On average most of us will lose between 50 to 100 hairs a day. While this sounds like a lot, it is actually does not cause noticeable thinning of your hair because new there is new hair growing back in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when this cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
There are many factors to be considered when looking at the “exact” causes of hair loss but usually hair loss is related to one or more of the following factors:
- Family history (E.g. heredity)
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions (E.g. Autoimmune Disorders)
The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called pattern baldness which can be found in both women and men. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair in women.
Here are a couple of illustration that show both male and female pattern baldness.
Heredity also dictates the at what age you will begin to lose your hair, the rate of hair loss and the extent of hair you will ultimately lose. Pattern baldness is by far the most common in men and can begin as early as puberty. This type of hair loss may involve both hair thinning and miniaturization (hair becomes soft, fine and short).
Hormonal changes and medical conditions
A variety of conditions can cause hair loss, including:
Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes and imbalances can cause temporary hair loss. This could be due to a variety of changes from pregnancy, childbirth or the onset of menopause. Hormone levels are also affected by the thyroid gland, so thyroid problems can also cause hair loss.
Patchy hair loss
This type of nonscarring hair loss is called alopecia areata (al-o-PEE-she-uh ar-e-A-tuh). It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles — causing sudden hair loss that leaves smooth, roundish bald patches on the skin.
Infections, such as ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to scaly patches and hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back.
Other skin disorders. Diseases that cause scarring alopecia may result in permanent loss at the scarred areas. These conditions include lichen planus, some types of lupus and sarcoidosis.
This condition, also called trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it’s from the scalp, the eyebrows or other areas of the body.
Hair loss can be caused by drugs used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and birth control. Intake of too much vitamin A may cause hair loss as well.
Other causes of hair loss
Hair loss can also result from:
- Radiation therapy to the head. The hair may not grow back the same as it once was.
- A trigger event. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary. Examples of trigger events include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, surgery, or a death in the family.
- Certain hairstyles and treatments.
Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause traction alopecia. Hot oil hair treatments and permanents can cause inflammation of hair follicles that leads to hair loss. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent.
Hair Loss Statistics
- Number of U.S. women experiencing hair loss 21 Million
- Percent of women who will have noticeable hair loss by age 60 – 80 %
- 40% of women have visible hair loss by the time they’re age 40.
- On average, women dealing with thinning hair are between the ages of 25 and 35.
- 90% of hair loss is genetic and needs to be treated with laser therapy or topical medication.
- 24% of women equated losing their hair with losing a limb.
- Some women lose up to 70% of their hair from a stress response called Telogen Effluvium.
- 40% of women experience thinning hair as a result of menopause.
- After age 50, many women experience senescent alopecia, the type of hair loss that naturally occurs with age.
- Unlike female pattern baldness, both the duration of hair growth and the diameter of the hair follicle decreases leading to thin hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.