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The Top Causes of Hair Loss 

Mar 24, 2024

4 min read

Your complete guide to understanding the lifestyle changes, daily habits,  and medical reasons that lead to hair loss.

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A close-up of a woman’s neck; her hair is swept over her shoulder, revealing a few loose strands of fallen hair.
Jyoti Kumari- Fluent Health



Picture waking up and seeing more hair on your pillow than usual or noticing a big chunk in your shower drain — pretty scary, right? But don’t let that get to you. Hair fall is far more regular than we think; however, figuring out the causes of hair loss is crucial. By looking at both the medical and lifestyle aspects linked to hair fall, we can learn how to keep our hair healthy.  

Let's check out the different things that make hair fall happen and understand how we can handle it correctly.

Medical hair fall causes 

There are many medical reasons for hair falling out; some of the most prominent ones are hormonal imbalances, dietary deficiencies, and certain medical conditions leading to increased signs of hair loss. 

Let’s understand each of these factors in detail.

Hormonal imbalances 

Hormones control almost all bodily functions, including hair growth. When hormones like DHT and thyroid fluctuate, hair can fall out more. Conditions like PCOS and prostate cancer can also cause hormonal imbalances that impact your hair.

Nutritional deficiencies

Just like our body needs good food to stay healthy, our hair also needs proper nutrition. A balance of vitamins, minerals, and proteins is crucial for healthy hair. 

Not getting the appropriate nutrients can lead to hair loss. Some critical deficiencies linked to hair loss include:

  • Iron: Low iron levels, common in women with hair loss, might trigger hair fall.
  • Vitamin D: Not having enough vitamin D can also lead to hair loss, especially in people with thinning hair.
  • B Vitamins: Deficiencies in riboflavin, biotin, folate, and, more importantly, vitamin B12 are associated with hair loss. Vegetarians or vegans generally need B12 as it's more readily available in meat products.

Zinc: Low zinc levels can cause hair loss. People with certain hair loss conditions often have lower zinc levels.

Medical conditions 

Certain health conditions can lead to increased hair fall, affecting the natural growth cycle. Hair falling out due to medical reasons can be broadly classified under the following: 

  • Alopecia Areata: This autoimmune disease causes hair to fall out in small patches, usually on the scalp. 
  • Telogen Effluvium: Occurs a few months after an episode of significant physical or mental stress, like a severe illness, surgery or post-partum. Hair fall occurs all over the scalp during this period.
  • Androgenetic Alopecia: The most common cause of hair loss globally, it affects both men and women. It's linked to factors like ageing, hereditary predisposition, and changes in the hormone testosterone.

Medications, illnesses, infections, and physical or emotional stress can contribute to hair loss. If you're dealing with extreme hair fall, consult a healthcare professional to diagnose your hair fall symptoms and receive the proper treatment.

Lifestyle changes that cause hair loss 

Poor daily habits play a significant role in causing hair fall. These include switches in your diet or water intake, the stress you experience on a daily basis, and unsuitable haircare practices that can do more harm than good.

Diet and hydration

Aside from genetic factors, lifestyle and nutritional imbalances can also contribute to non-genetic and non-androgenic hair loss. Therefore, maintaining healthy hair depends on good nutrition and staying hydrated.

Vitamin D, zinc, and B vitamins are crucial. A balanced diet with enough protein and minerals is vital for promoting healthy hair. Include fatty fish, eggs, lean meats, nuts, and seeds to support healthier hair.

Stress and hair fall 

When stress levels go up, so can hair loss. Managing stress through activities like yoga, deep breathing, or spending time doing things you love is good for your mind and your hair.

Hair care practices 

Small changes in your habits go a long way in preventing unnecessary hair fall.  Common mistakes to avoid include over-brushing, using hot water for washing hair, and tight hairstyles that pull on the hair. Use mild shampoos, avoid excessive heat styling, and be gentle when brushing or de-tangling.

Using hard water to wash hair also causes increased hair fall. This is the reason why sometimes change in place increases hair fall significantly. This can be corrected by using hard water filters and by avoiding harsh soaps for washing hair.

Environmental factors 

Living in areas with heavy pollution and harsh weather can also contribute to hair fall signs. Protect your hair by covering it when exposed to extreme conditions, and consider using products that shield it from environmental stressors.

Healthy habits for happier hair 

Making simple lifestyle changes can have a substantial positive impact on reducing hair fall causes. Start by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and finding healthy ways to manage stress. These minor tweaks make a big difference that your hair will thank you for.

When to seek professional help?

A little care may help your hair stay gorgeous and robust for a very long time because your hair is an essential part of who you are. Knowing the reasons behind hair loss is the first step towards having happier and healthier hair. Adopt a hair-friendly lifestyle, pay attention to your routines, and don't be afraid to consult a professional if hair fall symptoms are persistent.

Medically Reviewed By:
Dr Kiran Chahal - Dermatologist, Cosmetologist and Hair transplant surgeon

Jyoti Kumari- Fluent Health

Jyoti Kumari is the co-founder of Little Duck Productions, which lets her travel the country in search of offbeat experiences. Based out of Pune, she previously headed a wellness app and was the Managing Editor at Condé Nast Traveller. She's also written a collection of short stories and spent years editing books. When she’s not planning her next meal, she can be found at home with her husband, 5 cats, and one dog.

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