11 Things You May Not Realize Are Causing Your Hair to Fall Out (2023)


by Carolyn Steber

Between brushing out knots, and scrubbing your locks in the shower, there are plenty of normal reasons your hair is falling out. But as annoying as it is to have to deal with clogged drains or pull out the vacuum whenever you blowout your hair, it's perfectly natural to lose a decent number of strands each day.

"It is normal for the average adult to lose up to 100 hairs per day," Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of LivSo, tells Bustle. It's only when you notice a major change — like clumps falling out, or diffuse thinning on your scalp — that it may be time to see a doctor.

With all the factors that can contribute to hair loss — from health concerns to little bad habits — it can be tricky to figure out why you're losing your hair. So the more info you can provide doctors, the better. "One suggestion is to journal the process, starting with the point at which hair loss was discovered, being careful to note any changes in hair care practices or health issues. Medication and dietary changes are important to note," says Hicks-Graham. As can what you eat, your stress levels, and how you style your hair. But keep in mind that once you talk with your doctor about what the potential issue may be, you can figure out ways to make your strands strong and healthy. Here are a few possible reasons experts say you may be losing more hair than usual.


Hair That's Pulled Back Too Tightly

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If you style your hair in a way that's tightly pulled back, you may be pulling your hair out by the roots. As Hicks-Graham says, "Pulling of hair into tight styles may affect the hairline and cause thinning of the hair around the edges. Ponytails and braids are often culprits."


Too Much Heat When Styling

If you use a super hot styling tool every day, that can damage your hair. "Most of us are guilty of using heat styling tools on a daily basis," Krysta Rojas, owner of Base Salon, tells Bustle. "What really is causing damage to our hair is the temperature we have it on. Sure, it's great to get that perfect curl in a matter of two seconds, but having your tool on anything over 300 degrees is [potentially] causing some serious and irreversible damage."

If you think heat is your problem, the key is to use the tool less often, lower the tool's temperature, or simply apply a heat protectant spray first, Rojas says. These tips should help maintain your hair's health, and keep it from breaking off.


Your Purse Or Backpack

While it may sound strange, toting around a bag may cause noticeable changes in your hair's volume, too. "Ever notice that area right behind your neck that has some shorter hair and looks a bit more thinned out? Do you usually carry a bag on your shoulder everyday? Believe it or not, the two are tied," Rojas says. "You may not think much of it, but if your hair is constantly getting caught under your purse strap and you yank it out from under, your hair is going to break right off eventually." So just be aware of this habit, and try not to pull your hair if it does get stuck.

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Your Mental Health

If you have possible untreated mental health concerns, the stress can take a toll. "Mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression have been determined to inhibit the growth phase of hair and [may] be linked to excessive shedding," psychotherapist Dr. Alicia Hodge, PsyD tells Bustle. "Although anxiety is a not a direct cause of hair loss, it is related to our response to stress in our daily lives." Which is why it's so important to tend to your anxiety — perhaps by speaking to loved ones or seeing a therapist, or trying a few stress-reducing hobbies — before it starts impacting your health.


A Hair Pulling Habit

Anxiety can affect your hair's health from the inside. But anxious habits can play a role on the outside, too. "Frequent and persistent unmanaged stress also affects our personal self-care, sleep, and maintenance of hair," says Hodge. "Additionally, individuals with significant stress and anxiety disorders may even develop a compulsive habit of pulling their hair out (called trichotillomania)."

If you have trichotillomania, you might catch yourself sitting at work and pulling out your hair when you're nervous. This can, for obvious reasons, cause your hair to fall out. But speaking to a loved one or seeing a therapist to treat your anxiety can help.


A Traumatic Event

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If you've been through a traumatic event recently, it could explain why your hair is suddenly falling out. "Any kind of physical or emotional trauma can cause temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium," certified dermatologist and hair transplant/restoration expert Dr. Lisa Rhodes tells Bustle. "It often takes three to six months after the trauma for the hair loss to be visible." At that point, you might notice overall thinning, or your hair falling out in clumps. But don't worry — it will grow back.


A Thyroid Disorder

If your hair is falling out in clumps, or seems noticeably thinner, it may be time to see your doctor so they can check for underlying health issues that can cause hair loss.

"Chronic, severely dry skin that is very itchy and accompanied by hair loss, which is sometimes sudden in onset, could signal an under-active thyroid," says top dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, Dr. Joel Schlessinger. Other hormonal changes — such as those caused by pregnancy — or autoimmune diseases can cause hair to thin, too.


What You're Eating

Take a quick look at what you eat. Is it well-balanced and chock full of nutritious foods? "Some lifestyle choices and conditions can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals needed for healthy hair growth," says Rhodes. "For example, iron deficiency [results] in poorly oxygenated hair follicles and scalp, and a disruption in the hair shaft leading to oxygen deficiency and hair loss."

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A Vegetarian Lifestyle

Similarly, certain lifestyles, like vegetarianism, may lead to nutrient deficiencies, if you aren't careful. "Vegetarians often suffer from low blood iron because meat, especially red meat, is a significant source of iron, so supplementation may be necessary," says Rhodes. "Lack of vitamin B12 can also cause hair loss."

In order to do make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs, talk with a doctor or nutritionist. They can help you figure out what might be missing from your diet, and offer ways to help replace it — either through other types of foods, or vitamin supplements — so that you can feel your best and maintain our vegetarian lifestyle.


Any Medications You're Taking

Some medications have hair loss as a side effect. As Rhodes says, "Blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol-lowering and even the birth-control medications can create patchy hair loss." So definitely talk with your doctor if it's bothering you. "Patients may need to weigh the drug benefits versus hair loss or speak with their doctor about alternative medications if they have any concerns."


Your Environment

Your environment can play a role as well. "Air quality and particularly urban environments with high pollution can cause stress on your scalp and hair, increasing hair loss over time," Bart Zoni, an expert at Theradome, tells Bustle. And if you smoke, you're making the air quality around you that much worse. "First and second hand smoke is also a contributor to hair loss — just as smoking is not healthy for you internally, it can also affect your scalp and hair; causing inflammation [and] contributing to more hair in your brush than you might like."

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If your hair is consistently trying to escape down your shower drain, one of these factors may explain why. But all is not lost — in many cases, there are things you can do to keep your hair on your head. Start by talking with your doctor to see what they recommend.


What are the top 10 reasons for hair loss? ›

Causes of hair loss
  • Hereditary hair loss. Both men and women develop this type of hair loss, which is the most common cause of hair loss worldwide. ...
  • Age. ...
  • Alopecia areata. ...
  • Cancer treatment. ...
  • Childbirth, illness, or other stressors. ...
  • Hair care. ...
  • Hairstyle pulls on your scalp. ...
  • Hormonal imbalance.

What is causing my hair to fall out so much? ›

It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it's more common in men. Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness.

What is most damaging to hair? ›

Learn more about some of the 12 most common causes of hair breakage and what you can do about them.
  1. Diet. There's actually a lot to the old saying “you are what you eat,” especially when it comes to hair and skin health. ...
  2. Stress. ...
  3. Dryness. ...
  4. Heat damage. ...
  5. Over-processing. ...
  6. Over-washing. ...
  7. Improper towel drying. ...
  8. Elastic hair ties.

What is the cure of hair fall? ›

Minoxidil (Rogaine).

Products with minoxidil help many people regrow their hair or slow the rate of hair loss or both. It'll take at least six months of treatment to prevent further hair loss and to start hair regrowth. It may take a few more months to tell whether the treatment is working for you.

What vitamins help hair loss? ›

“Vitamins are essential for healthy hair growth and may help in preventing hair shedding and thinning,” says Michele Green, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “The best vitamins for hair growth include B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and iron.

What old medicine grows new hair? ›

It is minoxidil, an old and well-known hair-loss treatment drug used in a very different way. Rather than being applied directly to the scalp, it is being prescribed in very low-dose pills.

Why is my hair falling out like crazy all of a sudden? ›

Your sudden shedding could be caused by telogen effluvium, a form of hair loss that is typically temporary and happens after a stressful or traumatic event, physical or emotional stress, changes in weight, pregnancy, illness, medication, or dietary changes, explains New York City–based dermatologist Marisa Garshick, ...

What is the most healthiest thing for your hair? ›

Tips for healthy hair
  • Wash oily hair more frequently. ...
  • Concentrate shampoo on the scalp.
  • Use conditioner after every shampoo unless you use a “2-in-1” shampoo, which cleans and conditions hair.
  • Concentrate conditioner on the tips of the hair.
  • Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair type.

What are the three types of damage that can affect hair? ›

“Hair damage can be split into three main categories: thermal, mechanical, or chemical,” explains celebrity hairstylist Tom Smith, European creative director for Evo Hair.

What blood test shows hair loss? ›

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Blood Test, LC/MS

The Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Blood Test measures DHT levels in the blood to help determine the cause of male pattern hair loss and prostate problems.

What can doctors prescribe for female hair loss? ›

Hair Loss in Women: Treatments
  • Minoxidil (Rogaine)
  • Androgen Receptor Inhibitors.
  • Estrogen and Progesterone.
  • Oral Contraceptives.
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)
  • Dutasteride (Avodart)
  • Cyproterone Acetate with Ethinyloestradiol (Diane 35, Diane 50)

Which deficiency causes hair fall? ›

Iron deficiency (ID) is the world's most common nutritional deficiency and is a well-known cause of hair loss.

Which vitamin is most important for hair? ›

Biotin is a very popular B vitamin that people often use for hair, skin, and nail health.

Which conditioner is best for hair fall? ›

Himalaya Anti-Hair Fall Conditioner | Up to 96% Hair Fall Reduction | For Smooth & Detangled Hair | With Bhringraj & Palasha | Makes Hair Healthy | For Women & Men | 100ml.

Which shampoo is best for hair growth and thickness and hair fall? ›

Final Verdict. Our best overall pick is Biolage Advanced Full Density Thickening Shampoo, which contains biotin, zinc, and a gluco-omega blend to strengthen hair while removing follicle-clogging impurities that can prevent new hair growth.

What is the ingredient to regrow hair? ›

Minoxidil Has Long Been the Gold Standard Hair Regrowth Ingredient in the U.S., But New Options Are Gaining Steam. In the United States, topical minoxidil is an oft-recommended chemical hair growth ingredient, and it's one of the only approved by the FDA for hair regrowth.

What promotes hair growth in seniors? ›

Eat a protein-rich diet.

Foods like red meat, spinach and green leafy vegetables, eggs, berries, and avocados are all great options. It can also be helpful to take a daily multivitamin to make up for the nutrients you may not be getting in the foods you eat.

What will stimulate new hair growth? ›

To promote hair growth, you need to increase your protein intake, especially by consuming food like fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Hair follicles are mostly made of protein, and the lack of it promotes hair loss. Proteins 'feed' the hair from the inside.

What vitamins cause hair growth? ›

Which Vitamins Help in Hair Growth? In addition to biotin, the other B vitamins are important for healthy hair growth, including Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid. In fact, Vitamin B12 helps hair cells and hair growth by promoting healthy hair follicles through the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells.

Should you cut your hair short if it's falling out? ›

Wearing your hair too long will make it look thinner

"Ironically, with thinning hair it's important to make sure you get your hair cut regularly," says Julie Hensman, from Hensmans in Northampton. "Thinning hair can get out of shape more quickly, making it look more obvious".

How does vitamin D cause hair loss? ›

Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hair Loss? Vitamin D is metabolized in the skin by keratinocytes. These are skin cells that process keratin, a protein in hair, nails, and skin. When the body doesn't have enough vitamin D, keratinocytes in hair follicles have trouble regulating hair growth and shedding.

What is the secret to healthy hair? ›

A well-rounded diet is an important factor in hair and scalp health. Hair is primarily made up of protein, so be sure to eat at least 45 grams of protein daily. Good sources include: lean meat.

Which fruit is helpful for hair growth? ›

Peaches. One of the best fruits for hair regrowth is peach. There is a natural hair growth steroid Biotin which is present in peach, which stimulates hair growth. It also maintains scalp health and strengthens the hair.

What does hair loss from stress look like? ›

Telogen effluvium hair loss — the type of hair loss linked to stress — typically affects your scalp and may appear as patchy hair loss. However, it can also cause you to shed more body hair or notice less hair on your body ​​than you normally would.

What are the 5 common hair diseases? ›

Most Common Hair Disorders
  • Androgenetic Alopecia. More commonly known as pattern baldness, this refers to genetic (or hereditary) hair loss, accounting for more than 95 percent of cases. ...
  • Alopecia Areata. ...
  • Traction Alopecia. ...
  • Telogen Effluvium. ...
  • Anagen Effluvium. ...
  • Hair Shaft Breakage.
Apr 17, 2020

What are the 4 types of hair damage? ›

While the term hair damage is pretty broad, the five most common forms of hair damage include split ends, heat damage, color damage, chemical damage, and hair loss.

Which fruits reduce hair fall immediately? ›

These fruits contain a number of antioxidants, including vitamin C, which can help to protect hair follicles from free radicals. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron and make collagen, which is one of the proteins that builds hair and helps prevent hair loss.
4. Fruit
  • Berries.
  • Cherries.
  • Apricots.
  • Grapes.
  • Oranges.
Feb 25, 2021

What can a dermatologist do about hair loss? ›

Injections of corticosteroids: To help your hair regrow, your dermatologist injects this medication into the bald (or thinning) areas. These injections are usually given every 4 to 8 weeks as needed, so you will need to return to your dermatologist's office for treatment.

Can low iron cause hair loss? ›

Yes. Most hair loss due to an iron deficiency can be reversed. If you've been experiencing hair loss and think it may be due to an iron deficiency, Dr. Piliang recommends talking to your doctor.

What diseases or illnesses cause hair loss? ›

There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, Rogers says.

What drugs may cause hair loss suddenly losing your hair? ›

Hair loss is a relatively rare side effect, but a variety of medications may cause it: beta-blockers, blood thinners, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and hormone-related drugs like thyroid meds, hormone replacement therapies or steroids.

What causes hair loss in females? ›

Genes: Your family's genes can cause thinning of hair along the top of your head. Aging: Hormone changes as you age can cause balding. Menopause: This type of hair loss often gets worse when estrogen is lost during menopause.

What are the three main types of hair loss? ›

Most people know alopecia to be a form of hair loss. However, what they don't always know is that there are three main types of the condition – alopecia areata, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.

Which blood pressure meds cause hair loss? ›

Beta blockers are a class of medications that are used to treat high blood pressure and heart conditions.
Commonly used beta blockers that may cause hair loss include:
  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
  • Timolol eye drops (Timoptic)
Apr 28, 2022

What arthritis medicines cause hair loss? ›

Methotrexate: The most commonly prescribed disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) for rheumatoid arthritis, methotrexate is responsible for hair loss in about 1% to 3% of people. The hair loss happens because methotrexate is doing what it's supposed to do – stop cells from growing.

What is best home remedy for hair loss? ›

Natural hair regrowth treatment options
  1. Massage. Massaging the scalp, which people can combine with hair oils and masks, stimulates the scalp and may improve hair thickness . ...
  2. Aloe vera. Aloe vera has long been used for treating hair loss. ...
  3. Coconut oil. ...
  4. Viviscal. ...
  5. Fish oil. ...
  6. Ginseng. ...
  7. Onion juice. ...
  8. Rosemary oil.

Can thin hair become thick again? ›

Here's the hard truth: Little can be done to permanently change the diameter of individual hair strands. Thickening products can do wonders to temporarily plump hair strands, but when it comes down to it, fine hair is genetic and can't be changed.

How to stimulate hair growth? ›

Eating more protein, using products made with caffeine, avoiding permanent dye, and reducing your stress are just a few things you can do to promote healthier and faster hair growth.
These nutrients can include:
  1. biotin.
  2. vitamin C.
  3. vitamin D.
  4. vitamin E.
  5. zinc.
  6. iron.
  7. omega-3 and omega-6.
Jun 18, 2020

What hormone causes hair loss? ›

DHT: The hormone behind hair loss

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is made from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It can also be made from DHEA, a hormone more common in women. DHT is found in skin, hair follicles, and the prostate.

What is the difference between hair loss and hair shedding? ›

What is hair loss? Unlike hair shedding, which is a normal function of the body, hair loss occurs mainly because of external factors. Hair loss occurs when something prevents your hair from growing. The medical term for this is anagen effluvium.


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