Common Causes of Hair Loss

Written By Wilfredo Allen on Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 7:00 PM


Except for a brief hiatus in the 90s when beautiful bald models seemed cool, hair never really got out of style. Short, long, curly or straight was and still is every woman's crowning glory, defining their style, reflecting their mood and even mirroring how they felt about themselves. So imagine any woman's distress at realizing that their crown is thinning. To truly understand the condition, learn the most common causes of female hair loss:

Hormones and genetics
If hair loss patterns are present in some members of your immediate family, there is a chance that it could happen to you, too. Hair grows in cycles and has a growth phase that lasts from 2 to 6 years. After this period it 'rests' and doesn't grow, after which it begins to fall out to make way for new hair. As long as you're healthy and there are no external factors that affect your hair, it will go through this cycle even as you grow older.

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The problem is that with female hair, hormones and genetics can sometimes create a one-two punch. Certain types of hormones called androgens can sometimes get in the way of the hair growth cycle. These include testosterone, dihydrotestosterone or DHT and androsteinedione, all of which are present in women's bodies, albeit in tiny amounts. If you are predisposed to women's hair problems, testosterone in your body that mixes with enzymes found in your hair cells can produce androgen DHT. This enzyme builds up in the hair follicle and cause it to shrink. This action then prevents the hair from growing normally. In time, androgen DHT may even cause hair follicles to die, resulting in baldness in the affected area. Hormones are also the prime culprit in female hair loss after giving birth. During pregnancy, a woman's body produces high levels of hormones that stops the hair from falling out. When these hormones return to their normal levels after the pregnancy, the sudden falling out of hair is experienced. This condition is thankfully, temporary.

Medication and illness
Certain drugs can sometimes lead to some female's losing hair. These include medications used to treat heart problems, hypertension, gout and heart conditions. Antidepressants and birth control pills can also cause the loss of hair in some women. It's also common for some women to lose hair a few months after experiencing an illness or undergoing surgery.

Hair trauma and abuse
Certain hair styles and habits can also lead to female hair loss. Tight ponytails, corn rows and braids, for example, can cause unnecessary hair pulling and traumatize the hair, leaving it weak and susceptible to fallouts. Certain chemicals in hair styling products and treatments can sometimes cause an allergic reaction or inflammation in the hair follicle, which can also lead to hair falling out.

Blog, Updated at: 7:00 PM

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