Medical Director Dr. Hans-Georg Dauer
March 10, 2021
Every person loses on average between 50 and 100 hairs per day. Only when the 100-mark is reached, do we actually speak of hair loss. Various factors can play a role in why more or less hair is lost from the head. Both hereditary, hormonal and external influences can have an effect on hair loss.
In the following we would like to show you the most common reasons for hair loss, present treatment options and what you can do preventively against it.
Hereditary Hair Loss
Hereditary hair loss is by far the most common cause of hair loss, affecting almost 80% of men and up to 40% of women. From a medical point of view, hereditary hair loss is also called androgenetic alopecia.
The first signs in men appear before the age of 20, after which a second surge is expected between the ages of 35 and 45. This usually appears in the first stage at the hairline above the forehead. Furthermore, hair loss usually occurs additionally at the tonsure, which means at the vertebrae at the back of the head. In the worst case, only a crown of hair remains and baldness occurs.
The cause of hair loss in men lies in the body itself, the messenger dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is formed from testosterone, and acts harmfully on the hair roots (hair follicles). When the male body converts a particularly large amount of testosterone into DHT due to e.g. hereditary reasons, the scalp reacts with hypersensitivity to it. This hypersensitivity is hereditary and as a result, hair loss takes its toll
Up to 40% of women also suffer from androgenetic alopecia. As with men, the cause is a hypersensitivity of the hair roots to DHT. The difference, however, is that the hair does not fall out at the forehead, but at the crown first, where it initially becomes thinner and subsequently falls out.
In addition to hereditary hair loss, there are also hormonal aspects that can lead to hair loss, especially in women. In the following, we would like to show you why women who are going through menopause, taking birth control pills or are pregnant are more affected.
Whether it's mood swings or hot flashes, menopause can be a difficult phase for many women. Up to a third of women suffer from hair loss during the menopause. This type of hair loss is also hereditary, which means that women also have a hypersensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), as previously described. When a woman reaches menopause, estrogen levels drops. Thereby, there are too many male hormones in the body in relation to the female hormones, which leads to hair loss in case of hereditary hypersensitivity.
What exactly are the symptoms of this? A typical pattern looks like this: The hair root atrophies first, the hair then becomes thinner and thinner and eventually falls out. In most cases, it is mainly the crown of the head that is affected. Here you can increasingly see that the scalp appears. However, other areas such as the forehead or the sides can also be affected. In the worst case, hair loss progresses chronically until the hair roots can no longer produce new hair. The consequence: irreversible hair loss.
The Birth Control Pill
The birth control pill can also be the trigger for genetic hair loss. During the intake or discontinuation of the pill, the hormonal balance of the woman is strongly interfered with. This leads to the onset of hair loss in women who are susceptible to constitutional hair loss.
Taking the pill usually has a positive effect on the hair in the beginning. By taking the pill, the level of female hormones increases by itself, which leads to the hair becoming fuller, stronger and shinier. However, most pills also contain artificial hormones that can lead to the exact opposite. These act like male hormones and can cause hair loss in women who are genetically sensitive to DHT. Bald patches are rare in this case, but the hair becomes thinner and increasingly tends to fall out.
When you stop taking the pill, you often see the opposite effect. Since the artificial hormones remain off and estrogen drops naturally, the female body has to "realize" again that it has to produce estrogen itself. Due to the briefly low estrogen level, there may also be congenital hair loss.
During and After Pregnancy
Many women have full and shiny hair during pregnancy. This is due to the increased production of the female hormone estrogen. However, many women also notice that their hair falls out during this time. We would like to show you here what exactly causes this.
The increased estrogen level during pregnancy usually brings very positive effects for the hair, but can also be canceled out and lead to hair loss. One very common reason for this is an iron deficiency. Since the fetus requires lots of iron for its development, a pregnant woman needs up to 60 percent more iron during this time. This additional amount must be taken in through the diet (products with a high iron content are mostly animal products, especially meat), otherwise this deficiency can lead to hair loss.
Discontinuation of birth control pills before pregnancy can also be the reason for hair loss. Due to the strong change in hormone balance can also occur.
However, the likelihood of hair loss after childbirth is much higher. The growth phases of the hair have lengthened during pregnancy due to the excess estrogen. Since this is no longer the case, the hair can fall out more.
This phenomenon is called postpartum effluvium and refers to an increase in hair loss after childbirth. However, the severity of this varies greatly - some new mothers lose clumps of hair while others only lose a few. This condition returns to normal after about six to nine months after birth.
As we all know, an unhealthy diet is bad for the body and consequently also affects hair growth. For example, an undetected iron deficiency can lead to hair loss. In general, nutrient deficiencies shorten the growth phase of the hair and thus increasingly more hair falls out.
The metabolism of our hair is heavily dependent on nutrients and vitamins. The more balanced our diet is and thus the body is supplied with sufficient vitamins, the less likely hair loss will occur. In addition, vitamins such as biotin (vitamin B7) can additionally increase hair growth.
We would like to demonstrate to you which vitamins play an important role for hair growth, and what effects they have.
What Vitamins are Missing in Hair Loss?
Vitamin C deficiency is the cause of some infections and diseases and can also lead to hair loss. However, vitamin C is urgently needed so that iron can bind to the red blood cells and thus reach the hair roots.
Our body cannot bind vitamin C itself. That is why it is even more important to take in vitamin C regularly through food. It can be taken quite easily via fresh fruit (especially citrus fruits and berries) or also via various vegetables such as peppers.
Vitamin E coats all body cells like a kind of protective mantle and protects them from harmful influences - including the cells of the hair follicles. In addition, vitamin E stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and thus indirectly the nutrient supply of the hair roots. This accelerates hair growth and your hair becomes stronger again.
Very good sources of vitamin E are especially vegetable and nut oils. However, vitamin E can also be ingested via natural food supplements.
Vitamin A has a great influence on the human organism. Suffering from a vitamin A deficiency can lead to eye sight problems, dry skin or even hair growth disorders.
Since vitamin A is involved in the synthesis of lipids in the hair follicles, a lack of it can quickly lead to hair loss. Vitamin A is found exclusively in animal foods such as salmon. However, in vegetables such as carrots or spinach we can find beta-carotene, which is its precursor and can be converted into vitamin A as needed.
Hair loss can also be triggered by a deficiency of vitamin D, as a deficiency alters or interrupts the growth cycle.
Vitamin D is only found to a limited extent in food. However, our body can obtain vitamin D from sunlight. Generally, 80-90% of the requirement is covered by sunlight and only 10-20% by food. So if you spend a lot of time in the fresh air, you are well provided for with vitamin D in any case.
If you want to get vitamin D from food, be sure to eat plenty of fish, especially salmon, or meet your needs through nutrient supplements.
As you can see, it's definitely worth eating healthily to prevent hair loss. But just between you and me - you should also pay attention to a healthy diet to prevent diseases or obesity.
You have now learned a lot about the reasons why hair can fall out or become thinner. In this chapter we would like to tell you about a few diseases that can also lead to hair loss.
We will not go into detail here about each disease, as that would go beyond the scope of this article. Therefore, we mention here only the most common diseases that can cause hair loss:
- Skin diseases
- Thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism)
- Autoimmune diseases as a cause of circular hair loss (Alopecia Areata)
Diseases are often also the reason for rather rare forms of hair loss. In diffuse hair loss, the hair roots fall out almost evenly on the scalp of the affected person.
Hair loss can also occur during cancer therapy due to chemotherapy. Wigs can help during this difficult time while the hair slowly grows back.
Prolonged stress, both physical and emotional, can lead to hair loss, as can physical illness. However, this process can also be reversed. Less stress - more hair.
However, it is not exactly clear why stress influences hair growth. It is assumed that stress increases the concentration of various substances at the hair follicles and this leads via several detours to inflammation. This inhibits the growth phase of the hair, the hair roots go back into the resting phase and fall out after about two to three months.
The most effective therapy for stress-related hair loss is stress reduction. How this works best is very individual and each person must find their own way. Whether through sports (yoga, tai chi, etc.), social interactions or rest periods - there is no single perfect recipe. However, it is also possible to take good care in everyday life to live as stress-free as possible. Good time management, for example, can help here. Furthermore, it is very important to get enough sleep and to eat a balanced diet.
The "good" thing about stress-related hair loss is that by reducing stress, your hair will grow back within six to nine months.
Incorrect Hair Care
Yes, you read that right. Improper hair care can also be a reason for hair loss. Especially shampoos and other hair care products that contain harsh chemicals like aluminum can harm your scalp. Likewise, blow drying and heavy combing make your hair more brittle and fragile and thus also contribute to increased hair loss. In addition, tight hairstyles such as braids and ponytails, as well as extensions, can also damage your hair, as they disrupt or even interrupt the flow of blood to the hair follicles.
In the summer we all love to go out and enjoy the sun. Unfortunately, we usually pay too little attention to headgear. Excessive heat on your hair can also cause your hair to become brittle and fall out faster. Nevertheless - getting some sun for some precious vitamin D is important, as previously described.
What Can I do About Hair Loss?
Since there is not just one form of hair loss, there is also not one solution that prevents hair loss or gives one hundred percent certainty of success.
In general, we recommend that you seek professional advice in case of hair loss and do not act rashly. HAIR & SKIN offers all those affected a free hair scan, which you can conveniently book here at the location of your choice. Your hair and scalp will be analyzed in detail by our doctors upon which we recommend a specific treatment, tailored to your needs.
This does not always have to be a hair transplant. PRP treatment is often sufficient to regenerate your scalp and to prolong the growth phases of your hair roots again. The parallel intake of preparations such as ©Pantogar or ©Minoxidil can strengthen the desired effect.
Sometimes, however, hair loss is already so advanced that it can only be remedied in the long term by means of a hair transplant. There are various methods available here. We at HAIR & SKIN use the most advanced and at the same time most careful FUE method in which hair follicles are first removed individually from the back of the head. In the next step, these are then reinserted in the bald areas. After the hair transplantation we enrich your hair roots with essential nutrients through a PRP treatment.
You have now learned a lot about what forms of hair loss there are, where the causes lie and how you can prevent it. Basically, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to hair loss. Each person affected must be treated individually. Always get good advice and take good care of your scalp!