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5 Common Causes of Hair Loss

Your hair follows a growth cycle that includes stages of growing, resting, and shedding. Hair loss is a natural part of the cycle, and most people lose anywhere from 50-100 head hairs a day.

But maybe your hair feels thinner lately. Maybe there’s more hair in your brush than there used to be. Or maybe you see bald patches developing on your scalp. All these are signs of hair loss, and noticing them can be unnerving.

Oswald Mikell, MD, and our team at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry specialize in hair loss. Through a comprehensive exam and expert care, we can diagnose what’s causing your hair loss and help you treat it.

Regrowing your hair might be possible, and the best remedy depends on what’s causing your hair loss.

Common causes of hair loss

Everyone loses hair, but losing more than about 100 hairs each day can be a cause for concern. Too much hair shedding leads to thinning hair, receding hairlines, and eventually, baldness. Here are some of the most common causes of hair loss:

1. Genetics

Genetics is the No. 1 cause of hair loss. Known as hereditary hair loss or androgenic alopecia, this type of hair loss is inherited from your parents.

It can affect both men and women, but it’s more common among men. Male pattern androgenic alopecia starts with a receding hairline. Hair loss progresses from your hairline across the top of your head. Eventually, you may lose all your hair.

2. Immune disorders

Alopecia areata is another common cause of hair loss. It’s an immune disorder that makes your immune system attack your hair follicles, and it triggers patchy hair loss.

This type of hair loss generally occurs on your scalp, although it can affect hair anywhere on your body. Most of the time, hair grows back on its own eventually.

3. Pregnancy and menopause

Hormones also play a role in hair growth cycles. For women in particular, hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause can interfere with this cycle, causing temporary or permanent hair loss.

Pregnancy and childbirth are common causes of temporary hair loss in women. You may notice hair thinning for several months after giving birth, but hair generally begins regrowing after that. Menopause can also cause thinning hair, and it may not grow back.

4. Stress

Extreme stress — mental or physical — can lead to temporary hair loss. Stress affects your hormone levels, and you may notice hair loss beginning several months after a stressful event.

Something like a serious illness, a traumatic injury, a death, or a divorce could cause hair loss. However, in these cases, hair usually grows back on its own after a period of time.

5. Cancer treatments and medications

Chemotherapy, radiation, and other common cancer treatments may lead to hair loss. Depending on the nature of your treatment, you may lose all the hair on your head or body. Some time after treatment ends, your hair should begin to regrow, but it may not be the same as it was before.

Other diseases, such as diabetes, can also affect your hair. Certain medications, like those for arthritis, depression, and heart conditions, can contribute to hair loss, too.

Treating hair loss

Dr. Mikell and our team understand how frustrating hair loss can be, and we’re here to help you find a solution. We start by evaluating the extent of your hair loss and identifying the cause.

Many types of hair loss are temporary. In these cases, we may recommend waiting for your hair to regrow on its own before prescribing advanced hair restoration treatments.

If the hair loss is permanent, it’s best treated as early as possible. If you catch it early, you may be able to save your remaining hair by using medication. We have topical and oral medications available that can help slow hereditary hair loss.

If you want to restore lost hair, we can discuss hair transplant surgery. With this option, we may be able to take hair from other areas of your head and transplant it to your balding or thinning areas.

Hair loss is common, but you can do something about it. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry today. We have offices in Hilton Head, Okatie, and Beaufort, South Carolina.

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