Hair loss is the single most distressing physical issue for men (and increasingly women) in the UK between the ages of 25 and 60, rated more distressing than divorce and even erectile dysfunction. But what causes it? And can anything be done? In this blog we’ll explain the 4 most common reasons why you might be losing your hair.
1. Male pattern balding or female pattern hair loss
MPB or FPB is still the most active cause of hair loss in men and women between the ages of 25 and 60. Many sufferers will already be uncomfortably aware of their predisposition to balding, having witnessed parents or relatives with the issue. However, sometimes hair loss may be still be genetic even in cases where there is no immediate family connection.
Male pattern balding is characterised either by a gradual thinning of the hair on the crown area, which may reach round to the temples, or by a receding hairline on the forehead which eventually reaches further round posteriorly. There is no known ‘cure’ for MPB. However, hair loss products may be useful in slowing the hair loss and creating the appearance of thicker hair where thinning has occurred.
2. Post childbirth or post trauma hair loss
For women, hair loss often occurs during the post-natal period. During pregnancy, a woman’s hair will grow thicker to ensure warmth in a key area and protection of the scalp. When this function is no longer needed, the body will naturally start to shed the excess hair. This may seem like undue hair loss and can be alarming; however, post-natal women should lose no more than they had before pregnancy. If hair loss continues there may be another reason, guidance for which can be sought through a GP. If a person has undergone major surgery or experienced a trauma, such as a car crash, they may also experience diffuse hair loss. Both types of this hair loss are called telogen effluvium. It is usually temporary and in most cases is reversible.
3. Medical or medication-induced hair loss
There are a wide range of medical circumstances which might cause hair loss, either short or long term. Medication side-effects are probably the most thought of, and patients who are losing hair more than normal (we may lose up to 100 scalp hairs every day) may need to consult their GP on their prescribed medication and its effects. The medications most known to cause hair loss are anticoagulants, gout medications, Beta blockers, male and female hormone treatments, and some antidepressants.
If hair loss occurs due to intense medical procedures such as chemotherapy, most patients will see a return to normal hair growth during remission. However, if this is not the case, they may be eligible for hair restoration.
4. Low health or happiness
Studies into hair loss now place a much higher emphasis on the impact of poor general health and high stress levels on hair growth. Although all of us may ignore it from time to time, our diet is the source of all the essential nutrients for the body’s healthy tissues, including those of hair, skin, and nails. A diet low in protein and essential fats, or a regime missing adequate and appropriate fluids (Chardonnay doesn’t have much water in it, alas) could be doing more to our bodies than depriving them of energy.
Hair loss can also be stress induced. The idea of ‘tearing your hair out’ is hopefully for most us only a watercooler turn of phrase, but for some it may mean serious hair loss over periods of time. A variety of factors, including severe stress, are thought to cause Alopecia Areata, a condition that causes patchy hair loss from one or more areas of the scalp in both men and women. This hair loss may progress to larger areas of baldness and long-term hair loss if stressful conditions are not addressed, not to mention further potential physical ailments. Trichotillomania is a condition, classified under Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, whereby the sufferer compulsively pulls their hair out in strands or chunks, which may lead to permanent damage to the scalp’s hair follicles. It is often triggered by anxiety, boredom, stress or tension.
What can you do to tackle hair loss?
In most cases, the cause of hair loss can be linked to one of the above factors. However, it’s essential to have a clinical assessment. Your GP should be able to determine any medical factors to consider but you could also seek the advice of a qualified, skilled trichologist or hair restoration specialist. With their experience in treating hair loss, you’ll not only get a definitive assessment but also expert advice on coping with hair loss, as well as hair restoration and hair care.
At the Wimpole Clinic we offer a free, no-obligation hair loss consultation with our highly experienced team, which includes some of the best trichologists, hair growth specialists, technicians and therapists in the industry. During your free consultation you can ask questions, assess your hair loss and consider what your best options are, either for preventing or slowing hair loss or restoring hair into balding areas using proven effective procedures. Fill in the form below to book your free consultation.