Hair loss is a serious condition that affects millions of people across the globe. However, there are many different factors that can contribute to this ailment, from diet to genetics.
Keep reading for information on potential causes and how to help ease the resulting hair loss.
1. It Runs in Your Family
Your genes determine pretty much every physical trait about you, so it’s no surprise that they can cause hair loss, too. In fact, this is one of the most common factors behind the condition. Your genetics are passed down from your parents, and their parents, and so on. Therefore, if a parent or other family member suffers from hair loss, you’re often more prone to it, as well.
Unfortunately, you can’t exactly change your genetic makeup. If you have the male pattern baldness (MBP) gene, you’re highly likely to experience some level of hair loss eventually. However, that doesn’t mean hair loss treatment is completely out of the question. In fact, there are some medications proven to help combat the effects of genetic hair loss.
Finasteride and minoxidil are two of the most commonly prescribed hair loss medications. While both are effective against MBP in many men, they function in different ways. Finasteride works by stopping the overproduction of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which can weaken and shrink hair follicles. This can be taken orally as a pill or used topically as a gel or foam. Minoxidil is a type of stimulant that spurs dormant follicles to begin producing hair again. Made popular by the brand Rogaine, this medicine is available in topical form as a foam, gel, or shampoo.
Which medication works for you will be determined by the specific genetic aspects of your hair loss. For example, if your genes are coded to produce too much DHT, finasteride will be your best bet. However, you can’t exactly look up your gene sequence, so some experimenting might be necessary.
2. It’s Caused by Another Condition
Many health conditions have multiple side effects, meaning they don’t impact only one part of your body. For several people, hair loss is one of these unfortunate symptoms. Some of these conditions include lupus and diabetes.
Lupus is an auto-immune disorder, meaning the immune system attacks healthy cells in addition to bacteria. In many cases, this disease can negatively affect skin and blood health — both of which are crucial for healthy hair development. As a result, it is common for those with lupus to experience hair loss. This could also be caused as a side effect of medications commonly prescribed to combat lupus, like steroids.
Diabetes is a disease that targets insulin production, which controls how much glucose is in the blood. An inability to break down glucose can result in damaged nerves or blood vessels, which are both connected to hair health. This damage can interrupt the hair growth cycle, causing hair to fall out or growth to slow. And like steroids, some diabetes medications can increase your likelihood of experiencing hair loss.
Having a chronic illness might be the underlying cause of your hair loss. Talking to a physician will give you more information regarding your particular ailment and its potential connection to hair loss. Moreover, they might be able to draw a line between medications you take for your condition and hair-related side effects.
3. It’s a Symptom of Stress
Stress can negatively impact your body in various ways, taking a toll on your health. And for many, dealing with too much stress can result in hair loss. There are a few different ways this can present itself, like telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
One of the most common forms of stress-induced hair loss is telogen effluvium, in which follicles enter a resting phase. During this period of inactivity, hair production stops and the follicle becomes weak, allowing strands to fall out easily. While losing around 100 hairs a day is normal, those with telogen effluvium can lose up to 300 every day.
Alopecia areata is an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy hair cells. This condition is marked by hair falling out in clumps, rather than gradual thinning or following a pattern. While classified as an immune dysfunction, some studies show it may also be connected to high stress.
Battling stress and its side effects can be difficult, but seeking help for your mental health is worth it. Not only will you feel better on the inside, but you’ll see improvement on the outside, too.
4. It’s a result of a Poor Diet
What you eat can also have a big impact on your life. A diet lacking proper nutrition can result in many kinds of conditions, including hair loss. Certain deficiencies have been directly linked with hair loss, such as biotin and zinc.
Biotin is perhaps one of the most important vitamins related to hair health. Part of the B vitamin family, this nutrient builds the protein keratin, which makes up hair and nails. Without sufficient levels of biotin, hair can become brittle and follicles can weaken, resulting in hair falling out. If you need to boost your intake, you can find this vitamin in foods like eggs, nuts, sweet potatoes, and beans.
Having a zinc deficiency has also been linked to hair loss. This mineral isn’t naturally occurring in the body, though it’s necessary for certain functions like immunity and skin health. These are both tied to hair production and subsequently, a lack of zinc can result in thinning hair. You can get this mineral in foods like oysters, red meat, crab, and almonds.
Overall, it’s in your best interest to maintain a well-balanced diet. Consuming a variety of nutrients will keep your body healthier and less likely to experience illness.
It Might be Several Factors
Hair loss is an extremely complex condition, and multiple factors could cause the ailment. Speaking with a healthcare provider and experimenting with different treatments can help ease your symptoms. And remember that hair grows slowly, so make sure you give it the time it needs.