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What Causes Hair Loss? 3 Hair Loss Myths, Debunked

By Nichole Tucker, MA
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer T. Haley, MD, FAAD on November 18, 2020
If you are one of those people thinking “what causes hair loss?” this list of hair loss myths is for you.

There are multiple causes of hair loss, and speculation surrounding the reasons for hair loss is very common. Many people even have questions like, do hats cause hair loss? With so many questions on the topic, a lot of myths surrounding hair loss have also come up. 

If you are one of those people thinking “what causes hair loss?” then this list of hair loss myths is for you. 

Myth: Only Men Experience Hair Loss

It is a common belief that only men experience hair loss. In some men, hair loss can be seen when a man reaches middle age. But, did you know women have hair loss too?

Females who are most likely to experience hair loss are over the age of 40, those who recently gave birth, those who have had chemotherapy or other treatments, and women who use harsh chemicals or heat on their hair. 

Myth: People Who Lose Their Hair Are Careless With Their Health

It is untrue that people have hair loss because they don’t take care of themselves. Even though your diet and the chemicals and heat you put on your hair can impact hair loss, all people lose hair every day, but few people lose their hair due to being careless about their health. 

That’s right, humans shed around 50 to 100 strands of hair each day, more on the days you shampoo. It’s all a part of the three cycles of natural hair loss. Hair loss is not always a bad thing. When it occurs naturally, it makes room for healthier hair growth. 

Myth: Hair Loss Almost Always Means You Are Sick

Yes, it’s true that sickness can cause hair loss. Specifically, an autoimmune disease like alopecia areata is a common reason for hair loss. How much hair you lose with alopecia can vary from person to person. Researchers are still unsure about what causes this condition, but they believe that genetics do play a role. 

The important thing for you to understand is that although some illnesses can cause hair loss, it is not the only reason that you may experience hair loss. 

There are many things that can impact the health of your hair, including stress. You can identify hair loss early on by looking for some important signs. If you find larger amounts of hair strands on your pillow or in the areas where you brush your hair, these are signs to pay attention to. In addition, if you notice patches of thin hair or a bald patch on your head, this is also a major sign of hair loss. 

“Hair loss is often regarded as just normal aging or a response to stress. However, this may not be the case. In fact, hair loss may be due to an underlying systemic cause, some of which are serious or can even be life-threatening, such as malignancy, endocrine abnormalities, and infections,” says Lynn A. Drake, MD, and lecturer on Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

“Adverse drug reactions, contaminated supplements, and nutritional gaps can be implicated. There are a variety of other medical issues that are only discovered because a patient seeks out medical attention.  For example, systemic lupus erythematosus can be undiagnosed, and the presenting symptom that drives the patient to see a physician is hair thinning.  Hair loss is sort of a Canary in a Coal Mine – it can alert the patient that something is going on that may require medical intervention or something as routine as diet modification,” says Drake. 

Get Help Now

Don’t wait. The sooner you address the symptoms of hair loss, the more likely you are to prevent irreversible results. Speak to a medical professional today to begin your journey to a healthier, fuller head of hair.