We shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day, which usually doesn’t cause noticeable thinning because new hair is growing at the same time. Hair loss occurs when this growth cycle is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
“If you’re losing more than 100 strands of hair a day within one to two weeks, it’s time to see your dermatologist,” says Dr Tan.
Read on to discover some of the most common causes and how best to treat the condition:
Cause 1: Genetics
You can attribute your thin locks to your parents, says Dr Tan, who reveals that the most common cause of hair loss is a mix of genes and hormones.
“Family history is an important factor of female (and male) pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia,” she says, although it can involve a variety of other lifestyle factors too.
Cause 2: Health Conditions
There are a few health conditions that can cause hair to fall out: Autoimmune illnesses, thyroid disease and iron deficiency can all have an impact.
Cause 3: Hormonal Imbalance
An imbalance in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can also affect hair growth. This can often be the case with new mothers, who may experience temporary hair loss after giving birth. Hair usually returns to its pre-pregnancy thickness after six to 12 months.
Hormone-related hair loss can also be a problem for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Cause 4: Medications
Certain medications, such as those that manage cholesterol, blood thinners and blood pressure treatments, can also increase your risk of thinning hair.
And it’s worth noting that medications derived from vitamin A, like those used to treat acne, can have hair loss as a side effect. Speak to your doctor if you think any medications you are taking could be to blame.
Cause 5: Severe Stress
Thinning hair can also occur as a result of severe stress – this may cause up to three-quarters of hair to shed. Your hair may grow back once your stress is under control. If you’re unsure of the cause of your hair loss, Dr Tan recommends seeing a dermatologist for a proper assessment.
Treatment 1: Minoxidil
Both Dr Tan and Vivian recommend an effective over-the-counter topical treatment containing minoxidil, a medication applied directly onto the scalp to affect blood supply to the follicle. There are no side effects but there is one caveat: You have to keep using it to maintain the benefits.
“Multivitamins targeting skin, hair and nails can be considered for six to nine months,” suggests Dr Tan, who says that nutritional support is crucial to support the growth of healthy hair.
Treatment 2: Low Level Hair Laser Therapy
It’s a painless, non-invasive treatment that’s useful for those not keen on long term medication. “The treatment stimulates cell metabolism and blood flow that in turn boosts hair growth and induces dormant hair follicles into a growth phase,” says Dr Tan.
And there is good news for women: We don’t tend to go bald the same way men do.
Even in a worst-case scenario, Dr Tan says that women tend to camouflage hair loss better than their male counterparts. While men typically experience a receding hairline, women tend to maintain it.
10 Products To Try If You’re Worried About Hair Loss
Prevent Hair Loss By Doing These Things Every Day
The Dos And Don’ts Of Blow-Drying Your Hair
Text: Bauer / Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew