Hair loss causes in women and men
Every person has between 100,000 to 150,000 hair follicles divided into groups of 1-5 across the head. Each hair grows from an individual follicle.
Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, which includes growth phase, transitional phase and the resting phase. Between 30000-50000 of our hair follicles are genetically programmed to produce hair the rest of our lives and are situated at the back of the neck and the sides of the head.
There are many possible hair loss causes, some are more common than others. Om this page you will learn about the different causes of hair loss.
Androgenetic Alopecia (male hereditary hair loss) is the most common type
The follicles of the crown can be more or less sensitive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This hormone arises from testosterone, which is the main sex hormone that men have. DHT affects hair follicles and causes the hair to not grow as long as it once did, the hair becomes thinner and gradually fewer. But this does not apply the hair on the neck and sides, as it is immune to the influence of DHT and genetically programmed to produce hair the rest of your life.
In most cases, male hair loss is hereditary, also known as male pattern baldness (Androgenic Alopecia). Hair loss can begin before the age of 20 and becomes noticeable at the top of the scalp and a receding hairline. Over time bald patches on top of the head will expand.
Hereditary hair occurs in women, even if it is not as common as in men. The hair thins gradually and develops round or oval areas of hair loss in the front area of the scalp. Hereditary hair loss affects mostly women after menopause, but relatively young women can also suffer from hair loss, starting before the age of 30.
Common hair loss causes in women
Apart from androgenic alopecia, there is another more diffuse type of hair loss in women, where almost all of the hair becomes thinner. The cause is often iron deficiency; even mild to moderate iron-deficiency can affect the hair. Some birth control pills may also cause hair loss.
Hair loss after pregnancy occurs as a result of hormonal changes in the body and is often only temporary.
Eating disorders affect every tissue with high metabolic rate, leading to noticeable hair loss.
Other causes of hair loss in women and men
There are certain diseases of the scalp that can affect hair growth. For instance, alopecia areata (hair loss that result in round bald patches which vary in size, where the follicles are already being attacked by the body’s immune system) and alopecia totalis (when the immunological process affects a complete loss of hair of the entire scalp. This disease can heal spontaneously, but may also return.
Furthermore, there are inflammatory conditions of various kinds, which specifically affect the hair follicles. Seborrhoeic eczema and dandruff including psoriasis may cause extensive hair loss, however once the scalp is healed, hair growth will often begin.
Even diseases in completely different organs can affect the hair quality, for instance a low metabolism in thyroid diseases. Certain medications can also cause issues with the hair, chemotherapy often does, and some birth control pills can cause significant hair loss.
Inappropriate lifestyle (smoking, poor eating habits, physical or psychological stress), unsuitable hair care products and hair extensions are also identified as main reason for hair loss. Styling wax should also be avoided completely. There are some water-based waxes of good quality, which does not damage the hair and scalp.