What ACTUALLY Causes Hair Loss for Men & Women? (Part 2)
Updated: Jun 5, 2020
We discussed one of the major causes of Hair Loss in (Part 1) but will now explore other possible conditions and other factors that can cause Hair Loss, Fallout, and Thinning.
Alopecia Areata: Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly targets healthy hair follicles in the body. The medical term for 'bald, patch' that affect both males, females, and even children. This condition can develop anywhere on the body where the hair is located, such as the nose, brow, armpits, etc. Alopecia Areata can come just only once or can recur years apart in cycles. The emergence of Alopecia Areata can also be caused by Viral Infection, trauma, hormonal changes, and or emotional/physical stressors (2). Once the hair follicles are compromised, hair fallout, hair thinning, and ultimately hair loss can occur depending on severity.
In addition, the following can also occur:
Alopecia Totalis: All hair on the scalp is lost causing baldness
Alopecia Universalis: All hair on the body is affected, leaving the entire body free from hair. This particular condition is rare.
The Thyroid gland, which is part of our endocrine system and is responsible for producing hormones that can affect metabolic activity, can also impact hair growth.
Thyroid Disorders that can also cause hair loss, fallout, or thinning include:
Hyperthyroidism: This condition refers to when the thyroid is producing too much T3 or T4 (specific hormones produced from the thyroid) and usually impacts women.
Hypothyroidism: This condition refers to when the thyroid is not producing enough thyroid-specific hormones and can cause
Diseases that cause Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism are:
Graves Disease is a common immune system disorder that can cause Hyperthyroidism and is more common in women before the age of 40.
Hashimoto's Disease is a condition that impacts near 14 million Americans and is the most common cause of Hypothyroidism.
Scalp Infections can also be a root cause of hair loss, hair fallout, or hair thinning:
Tinea Capitis: Certain infections such as tinea capitis (aka "ringworm of the scalp") are caused by a fungal infection that targets hair follicles and infects them. Resulting in scalp irritation and scaliness in hair fallout and loss (1).
Lichen Planus: A skin rash that causes irritation. Lesions can also occur in the scalp causing hair fallout caused by a reaction by the immune system.
Celiac disease: is an infectious condition that causes damage to the small intestine after the absorption of gluten. Hair loss can result from malabsorption of nutrients.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hair loss as well.
Trichorrhexis Nodosa: Occurs as hair shafts split rapidly. It's normally due to genetics, but it can also be the result of certain disorders.
Seborrheic Eczema: Also known as cradle or crib cap, this condition is actually widespread in infants and can cause scaliness and dandruff. The affected skin area can also appear oily and greasy, and hair loss may occur as a result.
Scalp Psoriasis: Elevated scaly patches that appear red and have a reddish appearance. Another autoimmune disease with symptoms such as dryness of the affected area, flaking of skin, itching or burning, and hair loss or hair fallout due to plaque buildup.
Head Lice: Yes, dreaded head lice can cause hair loss. Tiny insects that crawl and breed on the scalp while sucking blood from it. Elementary school children are predominately impacted as they tend to play with other school children in close quarters. Symptoms include scalp irritation and itchiness, scabs on scalp, soreness, and dryness as a result of scratching the scalp to reduce/mitigate the bites from the insects.
Leishmaniasis: A parasitic disease that affects sand flies that can be carried to a host and transmitted to a human if bitten. In some cases, a blood transfusion between infected individuals can also result in the disease being spread. The condition can potentially cause crusting skin lesions in the body, including the scalp.
Trichorrhexis Invaginata (Bamboo Hair): An inherited condition in which a mutated gene (SPINK5) causes abnormalities in healthy hair growth resulting in lumps or nodules, which leads to hair being brittle and easy to break.
Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma): An autoimmune disorder that causes skin swelling and/or thickening resulting in changes in texture, color, and overall appearance of the skin. The resulting skin changes can cause compromised hair development and hair loss, hair fallout, or both.
Graft vs. Host Disease: This illness occurs when the immune cells within a bone marrow graft do not match the cells of the recipient, causing the cells of the donor to attack the cells of the recipient. The organs most frequently involved are the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and liver. It can occur within 100 days of transplantation (acute GVHD) or over a prolonged period of time (chronic GVHD). Symptoms include a sunburn-like itchy, sore rash, nausea, vomiting,
abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloody stools, and dark urine.
Malnutrition & Diet
Lack of essential nutrients, crash dieting, or eating unhealthy foods for a prolonged period of time can lead to hair loss as well.
Consider taking inventory of your diet to ensure sufficient amounts of protein, biotin, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, caffeine, omega-3 fatty acids, spermidine, and zinc for healthy hair growth.
Vitamins absorbed through food are considered best, but if you have a vitamin deficiency, you may wish to consider supplementing Vitamins into your diet.
Yes, everyday stress, an often-overlooked factor, can cause hair loss (as well as a host of other negative impacts.)
It is also widely considered a trigger for several autoimmune disorders and scalp infections that directly lead to hair loss.
Hair Treatments/Hair Style:
Harsh chemical treatments, or merely using hairstyles that put pressure and tightness at the root of the hair can cause hair fallout and loss after prolonged or repeated use. Repeated use of damaging chemicals can soak into the scalp and interfere with follicles preventing proper hair growth.
Be considerate when using hairstyles such as ponytails, cornrows, buns, or extensions, and when possible, be sure to give your scalp enough breathing room. Damage can occur over time due to the repeated pulling of hair follicles, causing 'traction alopecia.' If not corrected, then prolonged tension and pressure from such styles can cause permanent hair loss.
A host of birth control pills, blood thinners, chemotherapy, arthritis, anxiety, anti-depression prescriptions, thyroid and gout conditions, and medications for the treatment of high blood pressure can all lead to hair loss.
It is important to review potential symptoms for prescribed medications as many drugs have a host of side effects associated with them, hair loss being a very common side-effect.
For females, the fluctuation of hormones in the body caused by pregnancy, childbirth, discontinuing birth control pills, or menopause can all be contributing factors to hair fallout.
In most cases, hair growth and development return to normal once the body comes back to relative homeostasis.
Mayoclinic - Hashimoto's Disease
Mayoclinic - Graves Disease