6 surprising causes of hair loss
Hair loss can be extremely frustrating as often the cause is unknown. Here are 6 surprising reasons your hair may be falling out.
Why do we lose our hair?
Although annoying, hair loss is an inevitable part of life. On average we have around 100,000 hair follicles on our heads and losing between 100-120 hairs per day is a natural part of our hair's growth cycle. However, for some people, the amount of hair they lose is much greater than normal and not understanding why can be frustrating. Some find it embarrassing to discuss this topic, so might not have the necessary information they need to tackle this problem.
Is age really just a number?
As we age, our hair follicles become less productive, resulting in a change in the colour and thickness of our hair. Our genetic makeup plays a big role in the likelihood of us losing our hair. Hereditary-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss and can be inherited from either your mother or father’s side of the family. However, as well as age and genetics there are a variety of other factors that can contribute to hair loss - many of which may surprise you!
1. A hormone imbalance
An imbalance in certain hormones in both male and females can lead to hair loss. High levels of testosterone in men can have a negative effect on hair growth and cause hair loss. In women, hormonal imbalances can also negatively affect hair growth. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects the way the ovaries work. PCOS can increase the amount of body hair produced but can also decrease the amount of hair on the scalp. Postpartum, many women experience thinning hair or hair loss due to an imbalance in oestrogen levels after giving birth. The menopause causes many hormonal changes in a woman and many experience thinning hair or hair loss. Our Hair Loss Checks include tests for key hormones testosterone, FSH and LH to see if a hormone imbalance could be to blame.
Stress can affect our health in many different ways. As well as increasing our risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, prolonged emotional stress or a physical trauma to the body such as surgery can cause telogen effluvium. This causes hair follicles to prematurely stop growing and shed the hair. Although easier said than done, if hair loss is due to stress, reducing stress will often result in hair growing back over time.
3. Autoimmune disease
An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body, mistaking them as harmful. Autoimmune conditions can cause hair loss in some people. Thyroid hormones T4 and TSH are included in our new Hair Loss Checks to see if an underlying thyroid disorder could be to blame. Alopecia areata is another example of an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. The antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is included in the Hair Loss Check Plus to help evaluate a person for autoimmune disorders. A test for CRP is also included to check for any inflammation in the body.
4. Low iron levels
Iron is required in the body to produce haemoglobin - a protein vital for carrying oxygen around in the blood. Hair follicles require haemoglobin to grow and remain healthy, so when an iron deficiency occurs, this often results in slow hair growth and hair loss. Within the body, iron is stored in a protein called ferritin, low ferritin levels in the blood can indicate low iron levels. We have included a test for ferritin within our Hair Loss Checks to allow our customers to check to see if low iron levels are the problem.
5. A mineral deficiency
We obtain minerals from the foods we eat and they are essential for the body to effectively carry out daily functions and processes. Selenium is a mineral that plays an important role in promoting hair health whilst zinc is vital for the health of the hair follicles and the hair's growth cycle. Because both of these minerals are important in the health of our hair, we have included tests for selenium and zinc in our Hair Loss Check Plus to see if a mineral deficiency could be to blame for your hair loss.
Although they may help us achieve beautiful looking hair, excessive use of hair dyes, blow dryers, straighteners and curlers can lead to weak, brittle hair that may fall out more easily. Going a little easier on the styling products, letting your hair air dry and using leave-in conditioners can all help to improve the strength of your hair. The chemicals within hair pastes, wax and gels can react with the hairs natural components and affect the hair's growth cycle, so make sure you give your hair a break from these every now and again.
Introducing our new range of Hair Loss Checks!
Often it can be very difficult to identify the cause of hair loss and we understand that it can be frustrating and difficult to identify why you are losing more hair than usual. Because of this, we have developed our Hair Loss Check and Hair Loss Check Advanced - two profiles specially developed to help identify any health issues that could be causing hair loss.
Tests include key hormones testosterone and SHBG to check for any imbalances, TSH and T4 to monitor your thyroid health and ferritin to investigate your iron status. The Hair Loss Check Advanced also tests for antinuclear antibodies to see if an autoimmune condition could be to blame, key minerals selenium and serum zinc levels help identify if a deficiency is the cause of the problem. This profile also includes a number of important health markers such as kidney and liver function, protein levels and a full blood count to assess your overall state of health.
Don’t let your hair loss stress you out (after all, stress could make it worse!), take advantage of our new profiles and order your test today.