified medical professionals can advise you and build a treatment plan that is personalised to you.

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