Causes of Hair Loss - Hair Loss & Hair Transplant Surgery Guide

Androgenic Alopecia

Hair loss can occur in multiple areas but it is most frequently identified as a problem when hair reduction starts on the scalp and the balding process begins. Androgenic alopecia is the medical term for the progressive balding condition commonly known as male pattern baldness, though it also strikes a smaller percentage of women. The patterns of androgenic alopecia hair loss differs between sexes, with men experiencing a receding hairline and frequently going completely bald, whereas women tend to suffer from general thinning all over the scalp.

This type of baldness has a large hereditary component, with baldness passed down through families from both parents (and possibly the maternal grandmother). A ‘baldness gene’ affects approximately two thirds of the male population at some point in their lives.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the main determining factor in male pattern baldness. DHT is a metabolite of testosterone, and has significant effects on facial hair growth and the body. Science does not yet fully comprehended how DHT achieves its effects on baldness, but nevertheless the hormone causes follicular miniaturization whereby the hair shaft width becomes decreased over time.

Other forms of hair loss

Many forms of hair loss or baldness are recognized, and here are examples of the most prominent of these conditions and their causes:

  • Alopecia areata, or spot baldness, is an autoimmune disorder which can lead to hair loss either localized to a specific area or spreading to all of the body’s hairs.
  • Iron deficiency can cause thinning, but rarely full balding, of the hair in many people.
  • Scalp radiation, as endured by patients who undergo radiotherapy when suffering from particular cancers, can provoke baldness. Chemotherapy, used to treat cancerous cells, also causes hair loss, though this is a temporary state.
  • Certain mycotic or fungal infections can result in widespread hair loss.
  • Suffering from distressing trauma, such as pregnancy and childbirth, huge stress, major surgery, poisoning, unhealthy dieting or accidents can lead to telogen effluvium. This is a change to the regular hair cycle caused by physical or emotional stress or distress.
  • Hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss, especially to the outside of the eyebrows, the front or top (parietal) of the head.
  • Cicatricial alopecia can be provoked by tumours or other conditions such as sarcoidosis or lupus erythematosus.
  • Found more commonly in children, trichotillomania is hair loss caused due to sustained hair bending or pulling.