What Is Hair Loss a Symptom Of?

Hair loss is a clinical issue that results from individual habits, behaviors, nutritional deficiencies, and genetic vulnerability. It can signal many diseases or state of health. Although hair loss is not easy to examine alone, there are practical implications to infer in terms of precaution. The best option is always seeing a doctor but a glimpse for information is beneficial. I tried to consider important points for hair loss in this text.

What is hair loss a symptom of? Hair loss could be a symptom of genetic vulnerability for hair structure, aging, androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata scalp health, poor self-care, and weathering. Hair could signal our state of health. It has a direct influence on our appearance and therefore it is critical for our self-esteem. There are lots of things to overcome some abnormalities and deficiencies at our structure of hair. Cosmetic and natural products seem to be effective for hair growth and improving hair health. Interventions to layers of hair in terms of increasing volume and regaining shine is possible and plays a part in the treatment. Thus, reliable natural and cosmetic products could be used to overcome hair health problems. These interventions could solve the hair loss problem related to self-care and scalp health.

There are three stages of hair gross cycle which are anagen, catagen and telogen correspond to growth, involution and rest, respectively. Every day our hair goes through these stages and at the and of day, after a normal amount (100 hairs) hair fell, and the anagen phase is stimulated. The anagen phase is determinant for volume and growth of hair.

Environmental factors are pretty influential at the structure of hair and the stages of the hair growth cycle. They can change the anagen stage so that the stimulation of hair growth becomes problematic and the volume of the hair could be affected as well. Treatment of hair loss includes promoting activation of the phases. Finasteride and minoxidil are the two most common drugs for th treatment of hair loss.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia is a genetically based disease and it can be seen in women and men differently. It is the most common form of hair disease, so hair loss could be a symptom of androgenetic alopecia with a high probability. It is classified as female-pattern and male-pattern baldness.

The course of development for the disease results from the problematic duration of the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. The other symptoms include loss in the hair pigmentation, hair thinning and decreased hair volume. In women, the excess amount of androgen explains the development of androgenetic alopecia.

The most common and valid treatment for androgenetic alopecia is finasteride and minoxidil. They are recommended as effective at stimulating hair growth and improving thinning hair by specialists. After six months of use, their effects can become visible. Unfortunately, men with older than 60 years old could not get benefit from finasteride as studies demonstrated.

Minoxidil is one of the most common treatments for various kinds of hair loss diseases and hair loss symptoms. It enacts the anagen phase in terms of rising at the duration. It can increase the amount of hair and contributes to hair growth. However, as all medications have, minoxidil has a side effect on the scalp (dryness, itching, redness, etc.).

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a rare autoimmune disease in which the T-cells of the body that are normally fighting with bacteria, viruses, and fungi attack to the hair cells. There are seemingly no sex and age differences for this disease. However, findings show that children developed this disease more than adults. Having a relative who has thyroid disease seems to generate a risk factor for the development of alopecia areata.

Treatment of alopecia areata can include immune-related therapies or minoxidil depending on the duration, age, severity of the current hair loss situation. Two forms of the treatment consist of the application of the medication to the affected area. However, minoxidil is more frequently used than other forms of therapies. In addition to hair, minoxidil can be used to stimulate the growth of eyebrow and beard in the case of alopecia areata.


Hair loss has a strong correlation with aging, so it counts as a symptom of aging as well. Hair loss related to aging is most likely to occur after the age of 40 because the volume and pigmentation of the hair generally reduce after the age of 40. In addition to that, the anagen phase shortens after that age.

Unfortunately, some disease like diabetes may cause hair loss in elderly people. In addition to that, some medications and hormonal changes and imbalances cause hair loss as well. Thus, aging becomes a risk factor for significant hair loss problems.Researchers suggest that the hair loss related to aging stems from the thinning of hairs and decrease at the volume of the hair. Thus, intervention to hair thinning problem could prevent the development of serious hair loss problems.  You can go over with the “Suggestions for Hair Thinning” for tips to reverse or prevent hair thinning problem.

Suggestions for Hair Thinning

Here I tried to list some helpful steps for hair thinning problem:

  • Cosmetic products: Dryness, decreased volume and thinning are the most common symptoms of age-related hair loss. Reliable cosmetic products such as shampoos are found to be effective at reversing these symptoms. 
  • Quitting smoking: Smoking has a pervasive impact on the skin. It is well-known that smoking causes early aging of the skin and some studies revealed that it also plays a role at hair loss. 
  • Sun protection: Besides its importance for skin, sun protection is also very crucial for hair loss. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) contributes to various damages to the tissues. It also causes inflammations so it has a serious threat for both skin and hair health. It is suggested that the best protection from the sun is a hat. 
  • Air pollution: There are two factors that affect the scalp in terms of hair loss. One is intrinsic factors that stem from inherited factors related to some disease and vulnerability. The other one is extrinsic factors and we can have control over them. Air pollution is one of the precipitating factors for hair loss because it has a bad impact on our scalp. Avoiding from air polluted environments can be a protective factor for hair loss. 
  • Nutrition and Life-Style: Other extrinsic factors that protect the scalp is a sufficient amount of nutrition intake and having a good lifestyle. Good lifestyle brings about good health and it generates protection against skin related problems corresponding to age or other causes. Thus, both for your health and hair problems adapting to a healthy lifestyle is the best option. 

Scalp Health

Scalp constitutes the place that hair is cling to. Thus, scalp health is directly related to hair health and hair loss problems. Treatments of hair loss problem include promoting ingredients for scalp health as well. Intervention to scalp has a direct influence on the appearance and state of health and structure of hair.

Hair appearance could result from the direct application of some processes to the scalp. Hair styling, hair dye, and other cosmetic products can make hair dry after they are performed on the scalp. Consuming natural products as much as possible could help to protect your hair against these threats. Thus, being careful about these processes is important for both your scalp and hair health.

Hair Weathering

Hair weathering is a result of daily wearing out of hair structure and it has an impact on the hair fiber. The longer the hair, the more prone to hair weathering it is. Naturally, hair experiences some degree of deterioration as it goes longer because of the environmental factors and cosmetic influences. Since the tip of the hair is exposed to more environmental factors comparing to root of the hair such as hair drying, the difference between them is actually normal. However, there are three dangerous hair operations that contribute to hair weathering.

1) Hair Bleaching

Hair bleaching is a common method before the hair dyeing process. If you want to dye your hair, most probably your hair will be exposed to bleaching to catch the perfect color. In fact, if you have brown or red hair or you have your hair dyed to those colors, more bleaching is required for color change.

Bleaching is basically oxidation applied to the hair. It affects the melanin and causes a change in the pigmentation at the hair. It counts as one of the most damaging operations for hair health. Oxidation hurt hair structure a lot and therefore results in serious consequences.

2) Permanent Hair Straightening

Permanent hair straightening process causes straight hair for approximately 6 months. It affects the structure of the hair so that originally wavy or curly hair stay straight for several months. It may sound very practical for many people but it has bad influences on the natural structure of hair like damaging some bonds of the hair cells.

3) Permanent Hair Waving

Permanent hair waving is very similar to the permanent hair straightening process. It causes approximately 6 months of wave hairs for originally straight hairs. Again structural bonds of the hair are intentionally harmed in this process. These processes bring about free radicals which are dangerous to hair health and one of the contributors to hair loss. In addition to that, these processes are done with the application of chemicals and intense heat operations so the normal application of these processes is very dangerous for our health.

All in all, hair loss could be a symptom of alopecia areata or androgenetic alopecia which are hair related disease and have strong genetic factors. These disease-related factors for hair loss called intrinsic factors. Therefore, in this condition hair loss constitutes a type of symptoms that also signals your genetic vulnerability to hair loss.

Aging, intense hair operations, bad habits and general environmental factors are also related to hair loss. Hair loss could signal these external components as risky for your hair health. Of these factors, aging seems to be not stoppable but as I listed there are precautions for slowing down hair thinning related to aging. 

Related Questions

Is hair loss a sign of cancer?

Hair loss cannot be a powerful sign for a particular disease or medical condition like no other factors cause hair loss alone. I tried to give brief information about possible associations and it can be understood that hair loss signals the general state of health.

There are no significant findings of hair loss as a sign of cancer in terms of classification under a particular type of cancer. However, there are some implications for hair loss and cancer with the addition of other physiological symptoms. If you are experiencing hair loss, it signals that there is something wrong with your body. Thus, in terms of external causes of hair loss, it can inform you about your habits and lifestyle.

What causes hair loss in females?

All of the causes listed for hair loss at this text such as alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, aging, intense hair operations, environmental pollution, smoking, aging, genetic vulnerabilities, nutritional deficiencies overlap with the reasons of hair loss in females.

In addition to that, women can experience hair loss after birth because during pregnancy they did not go through telogen phase which is known as rest phase. Thus, the normal daily amount of hair did not pull out during pregnancy. After delivery, telogen phase re-activated and the hair that did not fall during pregnancy starts to fall. This is an equilibrium process so it is relatively a normal condition.

Lastly, menopause is also seen as a leading factor for hair loss with the increased age. Estrogen is a protective hormone for the hair growth cycle. However, after menopause, the levels of estrogen considerably decreases and testosterone increases. These hormonal alterations play a role at hair loss after menopause in females. 

How can I stop my hair loss?

If you are experiencing excessive hair loss, seeing a doctor makes you more certain about the particular reasons for your hair loss. It is generally more difficult to notice the mild symptoms of hair loss. However, if you are suspicious about it, you can apply the suggestions that I listed.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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