While it is true that men lose a little bit more hair than women do, it does not mean the latter do not feel demoralized and afraid. Hair loss is most of the times the symptom of a more severe problem or a combination of health issues. However, in order to take the correct measures against hair loss, we need to identify the causes. In some cases, correcting a deficit also solves the hair loss problem. Other times, people need to make serious lifestyle changes to fix the hair damages. Today, we will look at the top 11 reasons for hair loss and try to understand better how and when to make the necessary adjustments to protect your hair.
How Much Hair Loss is Normal?
Before we talk about hair loss as a health problem, we need to remind ourselves that hair thinning and hair loss – in certain limits – is a natural process. Not so long ago, we have discussed how much hair loss is normal, but a quick sum-up does not hurt: scientists agree that an average loss of 60-100 hairs per day is within expected margins.
Moreover, it is quite natural to see hair breaking when we brush it or wash it. Women with curly hair experience more hair strands breakings because they usually brush or comb their hair more vigorously. Styling tools or the over-use of hair products may also lead to hair thinning, breaking or falling.
The real problems begin when you notice that your hair does not stop from falling for three (or more) months in a row. In case you are in this situation, it is time to talk about the major reasons for hair loss.
Top Unexpected Reasons for Hair Loss in Women
Women can lose their hair due to plenty of health or environmental reasons, and we will discuss some specific circumstances women need to know and be prepared for.
Pregnancy comes with both physical stress and hormone changes. Some women experience hair loss during their pregnancy, while many women experience it after they deliver the baby. Just as pregnancy acne is something to just deal with, pregnancy hair loss is also temporary. Natural birth is a stressful event for the body; this is why hair loss can be sometimes a direct consequence.
What to do: Have patience. The good news is that this condition is reversible naturally. In a few months after you gave birth, your hair will grow again normally.
2. Female-Pattern Hair Loss
Androgenic or androgenetic alopecia is the female version of male pattern baldness, albeit rare. If you come from a family where women experienced hair loss at a certain age, you are probably going to experience it as well. While women do not have a receding hairline as men do, they do go through hair thinning and breaking.
What to do: In case you did not know, Rogaine works great for women and specialists recommend this over-the-counter treatment to women suffering from this condition.
3. Female Hormones
As it is the case with pregnancy, all hormonal changes in women may lead to some hair problems. Among the most frequent reasons for hair loss in women, we can list: switching or going off birth control pills, menopause, ovary and breast health issues, and more.
What to do: One of the first steps you need to consider is talking to your doctor about oral contraceptives, family history, and so on.
4. Hair Styling Abuse
This is not one of the unexpected reasons for female hair loss, but it is still one of the most common, so it is worth a mention on this list. Women use plenty of styling products, chemicals, oils, and hairdos, which, in time, lead to hair loss. Specialists say that some of the most common causes of female hair loss are:
- tight braids, hair weaves or cornrows
- chemicals to straighten curly hair
- hot-oil treatments, harsh chemicals, hair dyes or high heat
The problem with over-styling is that many such hair styling products and practices damage the hair roots – meaning that your hair might not grow back at all.
What to do: Make sure you properly treat colored hair; use deep conditioning techniques to strengthen your hair and make it more resilient to physical damage; use an anti-hair loss shampoo to minimize the damages.
Top Unexpected Reasons for Hair Loss in Men
Men expect to lose hair at some point in life. According to experts, 2 out of 3 men experience hair loss by the age of 60. Most of the time, the cause is male pattern baldness. However, there are more unexpected reasons for hair loss in men and we will discuss them one by one.
1. Anabolic Steroids
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the use of anabolic steroids can quickly lead to hair loss. Steroids heavily disrupt your normal hormonal functions and you may experience plenty of other health issues besides hair loss.
What to do: No matter how much you want to reach your athletic goals, the use of anabolic steroids equals shooting yourself in the leg. You may build some muscle, but you will certainly damage your health, sometimes with irreversible consequences.
2. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs
The unholy triad describing the lifestyle of many modern young men is a cause of concern on a global level. The chemicals and carcinogens found in tobacco slow down hair growth, which in turn leads to thinning hair and can result in significant hair loss if not addressed. Recreational alcohol and drug use also can cause hair loss because they can be a shock to the system. Alcohol and drug use usually come together with nutrient depletion and internal organs’ malfunctions, which means that temporary or permanent hair loss is a very probable side effect.
What to do: Try to quit smoking and limit the amount of recreational alcohol and drugs you use. Back your health and system with the introduction of as many superfoods as you can in your diet and lifestyle.
Gender-Independent Unexpected Reasons for Hair Loss
If you wonder what causes your hair to fall out despite the fact that you do not recognize yourself in any of the scenarios described above, you will find some of the answers below. There are plenty of causes of hair loss, which are independent of gender.
1. Too Much Vitamin A
We all know vitamin A is great for our hair and skin. In fact, Vitamin A is an immune-system booster and one of the most praised vitamins for hair growth. However, abusing vitamin A can lead to a reverse effect: it can lead to hair loss. The American Academy of Dermatology says that overdoing vitamin A-containing supplements or medications can trigger hair loss in both men and women.
What to do: Talk to your doctor and make sure your vitamin A levels are in balance. If you want to boost your hair and skin health, try adding a handful of good foods for hair and skin instead of medication or supplements.
2. Lack of Protein
You may be on a diet, but are you giving your body the proteins it needs to survive and stay healthy? If you do not give your body enough proteins, it will begin to shut down hair growth and use the proteins it stored for other more important functions. In the case of a protein sudden drop, you will start losing hair in about two to three months.
What to do: If you want to lose some weight and give your body a balanced intake of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients, check out our 12 healthy weight loss recipes for an easy diet.
Unexpected? Not so much. Important? Extremely. The disease of the century, stress causes so much more than hair loss. However, emotional stress is one of the major reasons for hair loss in both men and women, no matter their age. The mechanisms of stress are rather complicated. They exacerbate what is already there or they can trigger the body to show paradoxical reactions or over the top ones.
What to do: Unfortunately, there is no direct medical correlation to link the elimination of stress with hair regrowth. Of course, there is a logical link, but science has still plenty to find out. What you can do to alleviate stress and protect your entire body and health system, not just your hair, is to make some lifestyle changes. Among the nine reasons why you should start practicing yoga, physical and emotional stress relief is the major one.
4. Dramatic Weight Loss
The problem with harsh diets is that you put your body through tremendous physical stress and trauma – not to mention you rob it of some essential nutrients it needs to survive. Dramatic weight loss in both men and women can lead to hair loss because of the nutrients deficiencies you entertain.
Moreover, dramatic weight loss associated with hair loss may be a sign of an eating disorder, like anorexia or bulimia. Besides the physical shock of losing many pounds in a very short period, your body will also try to reroute its resources to organ functioning, putting hair growth on the bench. When your body needs to handle anemia or vitamin B depletion, your hair growth will be the last thing on the priorities’ list.
What to do: Instead of following an extreme diet (which will probably have a rebound effect anyway), try to change your lifestyle completely. Here are our top picks of healthy dietary plans to lose only your weight, not your health as well.
5. Antidepressants, blood thinners, and other Medication
When you are on a certain medical treatment plan, your doctor warns you about the most common medication side effects, especially if they disturb other organs’ functions. However, few remember to mention that the use of some medications can lead to hair loss as well.
Blood thinners and blood-pressure drugs known as beta-blockers can promote hair thinning and loss. Methotrexate (used to treat rheumatic conditions), lithium (for bipolar disorder), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, and some antidepressants are also included among the major chemical reasons for hair loss.
What to do: Talk to your doctor about your hair loss and its correlation with some medicine you take. Your doctor may switch to another medicine or lower the dose. Since you cannot give up the medicine, you can still strengthen and protect your hair as a backup plan. Here is what we have found about avocado oil for hair care and intensive treatments.
Picking up our brushes
As you can see, the major reasons for hair loss are a mix of heredity, environmental factors, health issues, and lifestyle choices. If you are interested in more information about what causes hair to fall out and what you can do to prevent it, leave us a comment in the section below!