For many men and women, their hair is an instrumental part of their confidence in their appearance. If you start to notice your hair thinning, it can be truly heartbreaking, especially if you don’t know why it’s happening or what to do to stop it.
Our team at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta has advanced knowledge in both men’s and women’s hair loss, including operating the first clinic exclusively for women’s hair loss in Georgia. To help you better understand why your hair may be thinning, our experts are revealing the most common causes of hair loss.
Male Pattern Hair Loss or Female Pattern Hair Loss
The vast majority of hair loss comes from simple genetics. Your follicles gradually shrink over time, eventually reaching a point when they stop producing hair altogether. This is called male pattern hair loss or female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia.
This type of hair loss can happen to anyone but it progresses differently in men and women. In men, the hair loss usually starts at the temples, the front of the scalp, or the crown of the head. Women, on the other hand, experience thinning hair throughout their scalp without progressing to full “bald spots.”
Alopecia areata is an immune condition. It causes your body’s immune system to start attacking your hair follicles, hindering and eventually stopping their ability to grow hair. It is quite different than androgenetic alopecia and looks like small circular patches of hair loss. Some people may notice one tiny patch of hair loss, receive treatment, and never have another problem after their hair grows back. However, others may experience more severe cases and lose all of their hair completely.
Your body has a complex balance of hormones, each with different purposes and roles, and they all play a part in the way your body functions. If your body produces too much or too little of certain hormones, it can limit your follicles’ ability to produce new hair. There are a variety of treatments that can help improve hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances.
Stress is a normal part of life, but if your physical or emotional stress is excessive and prolonged, it can lead to hair loss. Improving your stress level as much as possible will improve this over time. There is also a condition called trichotillomania in which people pull or pluck their hair to cope with stress, and this can add up to noticeable and often permanent hair loss.
Certain Hairstyles and Hair Treatments
If you regularly wear your hair in hairstyles that pull your hair or put strain on your scalp such as a tight ponytail or braids, this can eventually lead to a condition called traction alopecia by damaging your follicles and their ability to produce hair. Something similar can happen because of items like head coverings on your scalp or socks around your ankles rubbing against your hair follicles repeatedly, and this is called friction alopecia. Friction alopecia can be reversed in many cases if the ongoing friction is eliminated or reduced. Certain types of hair treatments can damage your scalp after repeated use too, including perms, chemical relaxation, and color treatments. Whether the condition is temporary or permanent has much to do with how far along the damage is.
Certain Health Conditions
Some types of health conditions can affect your hair follicles directly or indirectly, resulting in hair loss. Those conditions can include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), psoriasis of the scalp, thyroid conditions, and deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals.
Inflammation in your scalp can cause your body to develop scar tissue. When this happens, the scar tissue can damage hair follicles so they can no longer grow hair. This is known as scarring alopecia.
Select Medications or Medical Treatments
It is well-known that chemotherapy treatments for cancer often lead to hair loss. There are other medications that can cause hair loss as a side effect as well.
Identifying and Treating Your Hair Loss
It’s clear that there are many potential reasons you may be losing your hair. Some of these hair loss conditions are permanent while some are temporary and many can be improved. The first step to effectively treating your hair loss is identifying why it’s happening, and we can help. Call Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to schedule your hair loss consultation today. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more insights on hair, skin, and nail health.