What causes hair loss?

There are many causes of hair loss which include:

  • Male pattern baldness (hereditary)
  • Alopecia
  • Side effect of certain medications
  • Ageing
  • Lifestyle factors such as diet and smoking
  • Pollution and other environmental factors
  • Medical conditions such as an under/over active thyroid
  • Overuse of hair products
  • Tight hair styles such as braids and ponytails
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • The wearing of a turban (Sikh men only)

Each of these is discussed in greater detail in both our Male/Female Hair Loss sections.

You lose hair on a daily basis as part of your body’s normal hair growth cycle. Hair is produced by your follicles – bulb shaped structures underneath the skin which contain blood vessels necessary for the growth of hair strands.

These hair strands are lubricated by an oil called sebum which is produced by your sebaceous glands. These glands are attached to the follicles. The more glands you have the thicker your hair.

Your hair goes through a normal growth/loss cycle which is composed of three phases:

  • Anagen (growing) phase
  • Telogen (resting) phase
  • Catagen (shedding) phase

This cycle results in a loss of 100 hairs each day. But if you notice an excessive amount of hair loss, patchy hair loss or problems with the condition of your hair then visit your GP.

Your GP will examine your hair and may refer you for tests in order to determine the cause of your hair loss.

If you are a man then your hair loss may be purely genetic. Male pattern baldness is very common in men, especially if this has been experienced by the male side of your family.

Male pattern baldness is discussed further in the next question.

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