Why does my hair fall out?
In both men and women, your head is normally covered in approximately 100,000 hairs at any one time. These hairs go through their own life cycle of growth, resting and then shedding. The life cycle of hairs lasts years, though the exact length of time depends on the individual – it can last anywhere between 2-6 years.
Part of the hair growth cycle makes your hair fall out, however, there are other reasons for your hair loss. If you discover that your hair is falling out and it isn’t caused by the natural telogen stage then you need to address the cause.
- Is it normal for hair to fall out?
- What causes our hair to fall out?
- Can you stop hair loss?
Is it normal for hair to fall out?
We all lose hair every day, in fact, we lose between 50 and 100. In the autumn this number can double as this is the “shedding season”.
Although this may seem like a lot, your hair growth cycle restarts and new hairs grow from where they fell. The hair growth cycle is comprised of three parts:
- Anagen: corresponding the growth phase
- Catagen: the transitional phase between anagen and telogen
- Telogen: the resting or shedding phase
In both men and women, there are instances where you see more hair fall out than hair growing. When hairs continue to fall but don’t grow back this leads to hair thinning. This can eventually make areas of the scalp more visible and bald patches may occur.
Am I losing too much hair?
Excessive hair fall can appear as more strands than usual fall out while brushing. Alternatively, you may notice that a lot of hair is collecting in the drain after you shower.
Of course, some hair fall is normal but if you see a huge increase in the number of strands coming out then try a pull test.
A pull test can be performed by yourself, however, if you see a hair specialist they will also do this to access what is causing your hair to fall out.
What causes our hair to fall out?
- Traction Alopecia
Tight hairstyles (like braids, high ponytails and cornrows) cause traction alopecia from the tension put on the hair roots. The stress that’s put on the hair, damages the hair follicle. Persistent damage to the hair follicle causes it to diminish, therefore no new healthy hair strands are formed.
- Hot styling tools
Applying frequent and excessive heat to your hair is likely to cause it to fall out. Heat weakens the hair shaft resulting in frizzy hair and split ends. Damaged hair is prone to breakage because it is so dry instead of moisturised. Additionally, when your hair becomes frizzy from heat damage many of us use heat to combat the frizz.
- Chemical dyes
Dyeing your hair, especially bleaching, is incredibly damaging to your hair. When hair is overprocessed, it tends to break at various lengths depending on where it has become the weakest. Moreover, chemicals damage the hair shaft which causes the hair to lose its elasticity. Therefore, when your hair starts breaking like this it’s one of the common causes of hair thinning.
- The weather
The weather can also make your hair fall out. The weather can cause a lot of damage to your hair, especially the sun. The sun can not only fade your hair colour but also dry out the strands, resulting in dry and brittle hair. Season changes also trigger your hair to go into the telogen phase, specifically in Autumn. Therefore you will see your hair fall out more during the Autumn months.
- A medical condition
The majority of hair loss issues is caused by genetics or medical conditions. Hair loss due to genetics typically presents itself as male or female pattern baldness. Whereas hair shedding caused by a medical condition occasionally occurs as alopecia areata.
- Pregnancy and the menopause
Pregnancy, childbirth and the menopause can all make some of your hair fall out. This is mainly due to hormone changes, especially post-pregnancy. Additionally, the stress of childbirth can cause telogen effluvium resulting in excessive hair shedding.
- The contraceptive pill
Hormones play a huge role when it comes to hair loss, they are one of the biggest contributing factors. Hence why it’s no surprise that birth control pills can make your hair fall out. The hormones push your hair into the shedding stage, resulting in excessive hair fall.
Can you stop hair loss?
It’s important to know the methods to slow down hair loss for both men and women. Improving your diet, taking vitamin supplements, enhancing your hair care routine and also certain medications help to stop your hair from falling out. Here are some of the best ways to prevent hair fall:
A Mediterranean diet (rich in fresh herbs and raw vegetables) slows the onset of male and female pattern hair loss. Parsley, basil and salad greens (when consumed in high amounts) are also beneficial when delaying hair fall. Furthermore, a diet that’s rich in protein is beneficial to improve hair health. Hair follicles are made from protein that’s converted into keratin. Therefore, improving the amount of protein in your body helps to ensure a good supply to be converted into keratin.
Vitamin supplements including vitamin A, B, C, and D, as well as iron, zinc and biotin are important for hair growth. Vitamin D is specifically linked to promoting hair growth so ensuring that you are getting enough is recommended. Additionally, biotin is an essential part of the hair growth cycle as it’s involved in fatty acid synthesis.
- Hair care
Washing your hair removes the build-up of dead cells and product residue. If these things are left on the scalp they clog hair follicles and prevent hairs from growing properly. Using nourishing oils as part of your hair care routine helps to stop losing your hair. Coconut oil and olive oil make excellent hair treatments to improve the condition of your hair.
- Medical intervention
If your hair fall is excessive and natural remedies won’t reverse it then a hair transplant is the best solution. It’s the only long term cure for hair shedding because the hairs that are implanted into the bald areas are resistant to DHT. Therefore, you can enjoy thick hair by only going through one treatment.
Minoxidil and finasteride are ideal treatments for hair loss however you should be aware of their side effects. Topical minoxidil can cause facial hair growth, facial swelling, a burning scalp sensation, and acne among other things. Finasteride Propecia can cause impotence, a decrease in libido, erectile dysfunction, dizziness and swelling.
Understanding the reason that’s making your hair fall out is the first step towards reversing the issue. There are many types of hair loss, but paying close attention to your hair will help you to identify the cause. Several steps you can take towards prolonging the life cycle, improving the thickness, and resistance against hair fall.
These things are highly beneficial to enhance your hair health, however, in some cases, your hair loss may be too severe to reverse naturally. In this case, a hair transplant is the best solution as it’s a long-lasting one-time solution.