Throughout their lives, everyone loses a little hair. Over time, the hair loss can become more significant, and you might find a bald patch forming on the top of your head, even for women.
About 30 percent of adults, both men and women, experience hair loss – but it does happen more often in men. Almost two-thirds of men will have significant hair loss by the time they turn 65.
It’s not easy to pinpoint the cause of hair loss, and there’s not always a cure. However, it can be treated, and understanding why this is happening can help you combat it.
Here are a few reasons why you might be losing your hair:
- Telogen Effluvium
There’s a unique phenomenon that can occur in the body after you have a traumatic experience called telogen effluvium. It typically occurs after a traumatic experience like a major surgery, pregnancy, or drastic weight loss.
It can stunt your hair growth, and you may experience hair loss for up to three months following a disturbing event. Some men and women lose hair by the handfuls.
Stress is one of the most notable causes of telogen effluvium, and it can strike at any time.
“When you have a really stressful event, it can shock the hair cycle, (pushing) more hair into the shedding phase,” Marc Glashofer, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, clarified in a Health.com article.
Unfortunately, genes play a major factor in your likelihood to lose hair, and there’s not much you can do about it.
“Hair loss is a result of a complicated set of both environmental and genetic factors, and how these factors play out are specific to each individual,” says Dr. Ablon in a study on hair loss published in PLOS One Journal. “It’s rare, but some men can start losing their hair as early as 18, while others have a full head of hair when they’re 90.”
- Too Much Sun
Spending too much time in the sun will do more than fry your skin and put you at risk of developing skin cancer. It can also do a number on the thickness of your hair. The sun strips your hair of essential nutrients and bonds, increasing the brittleness.
There’s no such thing as sunscreen for hair, but you can protect it by wearing a hat or scarf over your head when in the sun for too long. Use hydrating shampoo and conditioner as well to restore nutrients.
Too much time in the pool can have the same effect on your hair as UV rays.
“Chlorine damages the hair by removing natural oils from hair’s strands and weakens the chemical bonds between hair fibers, leaving them prone to dryness, breakage and ultimately hair fall,” explains Dr. Ablon in his study. “Enlist a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner daily…Not only will this help promote hair’s health to stand up to the effects of chlorine, but it will also help restore moisture and strengthen hair after it has been exposed.”
What you eat plays a powerful role in your hair health. Deficiencies in protein, iron, vitamin B, and a few other essential nutrients can make your hair thin and fall out.
On the flip side, too much of certain foods and nutrients can also harm your hair. Too much vitamin A can trigger hair loss, so avoid consuming more than 5,000 IU per day of vitamin A for adults and children over the age of four.
- Improper Styling
Some styling treatments or even hairstyles pull too hard on your hair, which causes permanent damage to your scalp. Hair weaves, cornrows, tight braids, and severe ponytails put too much pressure on your hair follicles. Hot-oil treatments, chemical relaxers, bleach, and other harsh chemicals or high heat will also damage your roots and challenge hair replenishment.
Unfortunately, hair loss becomes more prevalent as you age, both for men and women. As disclosed in this article, most men have hair loss after the age of 65.
For women, it’s related to menopause. “Hair loss becomes more prevalent leading up to and after menopause,” Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist at Philip Kingsley Clinic in London, told Cosmopolitan. “It’s important to realize that our hair ages, and as we get older, hair naturally gets finer. It’s a totally normal part of the aging process.”
It may be natural, but it doesn’t have to be the end for your hair. There are shampoos and medical treatments that can restore lost hair and help you look your best.