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Hair loss – causes, symptoms and other risk factors

It is known fact that the hair loss can affect just the scalp or it can affect the entire body. There are many causes which can lead to hair loss such as medications, medical conditions, hormonal changes and heredity. Every single person, including men, women and children, can experience hair loss. When someone says about baldness, then he or she refers to excessive hair loss from the scalp. We know that the heredity hair loss that is associated with age is the most common cause for baldness [1]. There are some people who let their baldness run its course unhidden and untreated. Also there are other people who cover their baldness with scarves, hats, makeup and hairstyles. But also there are other people who choose one of the treatments that are available to restore growth and to prevent further hair loss. Before you start using some of the available treatments, you need to talk with your doctor about the cause for your hair loss and the best treatment for you.

Hair loss symptoms

You should know that the hair loss can appear in many different ways which depends on its cause. It can come on gradually or suddenly and it can affect your scalp or your whole body. There are some types of hair loss that are temporary and others are permanent. Here are some signs and symptoms of hair loss:

  • Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp: When you have this sign, then it is a sign of ringworm. It can be accompanied by swelling, redness, broken hair and at times oozing.
  • Fully – body hair loss: There are some conditions and medical treatments such as the chemotherapy for cancer which can result in hair loss all over your body. But in the most cases the hair grows back. [2]
  • Sudden loosening of hair: An emotional or physical shock can cause hair to loosen. You can notice handfuls of hairs which may come out when washing or combing your hair or even after gentle tugging. When someone has this type of hair loss, then it usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
  • Circular or patchy bald spots: There are some people who experience smooth and coin – sized bald spots. This type of hair loss is usually affecting just the scalp but in some cases it can happen in eyebrows or beards. There are some cases when the skin can become painful or itchy before the hair falls out.
  • Gradual thinning on the top of head: This type of hair loss is the most common type of hair loss which is affecting both males and females as they are aging. In women, they retain the hairline of their forehead but they have a broadening of the part in the hair. In men, the hair often begins to recede from their forehead in a line which resembles the letter M.

Hair loss

Hair loss causes

It is known fact that most people normally shed 50 – 100 hairs a day. This is not causing noticeable thinning of the hair because new hair is growing at the same time. Hair loss is happening when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue or when the cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted. There are many causes for hair loss such as

  • Ringworm of the scalp: This is a common condition in children [3].
  • Thyroid diseases: Such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism [4].
  • Poor diet: Especially, when you are not getting enough iron or protein [5].
  • Age: As we are getting older, we are growing less hair. Also the hair loss gets thinner and it tends to break more easily as you are getting older. [1]
  • Damage to your hair: This damage can be a result of using curling iron or dyes, wearing tight braids or ponytails or pulling your hair back too tightly.
  • Chemotherapy: This is a powerful medicine which can destroy cancer cells. [6]
  • Stress: In which is included the physical stress from high fever, illness or surgery. [7]
  • Family history: It is known fact that in the most cases, the hair loss is inherited. It is passed down from one or both parents. This is known as female – pattern or male – pattern hair loss. [1]

Risk factors: Here are some factors which can increase your risk of hair loss

  • Stress [7]
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and lupus
  • Poor nutrition [5]
  • Age [1]
  • Family history [1]


[1] Hagenaars SP, Hill D, Harris SE, et al. Genetic prediction of male pattern baldness. PLoS Genetics. 2017;13(2):e1006594.

[2] Novak MA, Meyer JS. Alopecia: Possible causes and treatments, particularly in captive nonhuman primates. Comparative Medicine. 2009;59(1):18–26.

[3] Hoffer L, Shvarts S, Segal-Engelchin D. Hair loss due to scalp ringworm irradiation in childhood: health and psychosocial risks for women. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research. 2020.

[4] Vincent M, Yogiraj K. A descriptive study of alopecia patterns and their relation to thyroid dysfunction. International Journal of Trichology. 2013;5(1):57–60.

[5] Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology Practical & Conceptual. 2017;7(1):1–10.

[6] You J, Guo L, Shi X, et al. The effect and mechanism of YH0618 granule on chemotherapy- induced hair loss in patients with breast cancer: study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, multi-center clinical trial. Trials. 2019.

[7] Hadshiew IM, Foitzik K, Arck PC, Paus R. Burden of hair loss: stress and the underestimated psychosocial impact of telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2004;123(3):455-7.

Merlin Joy
Merlin Joy
Holding a doctorate degree, Dr. Merlin Joy AKA Sinatra developed passion for home remedies from her mother, grand father and grandmother. Sinatra loves to read books and hiking. You can contact her through [email protected]


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