Hair loss is multifactorial, which means it can be caused by a mixture of things. Here are the 10 most common causes of hair loss!

  1. Genetics

Genetics is the most common cause of a hair loss known as androgenic alopecia. It can affect both men and women but may present differently. Women usually notice overall hair thinning and the middle part of hair is widened. Men, on the other hand, experience a receding hairline or bald spot at the top of the head.The right treatment can help stop  or slow hair loss – the earlier treatment is started, the better.


  1. Age

With age, most people notice some hair loss because hair growth slows down over the years. At some point in life, hair follicles stop growing hair, which causes the hair on our scalp to thin. Hair also starts to lose its colour (greying) and the hairline starts to recedes.


  1. Nutritional Deficiencies

Low levels of certain nutrients, such as: Iron, vitamins D, zinc, biotin or protein can lead to hair fall. This can be determined through a blood test or assessing your diet By improving your diet or supplementing, your hair can regrow.

Top tip: Avoid taking supplements to regrow hair without first finding out the cause as high doses of certain vitamins can lead to side effects or may not help at all if it's not nutrition-related.


  1. Alopecia Areata

AA develops when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles (what holds the hair in place). You can lose hair anywhere on your body, including your scalp, inside your nose, eyelashes or eyebrows. If caught early on, certain treatment may help stimulate regrowth.


  1. Childbirth, illness, stress

After giving birth, after a long period of illness or during stressful times you may start to experience hair fall. However this is usually temporary and not 'real' hair loss. If the stress stops, your body will re-adjust and the excessive shedding will stop and hair will return back to its normal state in 6-9 months. A good haircare routine and stimulating the scalp can help you get there faster.


  1. Hairstyles that pull your scalp

Also known as traction alopecia, a tight hairstyle such as ponytails, buns or braids can put stress on the scalp and the continual pulling can lead to permanent hair loss. In some cases, people tend to pull on their scalp when they are stressed (trichotillomania). If you damage a hair follicle, hair cannot grow from that follicle. By making changes to your hair routine early on you can prevent it.


  1. Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalances can alter the levels of DHT, progesterone or oestrogen in your body, all of which can have an effect on your hair. For example, PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) – cysts in a woman’s ovaries. Women who develop a hormonal imbalance can develop thinning hair (or hair loss) on their scalp. Birth control pills along with taking care of the scalp and help.


  1. Scalp conditions

A scalp infection can lead to scaly and sometimes inflamed areas on your scalp (e.g Dermatitis). Once the infection clears, hair tends to grow. Many people who have plaque psoriasis develop psoriasis on their scalp at some point which can also lead to hair loss. Hair tends to regrow once the scalp psoriasis clears, but this takes time and a good  haircare routine. Having an itchy scalp, dry scalp or dandruff may also prevent your hair growing to its full potential.



  1. Thyroid Disease

If you have a problem with your thyroid, you may see thinning hair. Some people notice that their hair comes out in clumps when they brush it. Treating the thyroid disease can reverse the hair loss, it’s best to get a blood test done to determine this.


  1. STI’s

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) can lead to hair loss if not treated. E.g Syphilis can cause patchy hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, beard, and elsewhere. After treating the STI, hair often starts to regrow.


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Shikha Ramjutan


For men experiencing androgenic alopecia, what are the usual indicators, and where on the scalp do they observe the effects? Visit Us Telkom University

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