Rapid, unexplained hair loss can be concerning and often embarrassing for men and women alike. Whether your hair has suddenly started falling out in clumps, or you notice bald patches on your head, there could be a number of reasons for your thinning mane. Take action today and reclaim your luscious locks.
Just a reminder, some level of hair loss is reasonable and is to be expected. Don’t freak out when you lose a little hair in the shower or have to de-shed your hairbrush every once in a while. This is part of the normal process of hair growth and is a healthy occurrence. However, if you notice a significant increase in hair loss or your hair begins to thin without cause, it is important to pinpoint the reason, as it may indicate an underlying health concern.
Why your hair is falling out
When your body is in a constant state of fight or flight, you may experience hair loss. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium which is a disruption of the normal life cycle of hair. When your body is at rest, hair goes through three phases, growth, rest, and shedding. Stress and trauma such as surgery, injuries, or any other reason for heightened adrenaline can shock the system and cause more hair to be lost in the shedding phase. Keep in mind, you may not begin to notice hair loss until a few months after the incident occurs or after an extended period of excess stressors.
What to do: If it is a daily type of stress, it is important to remove yourself from that situation in any way possible as stress can wreak havoc on your body. Practice meditation and mindful breathing. If you experienced a stress incident, you will have to wait and let your body recover. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to relax and recharge.
Protein is an essential part of the daily diet, and when your body doesn’t receive sufficient protein, it can respond by halting hair growth. This could lead to breakage and hair loss. If you recently switched to a non-meat, or low-meat diet, you may be particularly susceptible to a protein deficiency.
What to do: The solution is simple. Incorporate more protein such as fish, meat, and eggs into your diet. Seek alternative options for protein if you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
There are many types of hairstyles and techniques that, over time, can lead to concerning hair loss. Situations that could be considered extreme styling may include tight braids such as cornrows, regular heat treatments, chemical relaxers, or hair weaves. If you have fine hair, this may even include tight ponytails or buns.
What to do: Simply avoiding these type of damaging hairstyles and treatments should be your first course of action. To bring your hair back to full health, try using conditioner after every wash and letting your hair air-dry instead of using heat. Try to use high heat products such as flat irons, curling irons, or blow dryers no more than once per week.
This condition is when the thyroid gland, which produces essential metabolic and growth hormones is underactive. When this gland is not functioning properly, you may experience significant levels of hair loss.
What to do: If you suspect hypothyroidism, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Thyroid medication should help restore your body to normal levels and encourage hair growth.
Particularly in regards to females, unbalanced hormones can do a number on virtually all the systems in the body, including the regulation of hair growth and loss. Changing methods of contraception, hormone-related conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or menopause in older women may all contribute to hair falling out. According to Mark Hammonds, MD, a dermatologist with Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas “The androgen (male hormone) receptors on the scalp become activated,” he goes on to explain, “The hair follicles will miniaturize and then you start to lose more hair.”
What to do: If you experienced hair loss after a change in contraceptive method or are trying a new prescription, let your doctor know or switch back to your prior prescription. Other hormone-related conditions may require different avenues of treatment.
Male genetic baldness
Some men dread nothing more than a receding hairline as they age. This male pattern baldness affects two out of three men by age 60 and is caused by a combination of male sex hormones, genetic predisposition, and various stressors.
What to do: It is possible to take oral medication and apply topical creams to prevent extreme baldness. Hair grafts and transplant may also be a solution in difficult cases. Keep in mind; it may be impossible to prevent this type of hair loss entirely.