The Main Causes of Hair Loss
Causes of Hair Loss in Men
Though hair loss affects both men and women all over the world, men suffer much more from it than women. Approximately 70% men all over the world will suffer from this at some time during their lifetime. It can start as early as puberty and as late as 50-60 years. Following are the main causes that afflict most men:
- Male Pattern Baldness – The most common cause of this amongst men is male pattern baldness. It is sometimes expected that around 90-95% of thinning in men is caused by pattern baldness. It starts with receding hairline around the temple areas and some frontal & crown region loss. This cause is triggered by DHT, a very powerful, male hormone which starts the thinning process of hair follicles. Though this is the most common cause for men, it is still not understood the exact process through which DHT causes thinning and eventually to complete loss.
- Stress related – Stress is another big factor. This can mean both psychological as well as physical stress. Severe stress on the body sends the hair into resting phase, after which it falls out. Resting phase is generally the last phase of hair growth after which it stops growing and rests before it falls out and is replaced by a new strand. By sending hair early into this resting phase, stress can lead to severe loss of hair.
- Hypothyroidism – Thyroid is an important gland in human body. The main function of thyroid is to release various growth related hormones. Hypothyroidism is a condition when the body starts under-producing these hormones. Due to reduction in the amount of hormones in the body, the growth of the whole body is adversely affected. This affects hair growth as well and can be one of the leading causes among men.
- Infection – A fungal infection caused by fungi called dermatophytes is amongst the main reasons for dandruff and eventually, baldness. This infection causes the scalp to become itchy and can be identified by yellowish flakes.
- Auto-Immune Disease – Some auto-immune diseases such as Lupus can cause the immune cells of the body to attack its own body. Sometimes, your hair are caught between the friendly firing and fall out.
- Iron and Biotin Deficiency – Some Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies can also be the cause. Iron and Biotin are the amongst the most important nutrients for hair. If you are suffering from deficiency of any one of them due to poor nutrition, dieting, etc., you are at a risk of losing your hair.
- Traction Alopecia – Though this is much more prominent in women (especially African American women), it is also one of the causes for some men. This is caused mainly by constant pressure from pulling on the hair due to hairstyles such as ponytail and tight braids. Apart from these reasons, there are a few other reasons such as habitual pulling of hair, having no follicles in a particular area, etc. Consult your physician to find out more.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women
This condition is generally associated with men, and so women who are suffering from it tend to feel more ashamed and try to ignore it. However, up to 40% of women worldwide suffer from hair loss and it should not be ignored. Instead, you should try to understand the underlying causes behind it and see if it can be treatment. Here are a few of the main causes:
- Female Pattern Baldness – Just like Male Pattern Baldness, this is also caused by male hormone DHT interacting with sensitive scalp. Unlike their male counterparts however, women do not witness receding hairline. They are more likely to see thinning on the frontal and vertex areas. The good part is that this is unlikely to cause complete baldness (just as in males who suffer from male pattern baldness). There are many factors that contribute towards an increased risk of thinning but more researched is needed to consider them as risk factors.
- Traction Alopecia – Traction Alopecia is the process of losing hair due to constant pressure on them from pulling. This happens when women use hairstyles that put excess pressure on the follicles. These hairstyles include ponytails, pigtails, braids and many others. This cause is prominent in women and especially so, in African American women. Changing hairstyles in the early stages can prevent further loss due to this reason.
- Telogen Effluvium – When a woman’s body goes through a severe shock or a traumatic experience such as childbirth, big surgery, extreme stress, malnutrition, etc., there is a chance that she might experience severe hair loss. This happens because her hair is suddenly sent to the resting phase which is the last phase before it falls out. If proper care is taken, lot of hair can be regained for most of the women. But, some women can end up in chronic Telogen Effluvium and lose these hair permanently.
- Hypothyroidism – Thyroid is amongst the most important glands of the body as it secretes many hormones related to body growth. Hypothyroidism refers to a condition where the thyroid starts producing hormones on a much smaller scale. This adversely affects the growth of the whole body as well as that of your hair.
- Nutritional Deficiency – Deficiency of important vitamins and minerals like Iron & Biotin can be amongst one of the main causes. Biotin, for example, is an important protein for strength of hair and nails. It can simply be considered to be food for your exoskeleton. Iron is just as important, if not more so for your hair.
- Scalp Infection – A fungi known as dermatophytes is responsible for scalp infection in many women. This infection leads to dandruff and hair loss in many women. The scalp with become itchy and there will be yellowish flakes on your head. This infection is generally caused by poor hygiene.
- Alopecia Areata – This is an autoimmune disorder that attacks hair follicles in men and women alike. If you are having patchy hair loss, it is most likely to be caused by this. Total hair loss can also occur due to autoimmune disorders. It is then known as Alopecia totalis.