4 Common Causes of Hair Loss

Hair loss or "alopecia" is completely normal, and if you are experiencing it, don’t worry. Alopecia is just a general term that means hair loss, and there are many different types. Also, many reasons for hair loss improve over time and can be reversed. Hair loss can be caused by pregnancy, diet, stress, and genetics among other things. In this blog, we’re going to talk about how hair grows, the cause of hair loss, and what you can do about it, 

#1 Telogen Effluvium

Did you know that stress-related hair loss has a name? It’s called "telogen effluvium." Telogen effluvium means that your hair growth is being affected by stress, hormones, or a physical change. For example, pregnancy and postpartum stress can cause telogen effluvium, but it can happen after any stressful event. Short-term mental stress and long-term stress can both have a major impact on hair growth. 

How does hair grow?

Our hair goes through different phases: the anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen phase. 

Photocred: Imami Hair Restoration

Anagen Phase

The “anagen phase” is the first stage of hair growth. It’s the longest phase. For the hairs on your head, it lasts 3 to 5 years. For some people, it can last up to 7.

Catagen Phase

After the anagen phase, your hair cycle enters the catagen phase. The catagen phase lasts 1-2 weeks, and during this phase, the hair follicle starts becoming inactive, and it shrinks a little before it enters the telogen phase. 

Telogen Phase

The telogen phase is the resting phase, and the hair is neither growing nor falling out. The telogen phase typically lasts around 3 months. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of your scalp hairs are in this phase.

But if a stressor or change occurs in your body, telogen effluvium can occur. During telogen effluvium, up to 70 percent of your hair in the anagen stage prematurely enters the telogen phase, which is what causes the hair loss.

The exogen phase 

Next, the exogen phase is in the falling phase. At any given time, about 10% of our hair is in the falling stage. But with telogen effluvium, you have a higher percentage in the falling stage. 

Telogen effluvium may affect different areas of the scalp, but it most commonly appears on the top of your head rather than the back or sides of your head. However, telogen effluvium is reversible. It doesn’t scar your scalp, and your hair will grow back. 

Apart from telogen effluvium, there can be other causes of hair loss. So, it’s important to get diagnosed by a physician upon noticing hair loss. 

Causes of telogen effluvium

If you have telogen effluvium, it’s important to focus on self-care. Focusing on nutrition might also prove to be helpful, but its best to speak with your dermatologist. Here are a few questions to help you prioritize self-care as well as you nutrition.


What would my ideal self-care routine look like?

Am I resting or scheduling time to rest when I feel tired or overwhelmed?

Am I prioritizing sleep or finding a way to prioritize getting more of it?

How many times this week did I take to make space for myself to decompress? Are there ways I can be offered support?

Am I eating when I am hungry, or am I ignoring my hunger cues?

Are my hunger cues often suppressed because of stress?

Am I eating meals that include protein, omega-3s, zinc, and cruciferous vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. They also are a good fiber source.  

Photocred: NIH

If you are deprived of vitamins (A, B, D, K, and E), protein, and zinc, this can also cause telogen effluvium. Additionally, if you are iron deficient, a higher amount of hair follicles may prematurely enter the telogen phase. 

#2 Anemia

Anemia is when you have low iron levels. Iron helps your body produce hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. It carries oxygen to your body’s cells, helping them grow and repair. This includes your body’s cells that help with hair growth.

If there is a risk factor of anemia, your doctor will order blood work. They have a panel that checks your iron levels, and then according to what they see, they will treat it with supplements. However, supplements need to get approved by your doctor or dermatologist.

Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Goodarzi, doesn’t recommend taking health supplements without talking to a healthcare provider because there can be side effects to taking these supplements unnecessarily.

Also, there is no FDA oversight on supplements. So, you want to make sure you get a doctor-recommended brand. Dr. Heidi Goodarzi recommends Nutrafol and Innerglow.

Nutrafol Women's Vegan Hair Growth - $88 


#3 Androgenetic alopecia 


Photocred: Hospital Capilar

Androgenetic alopecia is known as "male" or "female pattern baldness." Determined by genetics, androgenetic alopecia is when the body overreacts to androgens. Androgens are hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction in both men and women.

Androgens are usually thought of as male hormones, but the female body naturally produces a small amount of androgens too. Medical experts and researchers think that there might be a link between DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a type of androgen, and your hair follicles shrinking.

Topical minoxidil, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and lasers have been know to help with androgenetic alopecia. You can read more about these treatments in this blog. 

#4 Scarring alopecia

Photocred: CMCC Paris

Scarring alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by inflammation and the destruction of your hair follicles (shafts on the surface of your skin that hair grows through). It's usually the result of infections, chemicals, burns, or autoimmune disorders.

Not all autoimmune disorders cause scarring alopecia, but several do. Autoimmune diseases are when your immune system is overactive. Autoimmune disease cause the body's tissues to be damaged and attacked by the immune system.

Scarring alopecia is not reversible, and it can cause permanent hair loss. However, in some cases, if you catch the condition very early, medication may be able to stop inflammation before it completely destroys the hair follicle.

If you’re experiencing hair loss, the first thing to remember is that it’s very common among adults, and it’s often reversible. It’s best to visit your dermatologist for a diagnosis, and then, you can get an effective treatment plan or gain better insight about the correct at-home treatments.