12 Common Causes Of Hair Loss In Men And Women

a man is combing his hair with his hands


Hair loss can be hereditary, with genes playing a significant role in determining if and when someone will experience it. The inheritance of certain genes can make individuals more prone to conditions like male or female pattern baldness. Family history often plays a crucial role in predicting one’s likelihood of experiencing hair loss. Understanding genetic predispositions can help individuals take proactive steps in managing their hair health.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal imbalances, such as during pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disorders, can lead to hair loss. Fluctuations in hormone levels can disrupt the natural hair growth cycle, leading to shedding or thinning. Pregnancy, for example, often causes an increase in estrogen levels, which can result in thicker hair during pregnancy but excessive shedding postpartum. Monitoring hormonal health and seeking medical advice for any imbalances can help prevent or manage hair loss related to hormonal changes.


Psychological or physical stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle, causing excessive shedding. Stress-induced hair loss, known as telogen effluvium, occurs when stressors push a large number of hair follicles into a resting phase, leading to increased hair shedding a few months later. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, adequate sleep, and a healthy lifestyle can help maintain a healthy hair growth cycle.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Lack of essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and vitamins can impact hair health leading to thinning or loss. Proper nutrition is essential for healthy hair growth, as hair follicles require a variety of nutrients to function optimally. Iron deficiency, for instance, can lead to anemia and subsequent hair loss. A balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins is crucial for maintaining strong and vibrant hair.

Medical Conditions

Conditions like alopecia areata, scalp infections, or autoimmune diseases can trigger significant hair loss. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss in patches, while scalp infections, such as ringworm, can lead to hair breakage and thinning. Understanding and treating underlying medical conditions is essential in addressing hair loss associated with these health issues.


Some drugs, especially chemotherapy medications, can cause hair to fall out as a side effect. Chemotherapy drugs target rapidly dividing cells, which include hair follicles, leading to hair loss during cancer treatment. Other medications like anticoagulants, retinoids, and antidepressants may also contribute to hair thinning. Consulting healthcare providers about potential side effects and exploring alternative treatments can help mitigate medication-induced hair loss.


As people age, hair follicles can weaken, leading to thinning and eventual loss of hair. Age-related hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia, is a common condition characterized by progressive thinning of hair in both men and women. Changes in hormone levels and decreased hair follicle activity contribute to age-related hair loss. While aging is a natural process, adopting a healthy lifestyle and using targeted hair care products can help maintain hair density and quality as individuals get older.

Hairstyling Habits

Excessive heat styling, tight hairstyles, or harsh chemicals can damage the hair shaft and cause breakage. Overuse of styling tools like flat irons and curling wands can weaken the hair shaft, leading to breakage and thinning. Tight hairstyles like braids or ponytails can cause traction alopecia, a condition where constant pulling damages hair follicles. Opting for heat protectants, gentle styling techniques, and regular trims can help prevent damage from hairstyling habits.


Smoking restricts blood flow to the hair follicles, potentially leading to hair loss. The toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke constrict blood vessels, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. This diminished blood supply can weaken hair strands and inhibit healthy hair growth. Quitting smoking and adopting a smoke-free lifestyle can improve overall hair health and promote regrowth in individuals experiencing smoking-related hair loss.

Environmental Factors

Pollution, exposure to UV radiation, and other environmental factors can stress the hair and scalp, contributing to hair loss. Environmental pollutants and UV radiation can damage the hair cuticle, leading to dryness, breakage, and color fading. Protecting the hair with hats, scarves, or specialized UV-protective products can help shield it from environmental stressors. Regular cleansing and conditioning routines can also help remove buildup and maintain scalp health against environmental aggressors.

Weight Loss

Rapid weight loss or nutritional deficiencies due to extreme diets can result in temporary hair shedding. Drastic changes in weight or nutrient intake can shock the body, causing hair to enter a resting phase and shed more quickly than usual. Gradual and sustainable weight loss plans, coupled with a well-rounded diet, can support overall health and minimize the risk of weight loss-related hair shedding. Consulting with a healthcare provider or nutritionist can help individuals achieve weight loss goals without compromising hair health.

Autoimmune Factors

Conditions like lupus or untreated celiac disease can cause the immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss. Autoimmune disorders can trigger an immune response against hair follicles, resulting in alopecia and other types of hair loss. Managing underlying autoimmune conditions through medication, lifestyle modifications, and regular monitoring can help control immune activity and preserve hair health. Seeking timely medical intervention and support from specialists is essential for individuals experiencing autoimmune-related hair loss.

Erica Delaney

An experienced nurse, Erica focuses on subjects related to pregnancy and infant health. She enjoys dancing and playing the piano in her free time.