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Why is my hair falling out?

Hair loss. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, it can be devastating to one’s confidence. While extremely prevalent amongst men approaching middle age, it can affect anyone at any age regardless of sex.

In a world where looks are an important attribute for getting ahead in life, it can be greatly demoralising for those who suffer from the condition at early ages, especially for women.

But what causes hair loss? And if you do lose your hair, can it be reversed?

In this blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at the causes behind hair loss.

Reality check

First, it’s important to make clear that shedding hair is an everyday part of life. The average person can lose between 50-100 hairs per day through normal daily rituals. From brushing and washing, to idly running your finger through it, it is impossible to totally prevent shedding.

Of course, when you wake up each day to see a mountain of hairs on your pillow it’s easy to get worried and think ‘why is my hair falling out?’. Just remember, excessive shedding and hair loss is much more common that many people realise for both men and women.

While there are a great number of medical reasons for hair loss, environmental causes are also extremely common for short-term symptoms. The following is a list of the most common causes of accelerated hair loss and shedding.

Stress

For many people of working age, the world never stops moving. In a digital age, you’re always connected to work, friends, family and others – and as a result it’s much harder to separate yourself from the stresses of life than it was 30 years ago. But why does stress cause you to shed hair?

Hair loss through stress is referred to as telogen effluvium and can last up to six months after the trauma that caused it. The shedding comes as a result of the life cycle of a hair and its follicle being interrupted by unexpected stimuli preventing the hair itself from remaining in a ‘rest’ phase and skipping directly to moulting.

These stimuli can be wide and varied depending on the individual, for example the death of a loved one, or becoming burnt out due to work-life. Luckily, once the stimulus is removed, hair will begin to grow back in most cases, so you can stop wondering about ‘why is my hair falling out?’.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the release of hormones and the baby relying on the mother for nutrients can put a tremendous strain on the body and as the growth of hair is strongly reliant on hormones, it’s little wonder that the anxiety endured can lead to temporary hair loss. For many women, the thinning of hair actually occurs after the baby is born, as the body struggles to re-acclimatise to the lower oestrogen levels that the body held prior to pregnancy.

Nutrition

Your hair responds just as easily to diet as your body-fat ratio, and eating foods that do not contain the necessary nutrients for strong hair growth can often lead to excessive shedding. If your diet fails to contain enough biotin, iron, protein and zinc then your hair follicles fail to absorb the essential vitamins and amino acids needed for strong healthy hair.

Pollutants

With reports of premature hair-loss and shedding occurring in urban areas on the up this can also be a trigger of hair loss. In bigger cities, the air we breathe and water we drink contain a much higher concentration of unwanted chemicals, metals and minerals than areas that are more rural. Thanks to new formulaic trends in cosmetics that can’t be removed through traditional water cleansing systems, unnatural chemical additions often find their way back into our diet causing a shift in hormonal balance.

Similar to the way that scientists believe the reduction in testosterone levels in men is caused by higher oestrogen levels in our food and water, the same chemical polluting effect can have a great influence on the health of hair follicles. For those who are worried, there are simple steps you can take to avoid such influxes such as water filters, as well as visiting retailers who specialise in vegetation and meat sourced from responsible farmers who are located in low pollutant areas.

Medication

As mentioned previously, the things you absorb into your system can heavily affect the health of your hair – so it should serve as no surprise to learn that medicine can do exactly the same thing. With millions of products on the market available straight off the shelves or through prescription that mention hair loss as a possible side-effect, you shouldn’t be surprised if you notice changes within a limited timeframe of starting a new medication.

Alopecia

While many people associate alopecia with those who lose all of their body hair in a short span of time, the condition is both varied in severity, and incredible common. Male pattern baldness for instance is a form of androgenetic alopecia, and is exactly the same as the condition suffered by women – the difference is that most of the time a man’s hairline will recede, whereas a woman will notice a widening in the parting of their hair.

Alopecia itself in women can be the result of an auto-immune disorder, whereby the body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells – however a true cause has yet to be formally discovered.

It is also important to take note that pattern baldness and alopecia-related hair loss can be strongly influenced by your family’s genes and that sadly, there are occasions where nothing can be done – at least not in the present.

Luckily, treatments improve every year, and as a result many in the cosmetics industry believe a cure for alopecia is right around the corner. Presently, there are several treatments available including hair replacement surgery, minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride which have all been proven to aid the patient in some way.

Hyperthyroidism

As the name suggests, hyperthyroidism is the result of an overactive thyroid gland producing too much of the hormone thyroid. The hormone itself is very important in deciding how both oxygen and energy is used within the body, and greatly affects the growth rate of hair, nails, and skin. Consequently, an imbalance caused by too much thyroid can lead to a number of health complaints, including hair loss – so you may be concerned and wonder ‘why is my hair falling out?’

Hyperthyroidism as a condition is much rarer in men than in women, and can lead to a number of medical conditions such as muscle weakness, weight loss or gain and heart palpitations. The condition itself can be controlled through the use of medication, so if you’re worried you may be one of the affected ensure that you ask your GP at your next appointment for a simple test.

You’re simply getting old

For men, hair loss at an older age is relatively unavoidable and a part of life. Luckily, most men have lost interest in rolling back the years by the time it affects them and society is quite accepting of that perspective. For women however, it can be a lot more emotionally damaging.

While the majority of women do not begin to lose their hair until very late in life, an eventual thinning is practically unavoidable.

A cure for hair loss is still being researched and progress is slowly being made.

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We always recommend speaking to your doctor first if you notice hair loss however if you require additional support, why not book a free initial consultation by contacting us today.

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