In this article:
- How to identify hair loss
- Genetic hair loss
- Autoimmune hair loss
- Hormonal hair loss
- Stress-induced hair loss
- Other forms of hair loss
Hair loss is a complicated and concerning problem. Not only does it make you question your overall health, but it also makes you worried about your appearance. What is more, hair loss is not just one straightforward problem. Instead, it can be related to a number of things, including a health condition, genetics, or even lifestyle factors. Here, we share how to tell what type of hair loss you have based on different signs and patterns that you may develop.
How to identify hair loss
Likely, something has triggered you to recognize that your hair is changing. Perhaps you notice your hairline is not quite as forward as it used to be, your ponytail feels thinner, or maybe you are developing bald spots. Whatever you do, you will want to note any type of change in your hair and take steps to get your hair back as quickly as possible.
One of the best ways to keep track of changes on your scalp is to take pictures with your phone. Ideally, have someone else help you so you can view all angles of your head. However, if you are at the point where you are monitoring hair loss and seeing no improvement or even more hair loss, it is time to visit your dermatologist. At this visit, your doctor will ask you several questions, including:
- When you started noticing hair loss
- How long it has been going on
- If anyone in your family has hair loss and other health conditions
- What medications you are taking, and
- If something has changed in your life recently (like a new job, high stress, childbirth, etc.)
Below, we discuss how to identify the different types of hair loss you may encounter.
Genetic hair loss
One of the most common causes of hair loss in both men and women is androgenic alopecia. Also known as male or female pattern hair loss, this type of thinning and loss is likely related to a genetic predisposition for DHT sensitivity. DHT is a derivative of testosterone and is in both men and women. Some people with the right genetic code will be more sensitive to this form of testosterone, which can shrink hair follicles.
At first, signs of androgenic alopecia are mainly hair that becomes thin and finer. Then, it often progresses to hair loss in specific areas. For example, men will notice hair loss that forms in the shape of a "V" or "M" on their hairline, or it may even recede. Males may also find that they have thinning at the back or crown of their head. Women usually notice their part line becomes wider and hair thins around their temples.
If left untreated, androgenic alopecia can lead to complete baldness in men and severe thinning in women. Therefore, the sooner you treat it, the better. So, next time you gather with family, look around and see if anyone struggles with hair loss. If so, you will want to be extra aware of your hair thickness so you can treat it with products that contain Nanoxidil 5%.
Autoimmune hair loss
Although less common than androgenic alopecia, autoimmune causes of hair loss are on the rise and are extremely difficult to treat. Women are most likely to have autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Hashimoto's. The primary culprit behind hair loss in autoimmune disorders is inflammation. In these conditions, your own immune system attacks healthy cells in your body. One specific type of autoimmune disease, alopecia areata, attacks hair follicles, causing patchy baldness, and is extremely challenging to treat.
Most people with autoimmune diseases will see bald patches on the scalp or generalized thinning all over. The best way to treat autoimmune hair loss is to figure out what disease is behind the hair loss and treat the disease while simultaneously using hair regrowth products like Nanoxidil.
Hormonal hair loss
The most common cause of hair loss in women is related to hormones. More so than men, women are susceptible to big swings in their sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Thus, many women find they have hair thinning if they have PCOS or are going through postpartum or menopause.
The best way to identify if you have hormonal hair loss is to look at your menstrual cycle and age. If your periods are irregular and you have other unusual symptoms, it is best to check in with your doctor because you may be having hair loss due to unpredictable hormone shifts. Also, while postpartum hair loss is frustrating and disheartening after having thick, luscious hair in pregnancy, it is normal and temporary.
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Stress-induced hair loss
The majority of people will experience stress-induced hair loss known as telogen effluvium. This type of temporary hair loss can occur after a particularly stressful event, such as:
- An accident
- Loss of a loved one
- A job change
The best way to identify this type of hair loss is to think back to what happened to you at least three months ago. Was there anything particularly stressful going on in your life? If so, your hair loss is likely related to that event.
When our bodies are under severe stress, it can switch a significant portion of our hair into telogen, or the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. Telogen takes three months to complete, and then your hair sheds. So, if you see a significant upswing in the amount of hair you shed (like a 300 percent increase), you likely have telogen effluvium, and it should correct itself with time.
Other forms of hair loss
It may seem overwhelming, but so many things can cause hair loss, including:
- Harsh styling techniques
- Chemical hair dye
Any of these things can cause thinning or even bald patches to appear. So, if you have hair loss, the best place to start is to figure out what may be causing your hair loss and schedule an appointment with your doctor. If your hair loss is related to an underlying condition like Hashimoto's, you will need medical treatment for that condition. However, if you have androgenic alopecia, you will need to start using hair regrowth products as soon as possible to keep your hair loss to a minimum.
*The content of this website, such as graphics, images, text and all other materials, is provided for reference and educational purposes only. The content is not meant to be complete or exhaustive or to be applicable to any specific individual's medical condition. We always recommend to speak to a medical professional for any type of diagnosis or medical questions you may have.