Hair loss affects thousands of people across the UK, but what causes it?
Numerous factors may be to blame, from the natural effects of ageing to hereditary conditions and certain medications.
In some cases, hair loss can be treated through medical solutions.
In others, though, cutting-edge hair transplant technologies and techniques enable specialist teams to restore growth with natural results that stand the test of time.
One of the most important aspects of identifying the right treatment options is understanding the reason for your own hair loss.
We’ll help you do just that with this guide, as we explore various common causes of hair loss.
How Does Hair Loss Happen?
Hair loss in small quantities is normal and healthy.
We all experience it every single day: you may spot one or two hairs on the shower floor after shampooing, or even find a couple on your pillow first thing in the morning.
But this is nothing to worry about — the average person actually sheds between 50 and 150 hairs daily.
It’s all part of the natural hair growth cycle, which comprises multiple stages:
This is the first phase in the human hair growth cycle.
Cells within hair bulbs divide quickly to create new growth, and between 80 and 90 per cent of your hair follicles are involved in this stage of the cycle at any one time.
The anagen stage tends to last from two to seven years, and determines your hair’s maximum length (so those with long hair will experience a long anagen stage). Other types of hair (eyebrows, eyelashes, etc.) have shorter anagen phases — you can only imagine how strange we’d all look if that wasn’t the case!
Your genetics, diet, health status, and age all determine the length of your own anagen stage.
During the catagen phase, hairs stop growing and detach themselves from the body’s bloodstream.
They become “club hairs”, and stay in place until the time comes for the body to shed them naturally.
Club hairs rest in the scalp throughout the telogen phase, while fresh hairs form beneath them. Eventually, these will push closer to the surface and replace existing club hairs, ensuring constant growth of strong new strands.
Finally, hairs are shed during the exogen stage.
Club hairs which have been resting are pushed out by their replacements, where they may be found in the shower, on floors, on your bedsheets, etc.
Remember: some hair loss is perfectly normal and healthy, but if you notice a sudden change to the number of hairs you leave behind during the day or night, you may be experiencing more extreme hair loss.
In this case, one of the following causes may be to blame.
Causes of hair loss
A certain type of male hormone (androgens) can have a significant impact on hair growth, leading to androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness (MPB).
Stress can have an impact on our physical wellbeing by disrupting your immune system. It can affect normal hair growth too – various types of stress-induced hair loss may be to blame for unusual or accelerated thinning.
The genes and hormones are not enough to cause androgenetic hair loss instantly — this process takes time, during which any follicles susceptible become exposed to the problematic male hormones.
Hair loss may occur as a symptom of a medical condition, or as a side effect of treatment or medication.