12 Different Reasons You Might Experience Hair Loss And How To Fight It

Your hair is the crown you wear every day, so experiencing hair loss can be scary. What do the experts say about it, and how can we fight it?

By Hannah Leah5 min read
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Shutterstock/Dari Ya

Every head of hair is different, so treatment for hair loss is not a one-size-fits-all. You know your own hair best, so when evaluating what’s happening, think about your hair in its normal state and compare it to what it currently looks like. It’s very common to shed some hair throughout the day, but you should be able to tell if an excessive amount is falling out, or if there seems to be a bare spot that wasn’t there before. Don’t panic, because stress will only cause more harm. (Easier said than done, I know.

In an exclusive interview for Evie, Dr. Michele Green, a Yale graduate and board-certified dermatologist in NYC, is giving us her advice on hair loss, as well as a variety of treatment options. There are several reasons you could be experiencing hair loss, and the treatment will depend on the root of the issue. Below, we're breaking down the 12 different causes of hair loss and what to do about each.

Androgenetic Alopecia 

This seems to be the most common cause of hair loss, affecting about 50% of both men and women. Androgenetic alopecia is a hereditary condition. As AlopeciaUK defines it: “This form of hair loss is related to hormones called androgens, particularly an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Increased levels of androgens such as DHT in hair follicles can lead to a shorter cycle of hair growth and the growth of shorter and thinner strands of hair. Follicles can also stay in the resting phase for longer periods of time.” 

Usually, this happens sometime after puberty. Men who experience this form of hair loss will notice a receding hairline around their temples and a bare spot around the crown area. For women, hair can get thinner at the crown, or all over the head. Women don’t typically go completely bald from alopecia. 

Treatment: This condition does not have a cure, and hair loss is permanent, but it can be slowed down with treatment. I asked Dr. Green what treatments she recommends, and she says, “Propecia or finasteride is an oral medication that is FDA-approved to treat androgenetic alopecia. Minoxidil, the main ingredient in Rogaine, is an FDA-approved topical treatment for androgenetic alopecia.”

Alopecia Areata 

This type of alopecia is an autoimmune disease that happens when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Typically with this disease, hair is usually lost from the head and face, but can potentially be lost from anywhere on the body. It will fall out in round, small patches. For some people, there is just one incident of hair loss, but others have bouts of it throughout their lives. Men and women can experience alopecia areata, and it most commonly happens in someone’s teens, twenties, or thirties, but it can happen to someone even younger. 

Treatment: Recovery is possible for someone with this condition. For mild cases, hair may regrow without any treatment. For more severe treatments, consult with a professional. Dr. Green suggests, “Intralesional corticosteroid injections or topical corticosteroids are common treatments for alopecia areata, although a new medication called baricitinib (Olumiant) was FDA approved in June 2022 for systemic treatment of severe alopecia areata.”

With age, it’s natural for hair growth to slow and for hair to thin and lose its color. 


With age, it’s natural for hair growth to slow down or for hair to thin. Along with this, the hair loses its color. The age at which this happens is different for everyone, but your overall health plays a big factor in the health of your hair. 

Treatment: There is no cure for hair loss that comes with age, but it can be slowed down with treatment. 

Dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld suggests these five tips to help slow down hair loss with age:

  • Wash your hair less frequently. Overwashing your hair can cause it to become dry and brittle. 

  • Use a conditioner and volumizer to help the hair stay strong and healthy.

  • Choose your products wisely. For hair coloring, see a professional. Avoid heat styling your hair too often, and if you do, use a heat protectant. 

  • Make sure your diet is rich in protein, and take your vitamins!

  • Check your medications, as some of them can cause hair loss.


If you’ve ever had a baby, you’re likely familiar with the postpartum hair loss experience. Pregnancy hormones – and the hormonal changes after birth – are both at play in this scenario. Dr. Green explains, “Hair follicles are sensitive to hormonal changes. During pregnancy, estrogen levels increase, which prolongs the growth (anagen) phase of the hair cycle and causes less shedding. After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone decline, and cortisol increases, pushing the hair follicles to enter the shedding phase at once, leading to excessive shedding.”

Treatment: You can expect some changes to your hair for a few months after pregnancy, but Dr. Green has a few suggestions: “Postpartum hair growth vitamins should target the causes of thinning hair after giving birth, such as nutrient depletion, hormonal changes, and stress. It is important to note that vitamins and supplements do not require FDA approval, and some vitamins may not be suited for breastfeeding women. Ask your physician before trying any new supplements.” 

She continues, “Nutrafol offers various vitamins catered to gender and age. Nutrafol Postpartum is specifically developed to target the root causes of hair loss in the first year after giving birth. It is safe for those who are nursing, contains natural whole food-sourced ingredients, and is backed by clinical research. It was formulated with the guidance of an OB-GYN and is compatible with most prenatal and postnatal vitamins.”

Stress and hormones go hand in hand, and when your hormones are not in balance, it can affect your hair.

Stress and Illness

People don’t realize the impact stress can have on the body. Stress and hormones go hand in hand, and when your hormones are not in balance, it can affect your hair. Hair loss related to stress is called telogen effluvium

“In telogen effluvium, stress triggers the hair follicles to enter the resting phase, and the hair sheds after three to four months. Stressful events, such as a fever, illness, or surgery, can induce 20-50% of scalp hairs to transition into the telogen (resting) phase,” Dr. Green tells Evie

Treatment: Hair loss thanks to stress or hormone imbalance will usually last for a few months before going back to normal. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help. Tracking your cycle and adjusting your lifestyle to that will make all the difference with your hormones. 28 by Evie is the perfect place to start. 

Thyroid Disease

For those with thyroid disease, it’s common to see changes in your hair. This is due to the disrupted T3 and T4 hormones, specifically if it goes untreated. Other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and PCOS, can also cause hair loss. 

Treatment: Hair loss from thyroid disorders is usually temporary and can be treated. See your endocrinologist to find the correct treatment and medications for your thyroid, and then your hair cycle should balance out. 


If you notice hair loss after changing or starting a new medication, it could be a side effect of your medication. There are several kinds of medication that can prompt hair loss. According to Dr. Green, “Some blood pressure medications (beta blockers and ACE inhibitors) have been reported to cause hair loss. Chemotherapy drugs can cause anagen effluvium and affect hair on the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, and the body. Some antidepressants, antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering medications, gout medications, immunosuppressants, antacids, and anti-arrhythmia drugs can have a rare side effect of hair loss.”

Treatment: It’s up to you to decide if the side effects from medication outweigh the purpose of taking the medication. You could try changing to a different type of medication with the help of a medical professional, but sometimes there are few options for medication without side effects. Some choose to take vitamins and supplements along with their medication to help fight the side effects. 

Over-Processed and Tight Hairstyles

Celebrities like Ariana Grande make the tight pony feel so trendy, but beware of hair loss from it! When you wear a very tight hairstyle, you’re pulling on your scalp, which can cause breakage. Another thing to look out for is over-processed hair. I would urge you to see a hair professional when attempting to do color or highlights, as the chemicals from it can be dangerous and harsh on the hair. When going blonde (especially from a darker shade), allow it to be a slow and steady process and separate sessions to keep the integrity of the hair. 

Treatment: Be gentle with your hair. If the style feels super tight, loosen it or change the style. Or just try not to wear the tight style for long periods of time. If you have already lost hair from over-processing, do conditioning treatments on your hair and make sure to use a repairing shampoo and conditioner. Use a heat protectant before applying hot tools, and don’t use hot tools every day. 

Scalp Issues  

Conditions like psoriasis or a scalp infection could be contributing to your hair loss. The skin will get very dry and flaky, and cause the hair to be fragile and break off. A scalp infection will look like a patch of dark dots and an inflamed, scaly area on the head. Psoriasis looks like patches of thick red skin and silvery scales. 

Treatment: There are three things Dr. Green suggests for those who suffer from scalp issues: salicylic acid, corticosteroids, and coal tar. “Daily washing with salicylic acid-based shampoo can eliminate some dead skin. Products containing salicylic acid are often called scale softeners, and shampoos that contain salicylic acid for scalp psoriasis are available over the counter. Overusing salicylic acid products can worsen psoriasis, so it is advised to follow the instructions,” she tells Evie.

She recommends corticosteroids which reduce redness, swelling, itchiness, and scaling. “Physicians often prescribe corticosteroids for scalp psoriasis, although steroid creams are available over the counter. This should not be used long-term, so it is beneficial to consult a dermatologist before starting corticosteroid treatment at home.” 

Lastly, coal tar is an active ingredient in OTC psoriasis treatments. Dr. Green says, “It can be found in shampoos and soaps to help alleviate scalp psoriasis symptoms. The soap has a strong smell and can sometimes irritate the skin, so a low concentration should be used to start, gradually increasing the frequency of use and concentration as tolerated. The tar made from coal has been shown to reduce skin cell growth, inflammation, itching, and scaling."

Closing Thoughts

Treating hair loss can look different for everyone, depending on the root of the problem. In order to know which treatment is best, you have to know which condition you have. Some might be easier to identify than others, so it’s best to seek out the advice of a medical professional to help you create a treatment plan. It might just be that your body is experiencing something that leads to changes in hormones, or it could be a result of illness or disease that is affecting your hormones. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat these conditions, from lifestyle changes to medical treatment. 

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