If you’ve started to notice increased hair loss, or it’s beginning to affect your confidence or appearance, it can become a real cause for concern. However, some hair loss is just a natural part of the hair growth cycle. And it’s also possible to take some DIY measures to prevent or minimise other hair loss conditions.
On the other hand, unusual or excessive hair loss can sometimes be a symptom of underlying health concerns or a problem with your hair follicles or scalp. In these cases, it’s advisable to have your hair, scalp and overall health checked by a professional.
Types of Hair Loss
To help you determine whether your hair loss requires professional attention, here are some insights into the types and causes of hair loss, and what you can do about them.
Natural hair loss
Even with the thickest, healthiest head of hair, some shedding is a natural and normal part of the hair’s cycle of growth and renewal. And although a degree of shedding is normal for everyone, the amount of hair that naturally falls out every day can vary widely from person to person.
The way to determine whether your hair loss is just the natural shedding process is to monitor how much you notice on your pillow or in the shower, bath or sink after you’ve washed your hair. If this amount increases suddenly or drastically, it may be related to another issue.
Age-related hair loss
For many, hair loss is a natural aspect of the ageing process. Obviously, there’s little you can do about the passage of time, but one way to discern whether your hair loss is age-related is to consider your family members.
Genetic hair loss, which is also referred to as male pattern baldness, and other age-related conditions are strongly related to genetic patterns. If the genes in your family mean you’re predisposed to hair loss, you might find you start to lose your hair earlier in life and/or at a more significant rate. If you notice that your family all have a similar hair loss pattern around a certain age, it may help to understand your own hair loss.
Lifestyle-related hair loss
Lifestyle aspects such as stress, diet and hairstyling habits can affect your hair. A stressful lifestyle can affect the rate at which your hair grows, and it can also cause excessive shedding, or falling out in patches. Diet can also influence the health of your hair follicles and scalp, which can affect hair loss.
Vigorous shampooing or styling can lead to increased hair shedding, as can tightly-pulled hairstyles such as ponytails or buns. Changing these aspects and monitoring the difference can help you figure out if they are causing your hair loss.
Health-related hair loss
Hair loss is a recognised side-effect of some health issues, such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune deficiencies, or skin conditions such as psoriasis. It’s likely that other symptoms would alert you to these types of health concerns, but if you believe your hair loss is not related to any of the factors mentioned above, it could be worth getting it checked, as it may help to identify an underlying issue sooner.
Some medications used to treat various health conditions can also sometimes cause hair loss as a side-effect. Even some hair loss treatments like Finasteride can cause hair shedding. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist if this might be applicable for you.
Hopefully, these different hair loss scenarios will help you to identify whether you need to consult a doctor or specialist, or whether you may be able to address or minimise further hair loss yourself, for example by making lifestyle changes.
However, if you feel that there is any question as to whether your hair loss is excessive or unusual for you, it would be wise to seek advice from a professional. You could visit your GP in the first instance, or book a free consultation with a reputable hair clinic. Specialist trichologists will be able to help you uncover the causes of your hair loss, as well as explain to you the best options available for treatment, prevention or restoration.
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