Everyone loses hair somehow. It may happen during your morning shower, while you are trying to comb it or blow it dry, or give it a quick brush, and that’s normal.
According to a New York City dermatologist, Francesca Fusco, MD, who specializes in hair loss, on average, we lose fifty to a hundred hairs a day and when washed, you can lose as much as 250 strands. She said:
“That’s just hair going through its cycles, and there will be a new one to replace it.”
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Although hair loss may seem like a more prominent problem in men, women are nearly as likely to lose or have thinning hair. Most women notice it in their 50s or 60s, but it can happen at any age and for a variety of reasons
This notwithstanding, no one loves to lose his or her hair. Knowing why your hair is falling off could be a good way to either know how to control it or prevent it from falling off.
Possible Reasons Your Hair Is Falling Off
Excess Intake Of Vitamin A
Ever heard the saying that too much of everything is bad? Well, that is the case here. As good as vitamin A is to your body and immune system, too much of it could actually cause harm to your hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, overdose of vitamin A, supplements or medications can trigger hair loss. This is reversible because once the excess vitamin A is halted, hair should grow normally.
Lack Of Protein
If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body may ration protein by shutting down hair growth and this can happen about two to three months after a drop in protein intake. So you may check your protein intake if you are losing your hair and adjust if need be.
Are you physically or emotionally stressed in any way? This could be a possible reason for your hair loss. Any kind of physical or emotional trauma, surgery, the death of a loved one, a car accident, divorce, a severe illness, even common fever or flu can cause temporary hair loss. This can trigger a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium.
Hair has a programmed life cycle: a growth phase, rest phase and shedding phase.
“When you have a really stressful event, it can shock the hair cycle, (pushing) more hair into the shedding phase. Hair loss often becomes noticeable three-to-six months after the trauma. The good news is that hair will start growing back as your body recovers.”
Your hair loss could actually be inherited. For the men, it is called male pattern baldness and the female version is called androgenic or androgenetic alopecia. About two out of three men experience hair loss by age 60, and most of the time it’s due to male pattern baldness.
This type of hair loss, caused by a combo of genes and male sex hormones, usually follows a classic pattern in which the hair recedes at the temples, leaving an M-shaped hairline. Unlike men, women don’t tend to have a receding hairline, instead, their part may widen and they may have noticeable thinning of hair. If you come from a family where women started to have hair loss at a certain age, then you might be more prone to it
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Pregnancy is an example of the type of physical stress that can cause hair loss. Pregnancy-related hair loss is seen more commonly after your baby has been delivered rather than actually during pregnancy.
If this is your case, no need to worry. It is a normal thing and it will work its way out, as your hair will grow back in a couple of months.
Birth Control Pills/Hormonal Imbalance
Just as pregnancy hormone changes can cause hair loss, so can switching or going off birth-control pills. This can also cause telogen effluvium. The change in the hormonal balance that occurs at menopause may also have the same result.
The androgen (male hormone) receptors on the scalp becomes activated and the hair follicles will miniaturize and then you start to lose more hair. Stopping oral contraceptives can also sometimes cause hair loss, but this is temporary. If this is the problem, switch back or simply talk to your doctor about other birth control types.
Almost one in 10 women aged 20 through 49 suffers from anemia due to an iron deficiency (the most common type of anemia), which is an easily fixable cause of hair loss. You doctor will have to do a blood test to determine for sure if you have this type of anemia.
In addition to hair loss, other symptoms of anemia include fatigue, headache, dizziness, pale skin, and cold hands and feet. A simple iron supplement should correct the problem.
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Vitamin B deficiency
Vitamin B deficiency is another correctable cause of hair loss. And just like anemia, simple supplementation should help the problem. So can dietary changes. Natural vitamin B can be found in fish, meat, starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruits.
As always, eating a balanced diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein and “good” fats such as avocado and nuts will be good for your hair and your overall health.
Sudden/Unusual Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss is a form of physical trauma that can result in thinning hair. This could happen even if the weight loss is ultimately good for you. It’s possible that the weight loss itself is stressing your body or that not eating right can result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Loss of hair along with noticeable weight loss may also be a sign of eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Since sudden weight loss seems to shock the system, you may have a six-month period of hair loss and then it corrects itself.
Some of the drugs used to beat back cancer, unfortunately, can also cause your hair to fall out. Chemotherapy is like a nuclear bomb that rapidly destroys dividing cells (cancer cells) but also rapidly destroys hair cells. Once chemotherapy is stopped, your hair will grow back although often it will come back with a different texture (perhaps curly when before it was straight) or a different colour.
Studies reviewed by a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has found a relationship between scalp-pulling hair styles and gradual hair loss (traction alopecia). According to the research, hairstyles can cause damage to the hair follicle because of tension at the hair root and this is common among African and African-American women