8 Underlying Causes of Hair Thinning and Hair Loss

Causes of Hair Thinning

It is quite common to find strands of hair on your hairbrush while combing, on the bathroom floor during a shower or on your pillowcase. On an average, both men and women end up losing 50-100 strands of hair, which is considered to be normal. But when the count is more and you end up with a thin layer of hair or hair loss, it is time to take charge and do something.

Before everything else, you must understand the underlying causes of hair thinning and hair loss. Let’s take a look at some of them.

1. Genetics:

Androgenetic Alopecia is perhaps the most common type of hair loss. Also called Male Pattern Baldness, it is not a disease but rather, a condition triggered by genetics, hormones and the aging process. It occurs more commonly in men, beginning in their 20s and 30s. In this condition, the hair growth cycle changes and results in hair loss in certain parts of the scalp. For instance, men will tend to lose hair around their temples and crown in an M-shaped pattern. When the condition is in an advanced stage, the hair remains in a rim along the side and the back of the scalp.

2. Telogen Effluvium:

Telogen Effluvium is the excessive shedding of the hair experienced by women. More often than not, this condition takes when their body undergoes physical or psychological stress owing to:

  • Major surgery
  • Childbirth
  • High fever
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Influenza
  • Anemia
  • Certain medicines

3. Thyroid Issues:

Imbalance in hormones such as Thyroid can also trigger hair loss. Owing to excessive secretion of the thyroid hormone, the hair may become fine and starts thinning.

On the other hand, deficiency of the same hormone can lead to hair loss not just on your scalp, but on other parts of the body.

Determined by blood tests, the condition can be controlled by medications. With your hormone levels back to normal, hair loss and thinning can be controlled to an extent.

Here are some tell-tale signs of Thyroid imbalance:

  • Mood swings such as anxiousness, nervousness and irritability
  • Unable to cope up with either hot or cold temperatures
  • Sudden loss or gain of weight
  • Dry hair and/or skin
  • Insomnia (lack of sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleep)
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pain and weakness

4. Dandruff:

A clean scalp is the key to healthy hair. But an oily scalp with too much of product buildup, dirt, dust and debris etc. invites hair trouble.

For instance, you may end up having fungus on your scalp, psoriasis, dry scalp or dandruff, which will all have an adverse effect on your hair.

Seborrheic Dermatitis or Dandruff in particular, leads to irritability and white flakes all over the scalp. This occurs due to excessive oil produced by the sebum glands. Although dandruff directly doesn’t cause hair loss or hair fall, but the excessive itching that often accompanies it, makes people scratch their scalps, leading to hair fall.

5. Alopecia Areata:

An autoimmune skin disease that leads to hair loss not only on the scalp but, elsewhere on the body is Alopecia Areata.

In the initial stages, there are small patches initially on the scalp but then, it results in total loss of hair all over the body and scalp over a period of time. This is because the hair follicles become tiny and as a result, there is no visible hair on the scalp or anywhere else on the body.

The condition is then called Alopecia Totalis.

6. Lupus:

A chronic disease, Lupus makes the body’s own immune system attach the healthy tissues. This condition affects each individual in a unique way and the symptoms range from mild to severe. Characterized by fatigue, oral ulcers, painful joints, sensitivity to the sun, chest pain, swellings in some body parts, fever, chest pain etc., Lupus also leads to hair loss. It can range from mild to severe and maybe accompanied by scalp rashes. However, you need to confirm whether you have this disease or not because the symptoms are common to many other diseases.

7. Improper Hair Care:

Perhaps the most common of all causes, improper hair care also leads to hair loss and thinning. Some of the ways you are unknowingly damaging your hair by not taking care of your hair are via:

  • Frequent styling treatments – Bleaching, perming, rebonding are some of the common styling treatments that can cause potential harm to your hair, if done frequently. The chemicals used in these treatments can strain the hair and cause immense damage.

  • Frequent use of hot tools – Hot tools used for styling purposes also lead to hair damage. This includes the frequent use of heating tools curling iron, straightening iron, blow dryers etc. These literally burn your hair and although you do get amazing hair for the time being, the damage can be permanent. This leaves you with no other option but to chop them off.

  • Frequent use of hair products – Harsh chemicals are perennial enemies for the hair. Shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays, serums and mousse are some of the products that when used in excessive amounts or too frequently, can lead to hair damage. The same goes for dying and coloring the hair with different hair colors.

Other than these, opting for tight hairstyles, rubbing your hair vigorously with a towel, using the wrong brush or brushing hair soon after a shower will all lead to hair fall, hair loss and thinning.

8. Not eating healthy:

Unhealthy eating habits such as fad or crash dieting can also lead to nutritional deficiency. This will lead your body to send nutrients to vital organs and shut down the supply for your hair. This will eventually lead to hair loss. Therefore, you need to opt for a healthy diet consisting of iron, protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Take a look at this list of food you can include in your diet for healthy hair.

Do you identify with these symptoms and causes? Have more points that can be added to the list? Share your views with us via your comments.