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What causes hair loss?

May 9, 2019

Hair loss and baldness are extraordinarily common conditions, but common though it may be, even partial loss of hair can be very distressing for men and women alike.


Hair growth phases


There are 3 phases in a healthy hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen and telogen. About 90% of your hair is in its anagen, or actively growing phase. This phase lasts 3-5 years. Hair then enters the catagen or transitional state for about 10 days, as it prepares to shed. The telogen phase is characterized by your hair actually falling out—the follicles enter a dormant state for about 3 months before restarting the growth process again. Each and every follicle on your head has its own cycle, so you don’t experience hair loss all at once. Believe it or not, it’s normal to lose about 100 hairs a day, but this doesn’t usually cause noticeable thinning because new hair is growing in simultaneously.


What causes hair loss?


Hair loss occurs when the cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue. The most common causes of thinning and balding hair are hereditary, but hair loss can occur for a number of other reasons such as a change in diet, or simple aging. If you’re losing your hair, here are a few additional culprits to consider:


  • Hormonal factors. Testosterone converts to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle’s oil glands. Scientists believe that the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles causes shrinkage, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive. This largely occurs in men since they tend to have more testosterone, but can occur in women as well.
  • Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months post physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is generally temporary.
  • Your hair structure and getting enough water are correlated. Water makes up 25% of a hair strand, and your hair follicles need water to grow. While short-term dehydration won’t harm your hair, chronic dehydration can cause hair loss.
  • Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition causing patchy hair loss. Research shows that people with alopecia have much lower levels of vitamin D than others.
  • Botox Injectable. In very rare cases, Botox Injectable may cause hair thinning, but in many cases, it can actually help stimulate hair growth by increasing blood circulation to the hair follicles, so it may be a solution instead!
  • Having diabetes can disrupt hair growth or at least slow it down, as well as cause you to lose hair. You may also lose hair as a side effect of medication meant to treat diabetes.
  • Most experts agree that wearing a hat daily won’t cause hair loss, but it may not be wise for those already losing their hair. Wearing tight hats, or being careless when removing a hat can facilitate hair loss.
  • Although one of the best supplements for hair growth is biotin, a deficiency of the b-vitamin is rare. It’s always best to check with a doctor before taking biotin, as it may cause hair loss in individuals who don’t need more of it!


At SpaMedica in Toronto, we offer a variety of advanced, highly effective hair transplant and restoration treatments aimed at restoring thick and natural-looking hair growth to your head, including:



Schedule a consultation at SpaMedica in Toronto today to learn more!

Dr. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Posted by Dr. Stephen Mulholland, MD
has been practicing plastic surgery for over 20 years. He is one of Canada’s most renowned and best plastic surgeons in Toronto with his wealth of experience, artistry, and humbleness towards his patients.

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