Overview of the Common Causes of Hair Loss
Alopecia, which is commonly referred to as hair loss or baldness, is considered a multi-factorial condition. Reversible or not, hair loss is often triggered by a myriad of factors ranging from genetics, hormonal imbalance to underlying medical conditions and improper lifestyle.
That being the case, the only way to end the onset of hair loss is to understand the nature of its cause. Doing this would lead towards finding the most suitable treatment or method which can aid in reversing the hair loss process, as well as encouraging the growth of fuller, thicker and healthier tresses.
With that, before jumping into the wrong kind of treatment, it is always necessary to find the various causes of hair loss in order to stop or eliminate the condition, once and for all.
The following are the most common causes of hair loss and hair thinning problems suffered by men and women all over the world:
HEREDITY — is the biological process whereby genetic characteristics and potentialities are transmitted from one generation to the next.
- Aging. As we age, the natural rate at which our hair follicles grow starts to decline. The natural hair growth process is affected, making the hair follicles shrink and atrophy, producing thinner, shorter and finer hair strands.
- Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This compound which is produced by the combination of the male hormone testosterone and the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is said to be the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. How much DHT an individual may produce mostly depends entirely on his/her genetic make-up — the more DHT is produced by the body, the higher the risk of suffering from hair loss or hair thinning problems.
HEALTH CONDITIONS — an illness, disease or other underlying medical problem
- Trichotillomania. This is an impulse-control condition that triggers the urge to tug, twist or pull the hair strands, causing permanent baldness.
- Diseases. Hair loss can be triggered by the onset of various diseases such as seborrheic dermatitis, hypotrichosis, lupus and hyper- or hypothyroidism.
- Scalp Infections. Demodexinfestation, folliculitis, kerion, piedra and tinea capitis are kinds of fungal infections that affect the scalp, leading to hair loss and hair thinning problems.
LIFESTYLE — the manner in which we live. Sometimes unhealthy lifestyle practices such as poor eating habits, extreme stress, lack of exercise and sleep, as well as bad habits like smoking and excessive drinking may serve as precursors to hair loss.
- Stress. Being under extreme emotional and physical stress can negatively affect the mind-body physiology. Exhaustion may constrict the flow of blood in the body, hampering the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots, hence weakening the hair follicles and causing hair loss.
- Malnutrition. Vitamin and mineral deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss, next to DHT. That being said, to achieve thicker and fuller hair strands, one must have a well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables that contain various vitamins and minerals.
- Hairstyles. Tight ponytails, dreadlocks and cornrows can also lead to hair thinning problems due to the strain that these hairstyles put on the hair follicles.
HORMONAL IMBALANCE — the rapid decrease or increase of oestrogen and androgen levels in the body.
- Pregnancy. Postpartum hair loss happens 2–3 months after pregnancy. Fortunately, this type of hair loss is only temporary and that the hair will go back to its natural hair growth cycle 3 months after giving birth.
- Menopause. This state in a woman’s life may cause oestrogen and progesterone levels to decrease, giving way for hair loss conditions. By the age of 50, approximately 50% of women may experience pronounced hair thinning due to menopause.
MEDICATIONS — are substances used to treatment ailments and conditions. However, using them can generate side effects like losing hair. Antidepressants, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, anti-neoplastics and beta blockers are some types of drugs that induce hair loss problems.