Five Common Causes of Hair Loss (And What to Do About It)

Hair growth occurs in cycles and varies by individual. Most people lose 50-100 hair per day, and the hair that is lost is replaced by new hair growth. Typically, hair grows approximately ½ inch per month and the average individual has approximately 100,000 hairs in their scalp.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “The most common cause of hair loss is a medical condition called hereditary hair loss. About 80 million men and women in the United States have this type of hair loss. Other names for this type of hair loss are: male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia.”

What is androgenetic alopecia and what can I do about it?

More commonly called referred to as “balding,” in men, men may experience this phenomenon as early as late teenage years or in their early 20s. Women may typically notice thinning of their hair due to hormonal changes in pregnancy and later on during menopause.

Both conditions are genetic and if there is a family history on either side of the family, your risk for this condition increases.

If you are concerned about your hair loss, see a dermatologist or specialist to rule out any underlying medical condition. If the hair loss is not due to a medical condition, you may seek cosmetic surgery or cosmetic enhancements to mitigate the appearance of balding or thinning.

Other causes of hair loss:

Cicatricial (scarring) alopecia

Cicatricial alopecia is caused by inflammation and damage to the hair follicle which prevents new hairs from growing. The cause of the inflammation is not known but this condition is inherent in a number of skin conditions, including lupus erythematosus or lichen planus.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease of unknown origins. Since a family history of this condition increases your chances of developing it, doctors suspect that it may be hereditary and some people may be predisposed to develop it.

Luckily, your hair usually grows back, but you may lose and regrow it a number of times.

Telogen effluvium

Stories you hear about people losing their hair suddenly due to shock, grief or illness may be true. Telogen effluvium hair loss occurs after a severe physical or emotional trauma and causes the roots of the hair to go into a resting phase, while the affected hairs fall out. This is a temporary condition and new hair follicles will begin to grow within a month or two.

Causes of Telogen effluvium include: emotional distress, death of a loved one, physiological stress, such as a high fever, sudden or excessive weight loss, extreme diets, nutritional deficiencies, surgery, or metabolic disturbances.

Traction alopecia

Too many cornrows or tight braids that pull the hair too tightly may cause traction alopecia. If the hairstyle is relaxed before scarring or permanent damage to the root occurs, the hair will usually grow back.