Whether it’s in the shower or throughout the day, it’s perfectly normal to notice hair falling out. In fact, on average, people lose about 50 to 100 hairs from their head every single day. But if you’re starting to notice more shedding than usual and are wondering why your hair is falling out, there are a few reasons why that might be. Here are 5 common causes of hair loss in men: male pattern baldness, stress, medical conditions, medications you're taking and the products you're using.
Male Pattern Baldness (Androgenic Alopecia)
Androgenic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern baldness, is the most common form of hair loss in men worldwide. It can start to affect men as early as their 20s, and by age 50 more than 50% of men are affected. 42% of all men experience moderate to extensive hair loss due to male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness typically starts with the hairline receding at the front of the head or the top of the head. A receding hairline can progress to become partial or complete baldness. This is caused by a combination of your genetics and hormones. Hair loss due to androgenic alopecia is the result of an androgen hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causing the hair follicles on your head to shrink and eventually stop producing new hairs. This is what leads to male pattern baldness and can lead to a permanent loss of hair on the affected area of your scalp.
If you’re experiencing hair loss due to male pattern baldness, there are proven treatments that can help. Finasteride, sold under brand names Propecia and Proscar, is an oral tablet that helps lower the levels of DHT in your body, thus slowing down the process of hair loss. Minoxidil is a topical over-the-counter treatment that helps stimulate blood vessels and potentially leads to hair growth. When used together, finasteride and minoxidil can be a powerful hair loss treatment plan.
Telogen Effluvium (Stress)
Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss in both men and women that is caused by a traumatic stressful event. It typically occurs about 2 to 3 months after the triggering event and usually lasts about 6 months. It can also happen when you’re consistently subjected to high levels of stress. This kind of stress-related hair loss is characterized by diffuse hair loss, meaning hairs fall out more spread out over the head rather than in certain areas like the hairline and crown of the head.
Stressful events that can trigger telogen effluvium can be physical or psychological, including things like emotional disorders, illnesses, post pregnancy and surgery. Because telogen effluvium is not related to the DHT hormone levels, oral tablets like finasteride won’t have any effect. However, topical solutions like minoxidil can help regrow hair.
There are a variety of medical conditions that can cause hair loss in men in women, including diabetes, thyroid disorders and anemia. Certain autoimmune diseases also cause hair loss, such as lupus and alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes hair to fall out suddenly and in small chunks.
Because each of these medical conditions influence hair loss in a different way, there isn’t one single treatment plan that can work for all of them. Typically, when hair loss is caused by a medical condition, it’s important to treat the primary condition first, then finding a way to help hair regrowth. Talk to your doctor about options for hair regrowth for your particular condition.
Some medications can also cause hair loss, particularly chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer. However, there are two types of hair loss that can be attributed to certain medicines. Telogen effluvium, the kind that occurs due to stress, is also associated with oral retinoids, oral contraceptives, antithyroid drugs, anticonvulsants, hypolipidemic drugs, heavy metals, beta blockers, captopril and amphetamines.
While the above medications have been shown to cause hair loss, certain medications have also been shown to help slow and prevent hair loss, such as contraceptive pills like Yaz, Yasmin and Diane which have strong antiandrogen effects. If a thyroid disorder is the underlying cause of hair loss, treating it with a thyroid medication can also help.
The other type of hair loss from medication is known as anagen effluvium, which is when hairs fall out during the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Chemotherapy drugs work by targeting fast-growing cells, such as cancerous cells. This also means that they affect hair growth on your scalp, eyebrows and body hair.
Typically, when you are taking a drug that is leading to losing your hair, it will stop after you stop taking the drug. However, it’s important to consult your doctor about these side effects you’re experiencing before stopping the drug altogether.
Hair Care Products
Certain products can also damage your hair and scalp. Some shampoos, hair dyes and styling products could weaken or damage hair. Curling irons, hair straighteners and blow dryers all heat your hair, potentially damaging hair and leading to hair loss. If you’re tying your hair back too tightly or using headbands that pull on the follicles from the scalp, you could be losing more hair than average as well. Switching to gentle products and avoiding heating up or tugging on your hair can help prevent hair loss due to these reasons.
Hair loss treatment online with Rosemary Health
Now you can access real hair loss treatments online through Rosemary. Our online assessments are 100% text-based and can be done anytime, anywhere. Start your online visit for prescription hair loss treatments today.
- American Academy of Dermatology - Do You Have Hair Loss or Hair Shedding?
- American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (December 1998) - Prevalence of male pattern hair loss in 18-49 year old men
- Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (September 2015) - Telogen Effluvium: A Review
- Anagen Effluvium (August 2020)