Surprising Reasons You’re Losing Your Hair

Nobody wants hair loss yet millions of Americans experience it. And there are many reasons why your hair could be falling out. Some are more serious than others, but almost all of them come with a way to reverse the damage. Here are the reasons why your scalp is thinning or balding. (You may be getting too much of a specific vitamin, on page 10).

1. You’re not eating enough protein

Chicken on grill

You may need more protein. | Shaiith/iStock/Getty Images

Hair is made up of protein. Protein is necessary for many aspects of bodily function. If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, your body needs to ration its protein and use it where it’s most important — which is not the hair. As a result, your body cuts off the protein supply to the hair follicles. This can lead to a pause in regrowth. And since the average human loses about 100 strands of hair per day, if your body doesn’t replace it, you’ll notice thinning hair.

Next: You may have this deficiency. 

2. You have anemia

iron and dietary fiber, healthy nutrition

An iron deficiency could be the cause. | ratmaner/Getty Images

Anemia is a condition where the body produces too few healthy red blood cells. It’s most commonly caused by an iron deficiency. Since the hair needs so many vitamins and nutrients to keep it healthy, an iron deficiency could cause slowed growth, leading to thinning hair. Talk to your doctor about measuring your iron levels. Most of the time, hair loss from iron deficiency is temporary.

Next: Are you regularly taking any of these medications? 

3. Your medication is affecting the hair’s growth


Certain medications can cause hair loss. | Artisteer/iStock/Getty Images

Certain medications can actually promote hair loss. According to, heart medications such as blood pressure meds, blood thinners, and beta blockers can lead to hair loss. Also, drugs such as methotrexate, lithium, and even ibuprofen have been shown to cause hair loss. Since ibuprofen is so widely used, it may benefit you to talk to your doctor about it. Try switching to Tylenol, which is ibuprofen free.

Next: How often do you do this with your hair? 

4. You’re styling your hair too much

brunette woman with long healthy hair

Styling your hair can damage it. | Persians/iStock/Getty Images

Heat damage can definitely be a cause for your thinning hair. The more you expose your hair to high levels of heat, the more hair breakage it can cause. While you won’t necessarily have hair loss from styling, the breakage can lead to the appearance of thinner hair, since you’ll have strands of all different lengths. It’s important to always use a heat protectant spray before styling your hair. Plus, try to keep styling to a maximum of once or twice per week.

Next: If you’ve recently done this, hair loss could happen. 

5. You recently lost a lot of weight


Weight loss can lead to hair loss. | Vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

Telogen effluvium, which is a common type of hair loss from stress, can also occur if you lose too much weight too quickly. When your body undergoes a major change, such as weight loss surgery or rapid weight loss, the hormones can be thrown off balance. The best way to counteract this is to make sure your diet is healthy, even though you’re not eating as much. Eat enough calories (talk to your doctor about how many you should consume) and make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Next: This can lead to thinning hair. 

6. You’re under a lot of stress


If you’re under too much stress, you could lose hair. | Amazingmikael/iStock/Getty Images

Stress can result in hair loss. And it’s so common, it even has a name: telogen effluvium. It’s the type of hair loss that results in some kind of stress or trauma on your body. It could be from losing a loved one or just having a very stressful job. When you’re under a lot of stress, hormone levels can be disrupted. This might send your hair follicles into a “resting” phase where they don’t produce new hair (yet you’re still losing those 100 strands per day). Over time, the stress can make your hair appear thinner than usual. Try some relaxation techniques or consider speaking to a therapist to control your stress levels.

Next: This certain hormone has a lot to do with hair loss. 

7. Your thyroid is out of whack


The thyroid may play a role. | Tharakorn/Getty Images

Your thyroid is responsible for producing thyroid hormone, which regulates many of the body’s functions. But sometimes, the thyroid produces either too much or too little of that hormone, which can affect your hair growth. If your thyroid is producing lower- or higher-than-normal amounts of thyroid hormone, the development of hair at the root can stop, which affects how much hair you grow. The result can be thinning or baldness, depending on how long your thyroid condition goes undiagnosed.

Next: Sometimes, this is to blame. 

8. You have bad genes

family sitting on sofa

Your family may be to blame. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

It’s possible that you simply have bad genes. If you’ve noticed that other men and women in your family start to have thinning hair once they hit a certain age, it could be a result of the gene pool. And while there are ways to control thinning hair from genetics, it’s difficult to reverse. Try using a hair growth shampoo and conditioner, such as Nioxin, or take a multivitamin to help boost the amount of vitamins your hair receives.

Next: This is a common reason for rapid hair loss. 

9. You have an autoimmune disease

hair loss

Hair loss could be due to alopecia areata. | Zneb076/iStock/Getty Images

Alopecia areata is a type of autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. It happens when your immune system identifies hair as a dangerous or foreign substance and works to get rid of it. When the hair follicles are attacked by the immune system, they tend to fall out in clumps. Most types of hair loss occur over time, but with alopecia areata, the hair can fall out quickly. But if it is controlled, hair does tend to grow back. If you notice you’re losing clumps of hair at a fast rate, talk to your doctor immediately.

Next: If you’re getting too much of this vitamin you’re sabotaging yourself.

10. You’re getting too much Vitamin A

Green Salad

Are you getting too much vitamin A? | peredniankina/iStock/Getty Images

It’s important to get the proper amount of Vitamin A; it helps with things like regulating the immune and reproductive systems. It also helps with healthy skin, teeth and hair. But too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. According to the Wimpole Clinic, too much Vitamin A can send hair follicles into overdrive. They produce hair too quickly and reach the end of the growth phase quickly. This can result in hair falling out. And without new hair to replace it, you may notice thinning hair or baldness.

Next: This vitamin is important for hair growth. 

11. You’re not getting enough Vitamin B


You may need more vitamin B. | diego_cervo/iStock/Getty Images

B vitamins, such as biotin, are essential for healthy hair growth. A lack of these can mean slowed growth, which may result in thinning hair. If your body doesn’t receive the proper Vitamin B amounts, it rations the amount that goes to your hair (similar to the way it rations protein). Talk to your doctor about your vitamin B levels, and incorporate more vitamin B-rich foods into your diet, such as eggs, which are also a great source of protein.

Next: It could just be this. 

12. You’re aging

Old man smiling

Sometimes, it’s just age. | Vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

Sometimes, it’s nothing more than old age. As you get older, your hair growth naturally slows. When you continue to lose hair at a rate of 100 strands per day, the scalp can’t always keep up with the new growth that’s needed. According to MedlinePlus, hair strands become smaller and thinner, which also creates the appearance of thinning hair. You can take scalp vitamins to help regrow the hair, but there isn’t much of a treatment for hair loss due to aging.

Next: Hormones play a role, too. 

13. You’re taking birth control pills

contraceptive pills

Birth control could be the cause. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Birth control pills contain certain amounts of estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. The hormones in birth control pills can affect how long the growing phase of your hair lasts. If the growing phase ends too soon, it could cause the hair to appear thinner. Plus, other birth control methods such as implants, hormone shots, and vaginal rings can also increase your odds of hair loss. Talk to your doctor if you think your birth control could be the culprit.

Next: This disorder often comes with hair loss. 

14. You have polycystic ovary syndrome

woman researching

Many women are diagnosed with PCOS each year. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

With polycystic ovary syndrome, women tend to have an excess of male hormones, known as androgens. This can result in male-pattern hair loss. In fact, most women with the disease will see some hair loss. If your doctor thinks PCOS could be a cause, he or she will likely order a blood test to show the levels of male hormones in your body. From there, certain medications can help suppress PCOS symptoms.

Next: If you’re being treated for this, you may lose your hair. 

15. You’ve undergone chemotherapy

Hair loss

Chemotherapy often causes hair loss. | :Manuel-F-O/Getty Images

If you undergo chemotherapy treatment, it’s very possible you may lose your hair. Since chemotherapy destroys rapidly dividing cells, it can help get rid of cancer. But it also destroys hair cells. The bad news: Your hair will likely fall out rapidly. The good news: It does grow back. So once you’re done with treatment, your hair will grow again. But it may not look the same as it used to.

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