Alopecia: other causes

Every day, we loss 50 to 100 hairs, which is completely normally. The unluckiest often suffer from temporary or irreversible alopecia, generally caused by hormones and genetics. Everyone has experienced or will experience abnormal hair loss at some time in their life.

We would like to make you aware that some minor aspects of our daily lives can also cause abnormal hair loss (both temporary and permanent).

Changes in season

You may have noticed increased hair loss in between seasons, such as when spring or autumn arrive. Don’t panic! It’s normal! We all experience abnormal hair loss when the seasons change, and especially when autumn arrives. This “seasonal hair loss” can last up to 6 weeks and causes up to 4 times more hair loss than normal. This process is only temporary, does not necessarily affect everyone and can even occur without some people noticing.

Sun

The sun is beneficial for the hair and helps it to grow faster. However, it also helps it to fall out! Hair that is exposed to the sun too much is in danger. In fact, the sun’s rays can slow down the release of fatty acids in sebum; they then stay under the epidermis and become toxins, slowing down blood supply and causing the hair to become thinner, and even fall out. They can also slow down hair regrowth in September. Long periods of swimming in the sea do not help the situation.

This hair loss is, however, temporary, so there’s no need to worry!

Hormonal disorders

Alopecia can come in various forms and can also be caused by certain hormonal disorders. This form of baldness is often gradual, spread across the scalp and mostly affects women.

These disorders affect the following hormones:

  • Thyroid, with excess (hyperthyroidism) or decreased (hypothyroidism) hormone production
  • Hypophysis, with decreased hormone production (hypopituitarism)
  • Male hormones, such as androgens, which are produced excessively: polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Female hormones, such as estrogen, which decrease during menopause

Psychological causes

A person’s mental and physical condition can indeed influence hair loss.

But how is that possible?

In fact, during a period of intense physical or mental stress, androgen (male hormones) secretion is boosted and this makes the hair fall out.

An emotional shock, grief, a surgical procedure, a high fever, a hemorrhage, and even depression can be a sign of future alopecia.

Trichotillomania

The most dramatic and unusual way of losing hair is trichotillomania. This mental disorder, which could also be called an OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), has been officially recognized as such since 2000. A person with this disease pulls out their hair compulsively and intentionally. Some people will eat the hairs that they have pulled out, while others will spend their time fiddling with the hairs to calm their nerves. Women are most affected. Result: the hair bulb is traumatized and the hairs can grow back frizzy or … white.

Dietary lssues

A diet usually means nutritional deficiencies. A lack of magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc or iron, low levels of vitamins or minerals very frequently cause hair loss. It is therefore important to remember the impact that a weight-loss diet can have.

Nowadays, our diet includes too many acidic substances and too few basic foods (alkaline). A diet that is too rich in acidic foods and too low in minerals can kill the roots and contribute to gradual hair loss.

Hair maintenance

What makes a woman beautiful? An attractive face, a feminine figure, a radiant smile … but above all beautiful hair! When we maintain our hair, we think that we are taking care of it, but how we treat our hair can sometimes make it suffer and fall out.

Certain things should be avoided:

  • overuse of hairdryers, which are often too hot,
  • overuse of hair straighteners
  • shampoos and treatments that are too strong and aggressive
  • hair extensions
  • overuse of perms
  • stripping and aggressive dyes
  • too-tight buns which weaken the scalp

Medical treatments

Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs: Chemotherapy temporarily (during treatment) causes all body hair to fall out.

Anticoagulants, androgen hormones, lithium, androgenic progestins, antidepressants, antiepileptics, neuroleptics, anti-aldosterones, synthetic antithyroid drugs, cortisone and cortisone derivatives also cause these side effects.

Radiotherapy, often used on the head to fight cancer, always causes the hair, eyelashes and eyebrows to fall out. Gradual hair loss starts around 2 weeks after the radiotherapy session. A radiotherapy session can cause burns and even permanent damage to the hair. It is therefore possible for the hair loss to be temporary or permanent depending on the dose received. When it is temporary, the hair begins to grow back around 8 weeks after the end of the treatment, and it takes several months before the hair returns to normal.

Childbirth

The birth of a baby is certainly the most wonderful day in a mother’s life, but, in half of all cases, it also triggers massive hair loss in the days following labor, lasting for around one month. After birth, the interruption of hormone flows often triggers massive, fleeting hair loss.

This form of post-partum alopecia is completely normal: when a women is pregnant, she produces a high level of estrogen, which extends the life of her hair and strengthens it. When she gives birth, the estrogen level drops significantly, resulting in hair loss. It can be called “reactive” alopecia.

This form of alopecia can cause 20% to 30% of the hair to fall out in the most severe cases. It affects the top of the head the most.

Poisoning

It is possible to poison your hair and make it fall out by ingesting:

  • poisonous mushrooms
  • toxic drugs or a bad combination of drugs
  • cleaning products
  • Infectious diseases: 

Mild and temporary alopecia can occur when suffering from:

  • flu
  • streptococcal infections
  • mononucleosis

Deficiencies in essential amino acids: 

Keratin, the hair’s raw material, makes up 95% of its structure. It is nourished with amino fatty acids (methionine and cystein), which are mainly found in animal proteins, and trace elements. Some vegetarian and vegan diets are therefore very low in amino acids and cause deficiencies that lead to hair loss.

Exceptional causes

Alopecia can appear following burns, ionizing radiation, or certain skin diseases such as lupus erythematosus (ringworm), some skin tumors or following a localized trauma after bruising, or due to some high fevers (scarlet fever, a bronchial infection). Hypo/hyperthyroidism-related diabetes also causes hair loss.

Find out more



Select your region

BelgiumBelgium

FranceFrance