Causes of Hair Loss in Women That Have Nothing to Do With Age

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Losing hair can be a silent process, catching you off guard and leaving you wondering what went wrong. From everyday to the unexpected, various factors contribute to hair loss, let’s delve into the intricacies of hair growth and explore the everyday culprits behind significant thinning in women.

The Phases of Hair Growth

Before unraveling the mysteries of hair loss, it’s crucial to understand the three phases of hair growth: anagen (growth), catagen (transitional), and telogen (resting and shedding). Losing more than the average 50-100 hairs per day, especially with changes in texture or thickness, might signal an underlying issue.

If hair doesn’t return to normal fullness within six months of excessive shedding or if you notice widening at your part, bald spots, or thinning, consulting a dermatologist is crucial. A thorough examination and medical history review, including relevant lab tests, can unveil the root cause, allowing for a personalized hair loss treatment plan. Dermatologist visits aside, here are some common reasons for hair loss.

Genetic Factors and Hormonal Imbalances

Androgenetic alopecia, or female pattern hair loss, is a hereditary concern triggered by a blend of genetic and hormonal factors. Research suggests that the DHT hormone, for instance, can overstimulate hair follicles and potentially lead to gradual thinning and shorter growth cycles. Recognizable signs include a widening parting and widespread thinning, with the frontal hairline usually intact.

Fluctuating androgen levels, associated with conditions like PCOS and perimenopause, can contribute to hair thinning as well. Elevated androgen levels and subsequent hair follicle shrinkage lead to finer, more brittle hair.

Traction Alopecia and Frequent Heat Styling

Constantly sporting tight hairstyles like buns, ponytails, or braids can lead to traction alopecia. The persistent tension damages and inflames hair follicles, resulting in weakened follicles and potential permanent hair loss. Signs include thinning along the frontal hairline or sides of the scalp.

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Frequent heat styling or chemical treatments pose a risk of developing trichorrhexis nodosa, a hair shaft disorder causing breakage. Underlying factors like nutritional deficiencies or genetic predispositions may contribute. Symptoms involve frayed, brittle hair with increased breakage and potential patches of thinning.

Folliculitis and Autoimmune Diseases

Folliculitis, an inflammation of hair follicles, can result from physical irritation or infection. In severe cases, this could eventually lead to scarring or permanent hair loss. Symptoms include acne-like bumps or pustules surrounding affected follicles.

Certain autoimmune disorders, such as alopecia areata or discoid lupus erythematosus, can cause the immune system to attack hair follicles, resulting in bald patches or permanent hair loss.