Hair loss is a condition that can affect everyone (men and women) at any stage of life. It is important that you know the the most common causes for hair loss early to help prevent any major loss. Below are the most common causes for hair loss.
Causes of Excessive Hair Loss
Improper Hair Cosmetic Use/Improper Hair Care – Many men and women use chemical treatments on their hair, including dyes, tints, bleaches, straighteners, and permanent waves. These treatments rarely damage hair if they are done correctly. However, the hair can become weak and break if any of these chemicals are used too often. Hair can also break if the solution is left on too long, if two procedures are done on the same day, or if bleach is applied to previously bleached hair. If hair becomes brittle from chemical treatments, it is best to stop until the hair has grown out.
Hairstyles that pull on the hair, like ponytails and braids, should not be pulled tightly and should be alternated with looser hairstyles. The constant pull causes some hair loss, especially along the sides of the scalp.
Hereditary Thinning or Balding
Hereditary balding or thinning is the most common cause of hair loss. The tendency can be inherited from either the mother’s or father’s side of the family. Women with this trait develop thinning hair, but do not become completely bald. There is no cure, although medical treatments have recently become available that may help some people. One treatment involves applying a lotion, minoxidil, to the scalp twice a day. Another treatment for men is a daily pill containing finasteride, a drug that blocks the formation of the active male hormone in the hair follicle.
In this type of hair loss, hair usually falls out, resulting in smooth, round patches about the size of a coin or larger. This disease may affect children or adults of any age. The cause of alopecia areata is unknown. Apart from the hair loss, affected persons are generally in excellent health. In most cases, the hair regrows by itself. Treatments include steroids (either topical or by injection) or topical minoxidil, most commonly.
Both an over-active thyroid and an under-active thyroid can cause hair loss. Your physician can diagnosis thyroid disease with laboratory tests. Hair loss associated with thyroid disease can be reversed with proper treatment.
Inadequate Protein in Diet
Some people who go on crash diets that are low in protein, or have severely abnormal eating habits, may develop protein malnutrition. The body will save protein by shifting growing hairs into the resting phase. Massive hair shedding can occur two to three months later.
Some prescription drugs may cause temporary hair shedding. Examples include some of the medicines used for the following: gout, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, or blood thinner. High doses of vitamin A may also cause hair shedding.
Birth Control Pills
Women who lose hair while taking birth control pills usually have an inherited tendency for hair thinning.
Low Serum Iron
Iron deficiency occasionally produces hair loss.
Major Surgery/Chronic Illness
Anyone who has a major operation may notice increased hair shedding within one to three months afterwards.
Cancer treatments, fungal infection (ringworm) of the scalp and hair pulling (trichotillomania) may also cause hair loss.