In today’s society, hair loss is a common concern that affects people worldwide. With its rampant cases, it is vital to discover the common hair loss causes. That way, individuals can regain knowledge of why it occurs and understand if it is an avoidable situation.

For today’s blog, we’ll uncover these aspects of this hair condition. Whether you aim to manage these hair loss causes and tackle the issue head-on or are interested in this topic, this comprehensive guide can help. Let’s begin!

Anatomy of Hair and Hair Growth

anatomy of hair

Hair is composed of a protein called keratin, produced in the hair follicles in our scalp. Each hair follicle has its life cycle and undergoes continuous growth and shedding. The hair shaft, the visible part of the hair, is essentially made up of dead cells. In other words, the hair shaft is akin to a protective sheath that surrounds the actively growing hair strand beneath the scalp.

Underneath the scalp, the hair follicle consists of several distinct layers:

  • Dermal papilla: responsible for providing nourishment to the hair follicle with blood supply and oxygen.
  • Hair matrix: located at the base of the hair follicle, contains cells that divide and differentiate, leading to hair growth.
  • Sebaceous gland: produces sebum, a natural oil that moisturizes the scalp and hair.
  • Arrector pili muscle: when contracted, causes the hair to stand upright, creating the phenomenon known as “goosebumps.”

The Hair Growth Cycle Explained

The hair growth cycle is a complex process divided into three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Understanding these phases is vital in comprehending hair loss and the factors that contribute to it.

During the anagen phase or active growth phase, the cells in the hair matrix divide rapidly, lengthening the hair shaft. This phase typically lasts about two to seven years, and hair can grow up to half an inch per month.

The catagen phase follows the anagen phase and lasts for around two weeks. During this time, the hair follicle shrinks, and the hair growth slows down. The catagen phase is a transitional phase between active growth and hair shedding.

Lastly, the telogen phase occurs when the hair follicle becomes inactive, and the hair is no longer growing. After several weeks or months, the hair shaft is shed, and a new hair strand grows. This phase usually lasts for three to four months before the cycle restarts.

However, when an individual suffers from severe hair loss, the growth cycle can get disrupted. Most of the time cases occur where the hair follicle becomes damaged, which might also result in loss of hair. There can be other reasons why an individual can experience hair loss, like the effect of hair products, conditions like female pattern baldness or male pattern baldness, etc. If unexplained hair loss happens, it’s best to seek immediate help from a health expert.

Common Hair Loss Causes

hair loss causes - male pattern baldness

While disruption of the natural process of hair growth can result in hair loss, other factors can lead to this outcome. Let’s explore the different hair loss causes below!

Genetic Factors and Hair Loss

For many individuals, their cases of hair loss involve genetics. The most well-known form of genetic hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. Androgenetic alopecia is more prevalent in men, with approximately 50% experiencing some degree of hair loss by the age of 50. In women, the pattern of hair loss is often different, with diffuse thinning throughout the scalp.

Genetic hair loss occurs due to the sensitivity of hair follicles to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is derived from testosterone and can contribute to hair thinning and miniaturization of the hair follicles over time. Understanding the genetic component of hair loss is crucial in developing effective treatments and prevention strategies.

Hormonal Changes and Hair Loss

Meanwhile, one of the common hair loss causes may also involve hormonal changes. For instance, hormonal imbalances caused by conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders can lead to excessive hair shedding. In PCOS, increased levels of androgens can disrupt the hair growth cycle and cause hair loss. Similarly, an overactive or underactive thyroid can adversely affect hair follicle activity and contribute to hair thinning or receding hairline.

Furthermore, such hair loss causes can also occur during pregnancy and postpartum and trigger temporary hair loss, known as telogen effluvium. During pregnancy, high estrogen levels prolong the anagen phase, resulting in thicker, luscious hair. However, after giving birth, the dramatic decrease in estrogen levels can push more hair into the resting phase, leading to noticeable shedding.

Nutritional Deficiencies and Hair Loss

Another known factor in the hair loss causes list is nutritional deficiencies. The saying “you are what you eat” holds when it comes to hair health. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamin D, can contribute to hair loss. These nutrients are vital in maintaining healthy hair follicles and supporting the hair growth cycle.

Iron deficiency, in particular, can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which has been linked to hair loss. This occurs because iron is essential for producing hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the hair cells. Without sufficient oxygen supply, the hair follicles may become weak and prone to shedding.

Stress and Hair Loss

On the other hand, factors like stress are a common part of life, but prolonged or intense stress can impact our overall well-being, including our hair health. Stress can induce a condition known as telogen effluvium, which disrupts the hair growth cycle and promotes excessive shedding.

During periods of stress, a larger number of hair follicles enter the resting phase, leading to noticeable hair loss after a few months. Additionally, stress can result in bald spots as it can trigger trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder, and exacerbate existing cases of alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss.

Medical Conditions

Aside from the mentioned hair loss causes, various medical conditions can also lead to loss of hair. It is essential to identify and address these underlying conditions to manage and potentially reverse hair loss effectively.

woman suffering from thyroid condition develops hair loss

Thyroid Disorders and Hair Loss

As mentioned earlier, thyroid condition is one of the common hair loss causes among patients. The thyroid gland plays a vital role in regulating metabolism and hormone levels. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can disrupt the hair growth cycle and lead to hair loss.

In hypothyroidism, the decreased production of thyroid hormones can cause hair follicles to enter the resting phase more frequently, leading to thinning hair. Conversely, in hyperthyroidism, the excessive production of thyroid hormones can accelerate the hair growth cycle, resulting in increased shedding and hair thinning.

Autoimmune Diseases and Hair Loss

When it comes to hair loss, autoimmune disease can also have a huge impact. The immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body, which can also happen in one’s hair. In the case of hair loss, autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can lead to hair loss in localized or widespread patterns.

Alopecia areata is characterized by patchy hair loss, while SLE can cause a condition known as discoid lupus erythematosus, resulting in scarring and permanent hair loss in affected areas. It is essential to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and management of these conditions.

Scalp Infections and Hair Loss

managing hair loss causes with hair transplant

Lastly, scalp infection is also one of the most known hair loss causes. This scalp infection such as ringworm, a fungal infection, can cause hair breakage and patches of alopecia. At the same time, bacterial infections like folliculitis, can lead to inflammation and damage to the hair follicles. Thus, it can result in hair loss.

Additionally, inflammatory conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, characterized by a flaky and itchy scalp, can also impact hair health. Prompt treatment of these scalp infections can prevent further hair loss and promote regrowth.

Managing Hair Loss Causes

Hair loss causes are a mixture of naturally occurring situations and consequences from other factors. That’s why loss of hair has been a common problem that many people face. Despite that, there are certain methods that patients with hair loss can try.

For instance, hair loss causes like PCOS, thyroid, and postpartum conditions have a common denominator, which is hormonal imbalance. In that case, birth control pills and other medications can help patients to regulate their hormones. However, it is best to discuss everything with a health doctor before using such medications to know the correct dosage and frequency of intake.

Meanwhile, management of hair loss causes can also happen through undergoing a procedure like a hair transplant. This medical service is effective for addressing various types of hair loss. It involves harvesting healthy skin from the back of your head and transplanting the group of hairs to the other part of the head. Thus, ensuring a better area for hair growth. If you are interested in this solution, it’s best to visit a doctor to schedule a session.


Understanding the common hair loss causes are vital to taking a step towards taking control of this often distressing condition. Whether it be genetic factors, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, stress, or underlying medical conditions, there are various strategies to address and combat hair loss effectively.

Remember seeking professional advice from healthcare experts like dermatologists is crucial for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment options. So, be proactive in your hair care journey, and let us embark together on the path towards healthier, fuller hair.

Book an online consultation with a dermatologist today!