Hair Loss 101

What to Know About Hair Loss

Hair loss is something that all individuals experience, albeit some more than others. It is natural for our bodies to shed hair, and the average person loses about 100 hairs every day. This rate of hair loss typically doesn’t result in noticeable thinning, but there are several factors that can lead to excessive hair loss.

By Christina Cannon

The most common cause of hair loss is family history, and this happens more for men than it does for women. Hereditary hair loss, also known as female- or male-pattern baldness, usually occurs gradually with age and is somewhat predictable. For men, it typically manifests in a receding hairline or bald spots, while women are more likely to experience thinning hair.

Hormonal changes and medical conditions can also cause hair loss, both permanent and temporary. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, thyroid problems, and scalp infections can all contribute to hair loss, and a medical condition known as alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss.

In addition, new medications and supplements can have an impact on your luscious locks. Treatments for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout, and high blood pressure often have hair loss as a side effect.

Stress is yet another factor that can influence your body’s ability to produce and retain hair. It’s not uncommon for people to experience excessive shedding or general hair thinning for weeks and months after a trauma or stressful time period. The good news? This type of hair loss is temporary.

How you treat your hair can also have an effect on hair loss. Hairstyles that pull on your hair or excessive hairstyling in general can cause a condition known as traction alopecia. If your styling routine causes scarring along the hair follicles, this type of hair loss can be permanent.

If you are experiencing hair loss and would like to explore treatment, talk to your doctor to determine the best solution. If you experience sudden hair loss, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, and you should also consider a medical evaluation. The other types of hair loss described above have no adverse health effects and should not be reason for concern. Use this change as a time to explore a new hairstyle or experiment with accessories. HS

 

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