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Hair Loss: Causes and Treatments

Alopecia is characterised by permanent hair loss. Losing 100 hairs per day is considered normal. But if the amount exceeds this number, then we are talking about abnormal loss, caused by a disease, drug treatment or other factors.

This disorder can affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. A multitude of different causes can lead to hair loss on the head or loss of facial hair. Among these causes, some are more common than others.

Summary


  1. What Are the Most Common Causes of Hair Loss?
  2. What Are the Different Types of Hair Loss?
  3. What Is an Alopecia?
  4. What Are the Signs of Hair Loss?
  5. What Are the Current Hair Loss Treatments?
  6. How Can I Prevent Hair Loss?
  7. Facing Hair Loss: Don’t Underestimate Your Emotional Well-Being

What Are the Most Common Causes of Hair Loss?


Hair loss is usually caused by one or more of these reasons:

  • Thyroid problems: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can lead to hair fall. At first, the hair looks dull, and becomes brittle and fragile. Hair loss is diffuse and persists until the disease is treated with medication.
  • Autoimmune diseases: If the scalp itches and bald patches, initially small and then larger, form on the scalp area, it could be an autoimmune disease, alopecia areata.
  • Hereditary reasons: If there is a family history of hair loss with age (androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness, and female-pattern baldness) this may occur gradually in predictable patterns as you get older.
  • Cancer treatment: Chemotherapy and radiotherapy damage hair follicles all over the body. Once the cancer is fought and the treatment is over, the hair can grow back.
  • Medications: Hair loss often occurs months after treatment, which is why it is often not associated with the medication. Once the pharmaceutical product has left the body, hair usually grows back.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Hair follicles need vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. A poor diet leads to dull hair and also hair loss. Treatment is possible by modifying the diet.
  • Hormones: Hair is highly affected by a variety of hormones and hormonal changes can have a huge impact. 
  • Stress: Stress alters the body’s hormonal balance. Significant and prolonged stress can lead to alopecia. Autogenic training and other stress reduction methods can help encourage the hair to grow back.

What illness causes hair loss?

There are certain illnesses not already listed where hair loss can be a symptom or side effect. This includes lupus, syphilis, and tinea capitis (fungal infection of the scalp). Some hair loss is temporary, but always seek medical advice to diagnose your condition properly before seeking treatment.

What Are the Different Types of Hair Loss?


Hair loss can affect both men and women. Here we list the most common types of hair loss, causes and symptoms.

What Is an Alopecia?


Alopecia is permanent hair loss or balding. There are many different types of alopecia including alopecia areata, traction alopecia, alopecia totalis, alopecia universalis, alopecia barbae, cicatricial alopecia and frontal fibrosing alopecia. Each type has different characteristics and not all should be treated in the same way. The most common types are:

  • Androgenetic alopecia: caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors and is suitable for a hair transplant.
  • Alopecia areata: causing hair loss in small, round patches on the scalp, eyebrows and other parts of the body, it is an autoimmune disorder and generally not recommended for a hair transplant.
  • Traction alopecia: caused by tight hairstyles, use of tight wigs, weaves or hair extensions and suitable for a hair transplant using the DHI technique. Find out more about the types of alopecia here.

Female pattern baldness

Female pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss in women.  It can cause hair to gradually thin along the parting and crown with various levels of severity. 

Age, hormone levels and family history, some medications and heavy periods can all be reasons why female pattern baldness occurs. There are different stages and treatments available, and a hair transplant is considered a potential option. Find out more about different types of female hair loss, diagnosis and treatments in our guide.

Male pattern baldness

Male pattern baldness is hereditary and specifically impacts males and people assigned male at birth. There are many factors that cause male pattern baldness including hormones, genetics and age.

Diagnosis of male pattern baldness involves your GP or specialist finding the cause of hair loss, ruling out factors such as mental health, autoimmune conditions or diet as a factor.

This type of hair loss begins at the temples and progresses to the crown and middle of the scalp. It only affects the follicles at the front and top of the scalp, usually leaving hair at the back of the head and sides of the head unaffected. 

Can it be stopped?

Want to know how to stop male pattern baldness? DHT blockers such as Finasteride are considered a potential option alongside ensuring you have a healthy diet, manage stress and avoid smoking.

Minoxidil is a more common treatment, or for a solution with lasting results, hair transplants for male pattern baldness are increasingly popular. If you’re worried about male pattern baldness, always gain diagnosis from a medical professional and find out about your treatment options.

Telogen effluvium

This type of hair loss is sudden and caused by stress, illness, hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiency. It’s often temporary and usually treated with topical solutions.

What Are the Signs of Hair Loss?


image of the Hamilton Norwood scale

There are many signs of hair loss whether temporary or permanent, and it usually begins with gradual thinning on the top of the head. Permanent hair loss (alopecia) can result in baldness due to excessive hair loss from your scalp.

For women, this is typically seen with the broadening of the hair parting, or a receding hairline. For men, a receding hairline is one of the first signs of hair loss. 

Other signs of hair loss may include patchy bald spots, and some may see circular areas of balding on their scalp, eyebrows or beard.

Sudden loosening of hair is another common sign of hair loss. This can be linked to a physical or emotional shock where handfuls of hair fall when washing or combing the hair. 

Full body hair loss (often caused by medical treatments such as chemotherapy), can mean hair is lost in all areas of the body. 

What Are the Current Hair Loss Treatments?


Treatment for hair loss will vary depending on the cause of hair loss. Some types of hair loss are temporary and require no treatment, others may need lifestyle changes, or medication, or a more permanent solution such as a hair transplant.

Medications for hair loss

  • Minoxidil: is the number one treatment for hair loss. Minoxidil is a medication for high blood pressure that has the side effect of stabilising hair fall. However, stopping the treatment will stop all the benefits of minoxidil.
  • Finasteride: is also a common medication used to halter baldness issues. The active ingredient promotes new hair growth as long as it is used. However, many patients experience side effects such as psychological and/or sexual disorders. Because it can cause birth defects, it is not prescribed to women.
  • PRP therapy: is useful in cases of poor circulation and lack of essential substances. For this, blood is drawn from you and enriched with nutrients by passing it through a centrifuge. The preparation is then injected directly onto your scalp and feeds the weakened hair follicles with essential vitamins and minerals.

Hair care

Hair care products may be helpful for hair loss. Prioritise shampoos and conditioners that are based on ingredients specifically designed to protect the scalp.

Regular scalp massages (with or without accessories) complement the effectiveness of treatments. Take a look at the specialist hair care products in our online shop to find a targeted solution to best suit your needs.

Hair transplants

Since the late 1990s, there has been progress in the development of medical treatments for male or female pattern baldness. Current methods are being adapted to best suit the patient's condition. In some cases of hair loss, hair density is permanently lost in part or all of the head.

In these cases, a hair transplant is the only option left, if all the criteria are met. Here at Elithair, we offer hair transplants for a range of hair loss conditions. From FUE to DHI transplants, our specialists will analyse your specific needs and provide you with the best option for you.

How Can I Prevent Hair Loss?


There are a number of things you can do to help protect your hair health:

  • Choose hairstyles that are gentle on your hair roots and be gentle when detangling to prevent pulling out hair.
  • Protect your hair from sun damage.
  • Avoid using hair products that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol.
  • Make sure you get enough exercise and are eating a healthy diet.
  • Explore techniques to lower your stress levels and avoid continuous stress that becomes a major risk to the good balance of hair growth.
  • Avoid smoking - as smokers suffer from hair loss more frequently than non-smokers. Nicotine contains many toxic substances that hinder blood circulation and lead to undersupply of hair follicles.

If you are concerned about hair loss, talk to your doctor or a hair specialist. They can help you identify its cause and recommend treatment options.

Facing Hair Loss: Don’t Underestimate Your Emotional Well-Being


Hair loss can be a difficult experience to live through. There are several ways to cope and to counter the emotional suffering it causes. Talk to someone you trust about your feelings.

Get informed in detail, because the more you know, the less power alopecia will have over your quality of life. Focus on the things that influence you positively. In support groups and online forums, you can share your experience anonymously or exchange information.

Support groups

To regain your self-esteem, therapy can also be helpful and necessary if your hair loss leads to depression. Here are a selection of support groups:

  • Alopecia UK is a national charity that offers support groups for people with alopecia. These groups are specifically for people with alopecia areata, that causes round, bald patches to appear on the scalp.
  • Hair Loss Experiences forum specialised for people with hair loss.

Hair loss can be a challenging experience, but there are resources available to help you cope. By talking to someone you trust, getting informed, and focusing on the positive, you can start to feel better about your alopecia.

Other questions on this subject or do you want more information about our services? Contact one of our experts to start your free and non-binding hair assessment.

FAQ

What are the different stages of male pattern baldness?

Male pattern baldness is commonly classified using the Norwood scale, which ranges from stage 1 (no significant hair loss) to stage 7 (severe hair loss with only a band of hair remaining around the sides and back of the scalp). At Elithair we use our own variant of the Norwood scale, called Elit Skala. It has been developped in order to take more specific hair types into account.

What are the different stages of female pattern baldness?

Female pattern baldness is often classified using the Ludwig scale, which ranges from stage 1 (thinning on the top of the head) to stage 3 (extensive thinning with a bald spot at the crown). Similar to male pattern baldness, we also adapted this to our own hair loss scale for women thanks to the Elit Skala.

How quickly can hair loss progress through these stages?

The progression of hair loss varies widely among individuals and can depend on factors like genetics, health, and lifestyle. It can take several years or even decades for hair loss to progress through all stages.

Can treatments like Minoxidil or Finasteride stop the progression of hair loss at any stage?

Yes, treatments like Minoxidil and Finasteride can help slow down or even halt the progression of hair loss if used consistently and started early in the hair loss process. Unlike hair surgery, those treatments are not permanent and hair will start falling again if those are stopped.

Are there specific signs to look for that indicate a transition from one stage to the next?

Signs include increased thinning or shedding, noticeable changes in hairline shape, the appearance of bald spots, and overall reduced hair density.

Can lifestyle changes impact the progression of hair loss through these stages?

Yes, maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress, avoiding smoking, and using gentle hair care practices can positively influence hair health and potentially slow the progression of hair loss.