There are so many hair loss causes. That’s what makes it such a complicated topic. So many people experience it, but not always due to the same reason.
That’s why it’s important that you understand the reason under YOUR hair loss in order to inhibit the balding process. Here are the main causes of hair loss:
Nutritional Deficiencies (prevent optimal hair growth):
Nutritional deficiencies are a huge factor that will prevent your hair from growing to way it’s supposed to.
Think about it; if being nutrient deficient is bad for your overall health, don’t you think it would also be bad for your hair?
Of course! So go get all your vitamins and minerals! To know if you are deficient in anything, consult your doctor and take a blood test. That will clearly determine if that is why you might be losing your hair.
You see, your blood flows everywhere inside your body in order to feed every cell with the needed nutrients. In the same way, the blood flowing on top of your head needs to be packed with all the necessary micro nutrients. This will allow every single hair follicle on your scalp to survive and grow thick and healthy. Otherwise, it will keep thinning and thinning until it disappears completely.
The most important nutrients to promote hair health are the following:
- Protein: Knowing that hair is primarily MADE out of protein, it would be obvious to say that protein is an absolute must in order to prevent the loss of hair. This protein are provided to the skin of the scalp and grows from the follicle. No doubt that without a high protein diet your hair will start to get weak and brittle.
- Iron: Anemic people often suffer from hair loss due to the lack of iron in their blood. Iron is needed for the haemoglobins in the red blood cells which carry oxygen all over the body and to the hair. No oxygen to the scalp, no hair!
- Zinc: Zinc helps strengthening the immune system, repairing tissues and stabilizing the body’s hormones. Unstable hormones are hugely damaging to the hair for the simple fact that it creates stress on the body which can cause the shedding of the hair.
- Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids help provide the oils on the scalp which create a healthy environment for the hair to grow on and stay well hydrated.
The most important vitamins to prevent thinning hair are vitamins A,C, D, E and the B vitamins.
- Vitamin A is needed for the production of sebum on the scalp which contains the oils that keep the hair on your head from breaking and drying out. Although, it has been shown that also TOO much vitamin A can lead to the loss of hair.
- Vitamin C is crucial for the circulation of the blood all over the body. So, you can bet that it is also crucial for the circulation of the blood full of nutrients to your hair follicules. It also help with the absorption of iron, is a great antioxidant and helps produce collagen which is a protein that gives hair this elastic and healthy texture.
- Vitamin D is important for the health of the follicles on the scalp. Sadly, around 85% of Americans are deficient, although it can produce by our body when exposed to sunshine! Go outside!
- Vitamin E helps with tissue building and repairal. This antioxidant also aids with the reduction of inflammation and gives a boost to the quantity of oxygen reaching the scalp.
- B vitamins are present in various quantities (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12), all vital for maintaining our energy levels good and stable and promote cell growth (which then promotes hair growth in the follicles). Biotin is a very renowned B vitamin for its hair thickening benefits. It also gives elasticity to the hair strands and prevents dryness. Taking anywhere around 1000 mcg of biotin (or more depending on the level of your hair loss) would be enough to promote healthy hair, but be sure to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated, because it is a water-soluble B vitamin. Otherwise, it could cause breakage of the skin.
All of the vitamins and minerals mentioned above can be obtain in various foods. Although, if you find that it is still not enough for you, you should consider taking multivitamins or supplements. It will give your body the necessary nutrients to promote hair growth and stop thinning hair.
Male and Female Pattern Baldness:
Many people live very healthy lives and have all the needed nutrients in their body, but still lose their hair. How come??
Yes, and we would even say that this is the case for the big majority of people.
In fact, around 95% or thinning hair is caused by male or female pattern baldness all around the world. But what is pattern baldness?
Pattern baldness, also called androgenic alopecia, is THE most common cause of hair loss. It is caused by a hormone in the body called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The way that DHT causes the thinning of the hair is that it binds with the androgen receptors on the scalp’s follicles and shrinks them. This eventually makes them thinner and thinner until they fade away.
DHT is produced in the body when testosterone binds to the enzyme 5α-reductase. It then turns it into dihydrotestosterone flowing in the blood looking for an androgen receptor to bind to. Now, why are some people affected by it and others not (or way less)?
It’s all a matter of genetics.
Your DNA will determine your level of testosterone, the quantity of enzyme 5α-reductase in your body and, most importantly, your hair follicles’ sensitivity to DHT.
That means that your genetics can cause more testosterone to bind to the enzymes and create more DHT than another individual who isn’t genetically predisposed to produce as much testosterone or doesn’t contain as much 5α-reductase.
Therefore, a person with less DHT could possibly experience more hair loss than a person with low DHT if his or her follicles contain more receptors.
But, again, this is all up to your genetic makeup. You can’t really change your genetics, so does this mean that there’s nothing you can do about it?…
Not necessarily. If you can decrease the production of dihydrotestosterone, you could decrease the quantity of it binding to your hair follicles. Thereafter, this will inhibit the balding process to the point where it could stop or even reverse it and make the lost hair grow back.
Go to the Treatments & Solutions section to learn more about ways to halt hair loss and increase hair growth.
Signs of Pattern Baldness:
A sign that could physically show a man going through male pattern baldness is usually a receding hairline in a “M” motion. It also creates a thinning spot in the crown area as shown in the image above.
Although, the way it affects women is quite different than men. In fact, their hairline doesn’t start receding and they don’t just start losing their hair on the crown area.
Female pattern baldness actually causes women’s hair to thin all over the top scalp region without affecting the hairline. So, they start losing the density, volume and thickness of their hair as shown in the image below.
This can be extremely stressful and scary to women. Again, as long as you start doing something about it, you can fight it and hopefully stop it.
When does baldness begin?
- Around 40% of men experience male pattern baldness at age 35
- 50% of them start balding at age 50
- 65% of them at age 60
- 70% of them at age 80
- 75% of them at age 85
Usually, people would be shocked by these numbers, thinking that 35 years old is too young to be balding. Actually, the thing is that the process of male pattern baldness can start as soon as an individual hits puberty.
On the other hand, only around 25% on women experience female pattern baldness at age 50.
That’s right, at least one third of women will experience pattern baldness too at some point in their life.
After the menopause, around TWO thirds of women experience levels of thinning hair or even bald spots. Female pattern baldness affects women for the same genetic reason (DHT). Although, since they usually produce way less testosterone, they also usually experience it at a less damaging level. This is obvious, because it means that less testosterone will be converted into DHT.
Hormonal Imbalances (deep cause of thinning hair):
There can be situations happening in your body causing your thinning hair without you knowing due to hormonal imbalances.
Poor lifestyle habits (poor nutrition, bad environment, emotional problems, etc) usually trigger these imbalances. Of course, your genes can also be the cause. It can affect both men and women. You must be aware of what’s happening inside your body to make sure this isn’t the cause of your hair loss.
This is how hormonal imbalances are detrimental to hair health:
- Too much estrogen: Also known as the female hormone, estrogen is NEEDED in the female body (and even in small quantity in the male body) to make them feel energized, keep them in a good mood and give an overall sense of well being. Although, when it reaches very high levels (due to perimenopause, weight gain, etc), it can become an issue and cause your hair to thin out.
- Insulin complications: Insulin is a very useful hormone that helps storing glucose as energy sources in the body. Although, if your body goes through insulin resistance, glucose will stay in the blood leading to a higher demand of insulin. This increase of insuline can lead to a decrease in the Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin which binds to DHT, stopping it from binding to androgen receptors. As described in the section on “Male and female pattern baldness”, these receptors are found in hair follicles. Thus, more insulin can lead to more DHT and, you guessed it, more hair loss!
- High testosterone: As we said earlier, high levels of this male hormone can lead to more DHT in the blood stream, which can consequently increase to risks of experiencing pattern baldness.
- Thyroid issues: Hypothyroidism, the term used for describing the lack of full thyroid efficiency, happens when your thyroid starts producing less hormones useful for your metabolism and overall development. It therefore starts needing more energy to continue the production of hormones. So, the body has to find a way to fulfill this demand by taking energy from way less necessary processes such as hair growth. As you might tell, this will cause less nutrients to the hair follicles, leading to drying and thinning.
If you can relate to any of the problems mentioned above, the best thing to do is to consult a physician to examine any imbalances in your body. Your doctor may then prescribe you medications or tell you how to change your habits in order to solve these issues.
Alopecia Areata (rare disease affecting hair growth):
Alopecia areata is a hair loss condition where the immune system attacks the hair follicles on a particular area of the scalp, resulting in one or many bald spots as shown in the image below:
While the reason for this strange autoimmune behavior is still a mystery, it most commonly affects teenagers.
This condition can especially occur if it is present in your family history. Thus, it can be hereditary.
In 10% of the cases, the lost hair might not regrow and there is little effectiveness in the treatments.
Consuming gluten when a person is gluten-intolerant can also cause this disease. Therefore, diminishing the gluten intake (most found in cereal products) could possibly fully regrow the lost hair.
If you can relate to this disorder, it is very important that you consult your doctor or a dermatologist to receive proper treatments.
Other Hair Loss Causes:
If you don’t relate to any of the causes above, the ones below just might satisfy your searches:
- Drugs & medications: Using certain medications can unfortunately lead to hormonal imbalances, affect the hair growth cycle and cause hair loss. These medications can be antibiotic/antifungal drugs, antidepressants, birth control pills, weight loss pills, thyroid medications, steroids, drugs to lower cholesterol, to lower blood pressure, for heart disease, etc.
- Skin infections such as fungal infections
- Pregnancy due to hormonal imbalances after childbirth
- High emotional or physical stress
- Traction alopecia: This condition is cause by people who are too rough with their hair and scalp. It includes tying their hair in a tight ponytail, massaging their scalp too hard, using too much straightening or curling iron, etc.