Causes of Hair Loss

The most common cause of hair loss is genetics, responsible for up to 98% of hair loss in men and over 50% in women. Because the genes for hair loss are dominant, you can inherit it from either your mother or father's side of the family. If you're a male and your father or one of your grandfathers had male pattern baldness you're also likely to get it. And if you're a woman and either your mother or one of your grandmothers had thinning hair or was balding, you're also more likely to get it.

Hormones also play an important part in hair loss. Interestingly enough, the same hormones that cause hair growth on the face and body can cause it to decrease on the top of the head. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the primary hormone that affects hair growth and loss, so activities and substances that increase the production of DHT can cause hair loss. Steroids and human growth hormone have similar effects, causing many male and female body builders who use the substances to experience hair loss. It has been suspected that some dairy based products from cows that were fed steroids can also produce hair loss, such as whey protein supplements and DHEA. And because strenuous exercise also increases DHT levels, it is also thought that exercise can contribute to hair loss.

Age isn't necessarily a cause of hair loss, but the older one gets, the further into the balding process they're likely to get. While many men do develop a mature hairline and stabilize at that point, it's common for men to lose more and more hair as they age.

Stress can cause hair loss, however the hair that's lost as a result of stress generally grows back if and when stress levels become healthy again. This is due to stress causing hair to be shed at a quicker rate, rather than increased balding.

Environmental factors such as chemicals, air pollution, and smoking can cause hair loss both by damaging hair follicles and speeding up regular male pattern baldness. The poisons in cigarettes and certain chemicals and pollutants can block the production of proteins necessary for hair growth, leading to hair loss.

Prescription drugs, aside from those used in chemotherapy, can also cause hair loss or increase development of genetic baldness. Drugs used to fight acne, blood thinners, cholesterol medication, depression, heart disease, hormones, and inflammation can all potentially cause hair loss.