The truth is, everyone experiences hair shedding occasionally. Most people undergo a “shedding season” once a year. Still, you may be wondering, why is my hair falling out? Read on to discover possible reasons you may be losing hair outside of your shedding season!
Why Is My Hair Falling Out?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s normal for a person to lose between 50 to 100 hairs each day. Additionally, about once a year, a person’s hair goes through a shedding stage where old hairs fall out quickly to make room for younger hairs.
But what happens if you notice your hair shedding faster than average? What if you see clumps of hair in the shower or on your brush?
In that case, an underlying reason is likely inducing excessive hair shedding. In short, the conditions that lead to hair falling out stem from three major categories:
- Medical Conditions
- Excessive Styling
Under each category, we’ve provided reasons why your hair is falling out. Check out the specifics below.
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1. You Have a Deficiency
Plenty of vitamins, minerals and nutritional factors play into hair loss and growth. When your diet consists of lower levels of these nutrients, your hair will suffer. The good news is that you can easily reverse iron-deficiency hair loss.
One study found that iron deficiencies play a role in hair fallout. More so, the same study concluded that the iron hair loss pattern often mimics that of genetic hair loss.
Women are more likely to suffer from iron-related hair loss than men. If you already know you have anemia and happen to be losing hair, try taking iron supplements or implementing iron naturally in your diet.
If a medical professional has never diagnosed you with anemia, but know you have a diet low in iron, go to the doctor to get bloodwork on your iron levels.
Having a diet low in protein leads to hair loss. Hair needs protein to survive since hair consists primarily of keratin. Remember that “shedding” phase we discussed earlier? Well, there are several stages of hair growth.
A diet that doesn’t have enough protein puts hair growth in a prolonged “resting” phase. During the resting phase, hair follicles remain dormant. If the hair remains dormant long enough, you’ll have less hair growth and more loss.
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Another common cause of hair loss is vitamin D deficiency. When your Vitamin D intake is low, your hair thins out and potentially stops growing because vitamin D stimulates new and old hair follicles.
New growth will stunt when there is not enough vitamin D in your body. Additionally, vitamin D deficiencies relate to the development of alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss in patients.
2. Medical Conditions
Speaking of alopecia, it is the first medical condition on this list. The two medical disorders listed after also relate to hair loss. Usually, medical conditions require doctoral treatments.
Alopecia areata causes the body to attack its hair follicles, which leads to hair fall and stunted growth. The word areata means patchy, and alopecia means bald. Essentially, this disorder causes bald patches that can happen anywhere throughout the body, most commonly on the scalp.
Those with the condition live otherwise healthy lives, but it may cause emotional stress. Sometimes, you cannot reverse hair loss from alopecia. Other times, hair follicles respond to treatment. The condition is unpredictable.
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism cause excessive hair fall. The loss usually happens across the whole scalp rather than patches like alopecia. Hair loss due to thyroid disorders happens slowly, so you may not notice hair loss all at once.
If the disorder goes untreated long enough, patients will notice significant hair fall. After a patient receives treatment for the thyroid issue, the hair will likely regrow. However, it may take a while for hair to completely grow back.
Anagen effluvium is a medical term for hair that stops growing. When this happens, your hair will not grow back until you address the cause. Usually, medical staff see anagen effluvium in those who undergo chemotherapy.
Additionally, pregnant women may suffer from hair loss and anagen effluvium after birth. Why? Because of an imbalance in hormones. Sometimes, mental health and stress cause anagen effluvium.
3. Excessive Styling and Damage
Being too rough with your hair will cause damage and breakage. This may happen from using too much hair product, heat or even brushing your hair while wet.
You’re Using Too Much Heat
Excessive styling with heat-oriented devices like blow dryers, flat irons and straightening irons damages hair and can cause hair fall.
You’re Using Too Much Hair Product
Hair products may irritate your scalp and clog your hair follicles. This especially happens with hairsprays and hair gels. Hair follicles need space to breathe to grow. Some hair products are specifically hard on hair that you should avoid. Do your research before introducing new products into your styling routine.
You’re Too Hard on Your Hair
Tight hairstyles like ponytails or braids may cause hair loss since they tend to irritate the scalp. Shampooing too much may damage your hair and strip your scalp of its natural oils.
Additionally, dry-rubbing your hair with a towel or brushing and combing your hair when it’s wet will damage hair strands. Even brushing or combing too hard when your hair is dry will damage your hair follicles and strands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are common questions related to hair loss.
How do I know if I am losing too much hair?
When you experience excessive hair loss, your hair will fall out in clumps. You’ll see more clumps of hair in your brush or shower drain than usual.
Is hair fall preventable?
You cannot always prevent hair fall. Sometimes it’s necessary. Usually, people can control hair loss when the underlying cause involves diet changes or stress-related changes. Take care of your mental health and have a healthy diet to be proactive.
Are there over-the-counter (OTC) medications I can take to treat hair loss?
You can take plenty of supplements to treat hair loss. Medications like Rogaine and Propecia help treat excessive hair fall. Talk to your doctor before taking supplements and OTC medications.
Is my hair loss permanent?
It depends on what causes your hair loss. Sometimes, hair will grow back after you address the underlying condition causing hair fall. Other times, hair follicles will scar, and the hair loss will be permanent. Check with your doctor to know if your hair loss is treatable.
What kind of doctor treats hair loss?
A dermatologist will treat hair loss. They have access to more powerful medications and treatments than you have access to at a drugstore or big box retailer.
So, Why Is My Hair Falling Out?
Overall, your hair may be falling out because it’s your time to shed. Usually, the shedding season happens in the fall or winter months. If you notice hair loss in clumps, you probably have an underlying condition, deficiency or are too rough with your hair.
Luckily, individuals can fix most causes of hair fall with treatment and the right lifestyle changes. As always, check with your doctor before self-diagnosing the cause of your hair fall.