1. Hormonal imbalance
A hormonal imbalance can lead to a multitude of annoying health and beauty issues, from adult acne to weight gain. If your hormones are out of whack the effects will radiate throughout the whole body (and of course, that includes your hair).
“Hormones play a huge role in regulating the hair growth cycle” explains Anabel. “Oestrogens (female hormones) are ‘hair friendly’ and help to keep hairs in their growth phase for the optimal length of time. Androgens (male hormones) are not very hair-friendly, and can shorten the hair growth cycle.”
“An excess of androgens (which could be caused by an endocrine disorder, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) can cause hair loss. The extent of this is often down to genes – If you have a genetic predisposition to follicle sensitivity, a hormonal imbalance can affect your hair more than it would someone who does not have a predisposition.”
It’s no myth that excess stress can literally make your hair fall out. How does this happen? Well, it can raise androgen (male hormone) levels, which in turn can cause hair loss. “Stress may also trigger scalp problems, such as dandruff, disrupt eating habits, and mess with the digestive system – all of which can have a negative impact on hair,” says Anabel.
3. Iron deficiency/anemia
“One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is an iron deficiency. Iron is essential for producing hair cell protein”, without it, your strands will suffer. If in doubt, it’s best to speak to your GP for advice regarding an iron deficiency, as they may recommend a blood test to confirm the correct treatment.
4. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
“The thyroid gland helps to regulate the body’s metabolism by controlling the production of proteins and tissue use of oxygen. Any thyroid imbalance can therefore affect hair follicles”. Also, if hypothyroidism is left untreated it may result in anaemia, which – as we’ve just discussed – is another condition that can impact the hair (or lack of it).
5. Vitamin B12 deficiency
A lack of vitamin B12 can leave you feeling tired and low on energy, sound familiar? Well, the fun doesn’t stop there, it can also take its toll on your hair…
“Vitamin B12 deficiency often causes hair loss as it can affect the health of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues” says Anabel. “It’s most common in vegans as you can primarily only obtain B12 through animal proteins.”
6. Dramatic weight loss
A steep drop on the scales can impact your tresses, “6-12 weeks after dramatic weight loss, whether it be intentional or unintentional, hair commonly comes out”.
“While our hair is incredibly important to us psychologically, physiologically it is non-essential; we could survive without it with no detriment to our physical health. This means that any nutritional deficiency often first shows up in our hair.”
If you’re going through or about to enter menopause, changes in your body may also have an effect on your hair. “Hair loss becomes more prevalent leading up to and after the menopause”. That being said, “it’s important to realise that our hair ages, and as we get older, hair naturally gets finer. It’s a totally normal part of the ageing process.”
8. Traction alopecia
Got Afro hair? Listen up… If you love a protective style, make sure you’re giving your hair a break in between. “The most common cause of hair loss in this hair type is traction alopecia. This is the hair loss caused by repeated and prolonged tensile (pulling) forces applied to the follicles through wearing certain hairstyles such as braids and long dreadlocks,”. “The pattern of hair loss mirrors where the hair is under the most strain and this is typically over the edges/hairline.” Just make sure you’re going easy on your edges so they’re in it for the long haul.