The 6 most common causes of hair loss

There are numerous things that can cause hair loss in both men and women, and throughout a lifetime, most of us will experience hair loss in different degrees. But what is causing your hair loss, and what can you do to prevent it? Read on and learn about some of the most common causes of hair loss.

Louise Hansen

Beauty editor

Louise previously worked as a hair dresser but chose to pursue a different career path after some years. Today, Louise works as a freelance beauty editor with an educational background from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Copenhagen.Read more about the author.

Everyone loses hairs. This might happen when you wash your hair, when you dry it with the blow dryer, or when you treat your mane of hair to a couple of quick strokes with your hairbrush. Losing hair here and there, now and again, is quite common. Presumably, we daily lose about 50-100 hairs on average. It is part of the natural life cycle of the hair, and usually, a new hair will replace the lost one. However, there may be several causes of hair loss, some more serious than others. This article provides an overview of all causes of hair loss and how to respond to them.

Stress and hair loss

Hair loss might be related to stress, which is one of the most common causes among both men and women. Stress and hair loss do not have to be permanent conditions. If you get your stress under control, your hair will often grow back to its healthy condition. There are three types of hair loss that may be associated with a high stress level, as described below:

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is often considered the type of hair loss most common among Danes. Stress can be the cause of hair loss, seen by an abnormally high number of hair follicles going into hibernation. When the hair follicle hibernates, the hair stops its growth and subsequently falls off the scalp. In other words, you will lose large amounts of hair within a few months.


Trichotillomania is an irresistible urge to pull hairs out of your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, legs, or other areas of your body. Plucking the hairs can be a way to deal with negative or unpleasant emotions, such as stress, tension, loneliness, boredom or frustration. Most commonly, you develop the habit of pulling on your eyelashes and eyebrows.

Alopecia areata

A number of factors are thought to cause alopecia areata, including stress. Alopecia areata causes the body's immune system to weaken in the hair follicles and can be a cause of hair loss.

Hereditary hairloss

Genetic hair loss is known as androgenetic alopecia and is believed to be one of the most common causes of hair loss in men. The disorder can be inherited from either your mother's or father's side of the family, and there is a greater probability of getting it if both of your parents experience hair loss. In women, there is a tendency to thinning hair at the top of the head whereas in men, androgenic alopecia occurs most at the temples. In some cases, hair loss may be diffuse, which means it is spread throughout the scalp. The same tendency is particularly pronounced in men, where hair loss is seen at the temples and at the top of the head.


Many Danes, in general more women than men, suffer from hypothyroidism, which is a thyroid disorder. This thyroid disease can be a cause of hair loss. When your body produces too little thyroid hormone, which is the hormone responsible for regulating the metabolism, pulse, and mood, it is ascribable to hypothyroidism or to a thyroid gland with lowered function. If your body produces too much of the hormone, it is ascribable to hyperthyroidism or to an overactive thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone is responsible for everything from your basic metabolic function, which causes oxygen and energy in the body to work, to the growth of your hair, skin, and nails.

Hair loss and vitamin deficiency


A low intake of zinc is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies that can cause hair loss in women and men. Zinc is responsible for accelerating the regeneration of skin and hair cells, because it generates important enzymatic functions in the body, including hair growth. Zinc is also responsible for helping the body grow new hairs, and zinc deficiency is usually a cause of early hair loss in men and women. To have your zinc intake covered, make sure you take a dietary supplement, preferably one especially beneficial for hair, or eat more foods like nuts, seeds, oysters, eggs, and lentils which are all especially rich in zinc. If you do not eat these foods, you probably should take a dietary supplement.

Vitamin B deficiency and hair loss

One sign of biotin deficiency and Vitamin B deficiency may be hair loss. A deficiency can be due to smoking, decreased liver function, or pregnancy. To prevent hair loss caused by Vitamin B deficiency, you can supplement your diet with foods especially rich in essential B vitamins, which evidently could be relevant for men and women with vitamin B deficiency and who experience hair loss. These foods could be eggs, beef, chicken, avocado, legumes, nuts, and potatoes. Additionally, it may be a good idea to make sure the body gets extra B vitamins in combination with other important nutrients, since this increases the absorption of the B vitamins and thereby the effect of these.

Read about the most important vitamins for hair and healthy hair growth here.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder which causes the immune system to attack the hair follicles. This occurs equally in men and women. The cause of hair loss caused by Alopecia areata may be triggered by stress or a period of illness. Alopecia areata often causes bald spots in the scalp, the eyebrows or on the legs.

Excessive styling

Using too much shampoo, too many styling products and too much hair dye can damage and destroy your hair and be a reason for hair loss. Heat and chemicals weaken the hair, which can make it break or fall off. That is why you should, as much as you can, avoid using heaters that overheat your hair. Put your hair dryer on cooler and lower settings, and minimize the use of flat iron straighteners and curling irons. Avoid dyeing your hair more than one or two shades different from your normal hair colour. The more significant the colour change, the more chemicals will be used.

Hair loss can be due to many different reasons. If your hair loss has been going on for a long time, or if you suspect your hair loss is due to stress or similar reasons, it might be a good idea to get a hold of your doctor to maybe get the correct diagnosis.

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