Everything You Need To Know About Hair Loss

With more than 100,000 hairs on the head, it’s normal to lose about 50 to 100 strands every day. However, that’s hair fall, not hair loss. 

Hair loss is when you shed hair excessively; this includes your body and scalp hair. In either case, it can be extremely distressing and become the cause of more hair loss. 

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 50% of women and around 30% of men found their hair loss to be “very” to “extremely” upsetting. 

If you’re struggling with a similar problem, this guide can help you get the right answers. 

What Is Hair Loss? 

Hair loss is when an abnormal amount of hair is lost as a result of disruptions in the hair growth cycle or because of inflammation that damages follicles. It can also be caused by congenital or acquired abnormalities in the hair structure. 

The medical term for hair loss is “alopecia.” It is also referred to as baldness or hair thinning, and it can affect anyone at any age.  

While most people associate hair loss with the one that they experience on the scalp, it can occur anywhere else on the body. In fact, some conditions cause hair loss all over the body and scalp. 

Depending on the cause of the hair loss, it may be: 

types of hair loss
(Left to Right) – A) Pattern alopecia B) Localised alopecia C) Diffuse alopecia

In some cases, the hair loss is temporary and reversible, while in others, it’s permanent.

In and of itself, hair loss is not dangerous. However, it can be indicative of a serious underlying health problem. This is especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms. 

And keep in mind that while hair loss may not cause as much detriment to your physical health, it can affect your mental health. It can make a person feel more self-conscious, anxious and even depressed. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Hair Loss? 

In general, the symptoms of hair loss can include: 

  • Widening of the part line 
  • Hair feeling lighter and thinner 
  • Scalp increasingly visible through the hair
  • Bald patches forming 
  • Burning and itching sensation on the scalp

Keep in mind, however, that the symptoms can vary depending on the underlying cause. 

For instance, if you’re losing hair due to a skin condition like psoriasis, you’ll also have scaly patches on your skin that may itch and bleed. 

Similarly, if you’re losing hair due to male pattern baldness, you’ll notice your hair loss progress in a distinct pattern. 

What Causes Hair Loss? 

Hair loss can occur due to one or more of the following reasons: 

  • Ageing 
  • Weight changes 
  • Stress (physical or mental) 
  • Illness 
  • Cancer treatment (radio and chemo
  • Tight hairstyle 
  • Hair damage from styling tools 
  • Medication 
  • Hormonal imbalance 
  • Genetics 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Poisoning 

Since hair loss can occur due to a variety of reasons, it’s important that you get yourself checked by a medical professional.  

What Are The Different Types of Hair Loss? 

There are two main types of hair loss: 

It should be noted that scarring alopecia is further categorised as primary and secondary scarring alopecia. 

Primary is when the hair follicle is directly destroyed. For instance, in folliculitis decalvans, chronic inflammation of the hair follicles causes their destruction. 

And secondary is when the hair follicle is indirectly destroyed due to a burn, accident, infection, autoimmune disease, etc.  

How Common Is Hair Loss? 

Most people experience some type of hair loss in their lifetime. Therefore, it’s fairly common. However, the prevalence rate of certain alopecias is greater than others. 

The most common type of hair loss among men and women is androgenetic alopecia. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, more than 50% of men over the age of 50 experience this type of hair loss to an extent. And it affects about 40% of women when they reach 50. 

Also, while androgenetic alopecia affects people of all races, its incidence is highest among white men. 

There are many other types of alopecias, but there’s a significant variation in their prevalence rate. It’s possible for you to be affected by any one or more of them. 

How Long Does Hair Loss Last? 

This will also depend on the underlying cause of hair loss. Keep in mind that some alopecias are permanent, while others are temporary and reversible. 

Androgenetic alopecia, for instance, can last for a decade or so. And during that time, you’ll continue to gradually lose your hair. 

In contrast, telogen effluvium usually lasts for a few months (unless it’s chronic). It eventually stops on its own, and your hair will start to grow back over the coming months. 

If an underlying health problem is causing hair loss, it may resolve and reverse after it’s treated. With thyroid hair loss, for example, growth starts a few months after you start taking medication. 

You shouldn’t wait to find out if hair loss is permanent or temporary. Make sure to get help as soon as possible so that you don’t lose more of your hair permanently. 

Can Hair Loss Be Harmful To Your Health? 

As far as the physical function of hair is concerned, it plays an important role in protecting your skin against direct sunlight. So, once you start losing a lot of hair, you might become more prone to sunburns. 

Additionally, the hair also provides a cushion of sorts against blunt trauma. So, a lack of it can also make you more vulnerable to injuries. 

Other than its physical impact, it can have a negative impact on your mental health, which can affect the overall quality of your life. 

How Is Hair Loss Diagnosed? 

Usually, dermatologists are consulted for hair loss diagnosis. For that, they’ll ask you about your: 

  • General health 
  • Eating habits 
  • Lifestyle 
  • Family history of hair loss 
  • Rate and amount of hair loss 

In addition, they’re going to perform a physical exam to check the condition of your skin and see if there’s a pattern to the hair loss. 

To detect bacterial and fungal infections, a Wood lamp examination might also be done. In addition, there’s a hair pull test to see if you’re really losing an abnormal amount of hair. 

Other than that, some lab tests might also be required, such as a complete blood count, hormone testing, culture test, X-ray, MRI, or even a biopsy. 

When To See A Doctor For Your Hair Loss? 

If you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, you should make sure to get in touch with your doctor. However, this is especially important if hair loss is accompanied by other symptoms, such as: 

  • Tiredness
  • Brittle nails 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Rashes
  • Weight changes

If you’re losing hair due while being on a certain medication or treatment, do not discontinue it without consulting your doctor.

What Are The Treatments for Hair Loss? 

Your doctor will develop a treatment plan for you after they’ve obtained an accurate and comprehensive picture of your problem. It could consist of any of the following: 

Hair loss treatment
Hair Transplant for Genetic Hair Loss

Keep in mind that these treatments don’t work for everyone. And for medications like minoxidil and finasteride, you have to keep using them to see results. 

If none of these treatments works, you can also consider getting a scalp tattoo or wearing a wig

A study published in the Skin Appendage Disorders also reports “alternative” therapies for hair loss, such as: 

  • Ayurveda 
  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Hair oils 
  • Herbal extracts

However, researchers warn that there’s not enough scientific evidence to back their effectiveness. Additionally, these “treatments” carry a risk of skin irritation, which can result in more hair loss. 

It’s also important to note that many hair products, such as shampoos, conditioners, serums, and masks, are marketed for “hair loss.” Again, they might not do anything for you if they’re helping with the underlying cause of hair loss. 

The same goes for vitamin supplements.

How Can Hair Loss Be Prevented? 

It’s not always possible to prevent hair loss. However, sometimes, it can be avoided. To do that, make sure that you: 

  • Eat healthy, nutritious meals. 
  • Don’t tie your hair too tightly. 
  • Avoid excessive use of heat-styling tools. 
  • Keep your hair clean. 
  • Avoid sharing your hairbrush and hats

While you may not be able to avoid them, you can prevent the progression of certain alopecias by getting early treatment. 


Considering how important hair is as a part of our identity, losing hair can be very upsetting. So, it’s very important that you seek the help of a medical professional if you’re experiencing something similar. 

Keep in mind that there are many myths surrounding hair loss. For instance, you might’ve had someone tell you to take vitamins to stop your hair loss. The truth is unless you’re suffering from a vitamin deficiency, those supplements aren’t going to help. 

There are many different types and causes of hair loss. And you should only start treatment after getting an accurate diagnosis. 

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