top of page

Common Causes of Hair Loss

There are a number of reasons for hair loss, including chemotherapy treatment, a variety of forms of alopecia, and health or medication. Read through the causes below to help better understand your hair loss.


Alopecia is a medical condition characterized by hair loss, which can manifest in various forms affecting different parts of the body. The most common type, androgenetic alopecia, is hereditary and leads to gradual thinning of hair on the scalp. Another form, alopecia areata, is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks hair follicles, resulting in patchy hair loss on the scalp or elsewhere. Alopecia totalis involves complete hair loss on the scalp, while alopecia universalis extends to hair loss across the entire body. Scarring alopecia occurs when hair follicles are replaced with scar tissue, preventing new hair growth. Causes of alopecia can include genetics, hormonal changes, autoimmune diseases, stress, medications, or medical treatments. like chemotherapy. Treatment options vary depending on the type and underlying cause.

Stress & Trauma

Physical or emotional stress can trigger hair loss whether people are predestined to lose hair or not. The effect of stress-induced hair loss is not permanent for women who do not have hereditary loss. Stress can trigger long-term hair loss for those women who are pre-disposed to hair loss. Drastic weight loss, severe illness, extreme sports training, loss of a loved one or other emotional stresses can cause hair loss. During periods of severe stress, the body simply shuts down the production of hair to focus energy on repairing vital organs. Hair loss may occur 1-3 months after an illness or surgery. The hair shifts into a resting phase and the re-growth cycle may be altered for 6 months or longer. Long-term health issues such as anemia, low blood counts and thyroid conditions can also contribute to hair loss and should be diagnosed by your physician.

Chemotherapy Drugs & Radiation Treatment

Hair loss is a common side effect experienced by individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These treatments, while effective in targeting and destroying cancer cells, also impact rapidly dividing cells in the body, including those in hair follicles. As a result, patients often notice significant hair thinning or complete hair loss, not only on their scalp but also in other body areas like eyebrows and eyelashes. The extent and timing of hair loss vary depending on the type and dosage of treatment received. While the prospect of losing hair can be distressing for many patients, it is often temporary, and regrowth typically begins once treatment concludes. Various supportive measures, such as topical scalp treatments or the use of wigs and scarves, can help individuals cope with the aesthetic changes during this challenging period.

Pseudopelade or Follicular Degeneration

This is common in African American women who do a lot of relaxers and cosmetic treatments to their scalp such as cornrows, braids and weaves. With years of perming (relaxers), using strong colourants and harsh chemicals on the scalp, the result can have a negative effect on the hair follicles deep in the scalp and cause the hair to scar, and eventually loosen the hair follicle.


Trichotillomania is a mental health condition characterized by a recurrent and compulsive urge to pull out one's hair, leading to noticeable hair loss and distress. Individuals with trichotillomania often experience tension or anxiety before pulling their hair and a sense of relief or gratification afterward. The condition can affect hair anywhere on the body but is most commonly observed on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Trichotillomania is classified as an impulse control disorder and can have significant social, emotional, and psychological consequences, including shame, embarrassment, and avoidance of social situations. Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to address the underlying triggers and habits, along with medication in some cases to manage associated symptoms like anxiety or depression. Early intervention and ongoing support are essential for managing trichotillomania effectively and improving overall quality of life.

Health and Medications

Hair loss due to health conditions or medication can manifest in various forms and severity levels, impacting individuals physically and emotionally. Certain health conditions, such as thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and nutritional deficiencies, can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, leading to excessive shedding or thinning. Additionally, some medications, including certain chemotherapy drugs, anticoagulants, and antidepressants, may have hair loss as a side effect. Depending on the underlying cause, hair loss may be temporary or long-term. Managing hair loss related to health conditions often involves treating the underlying issue, adjusting medication regimens, or supplementing with nutrients essential for hair growth. While the prospect of losing hair can be distressing, understanding the underlying cause and working closely with healthcare providers can help individuals navigate this aspect of their health journey with greater confidence and resilience.

bottom of page