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Although it’s an important part of you, the hair on your head is probably something you take for granted.

You brush it, cut it, wash it, and you may spend hours a week styling it, but you might not think about how your hair grows or about it falling out until you notice more of your scalp in the mirror.

Whether you’ve just discovered clumps of hair in the shower or you’ve noticed a definite thinning and receding in key spots on your head, this guide can help you find out exactly what hair loss is, the signs of hair loss, and how to address and prevent hair loss.

This menu will help you navigate this guide, and if you’d like, you can jump around from section to section.

What Is Hair Loss?

What is hair loss?

For something that can cause psychological distress in both men and women, it has a pretty straightforward definition. Hair loss is what happens when you lose hair from part of your head or your body. Thinning is sometimes (although not always) a precursor to actual loss. The technical term for hair loss is alopecia, but you may also hear it referred to as balding. 

To understand hair loss, you have to first understand how hair grows. Your hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Keratin is produced in your hair follicles, and when your follicles produce new hair cells, the old cells are pushed out through the surface of your scalp. The hair you currently see on your head is actually dead keratin cells.

Hair grows at about six inches per year, and adults have about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs on their head. It’s normal to lose around 100 hairs per day, so finding a stray hair on your clothes or a few in your hair brush is usually par for the course in a normal head of hair.

Hair Thinning & Loss


Hair loss happens when the process of hair production is disrupted.

Because your hair follicles are mini-organs, they have their own unique growth cycle. The follicle is what signals the hair to grow, fall out, or remain dormant. If, for any reason, your hair follicle is disrupted, your hair production can slow or stop.


That process is commonly known as alopecia.

Alopecia is a general term that refers to hair loss, but there are specific types of alopecia you may have. Take alopecia areata for example: it’s an autoimmune condition where your immune system will mistakenly attack your hair follicles.

Alopecia areata can strike anyone, and it may be due to genetics. Several members of the same family can have the condition, and it can appear as early as childhood for both men and women. It’s characterized by patchy, sudden hair loss on your scalp, face, and possibly other areas of your body.

Besides this round, patchy hair loss, there are a few other ways someone can suffer from alopecia areata:


Alopecia Totalis
Just like the name ‘totalis’ suggests, when you have alopecia totalis, you may lose every single strand of your scalp hair.
Alopecia Universalis
Alopecia Universalis is when you lose all of your body hair, from eyebrows to leg hair.
When you can see a wave pattern around the back of your head around the edge of your scalp, that’s a form of alopecia areata known as Ophiasis.
Scalp health and hair loss

You may not realize it, but your scalp health is critical to facilitating hair growth. Your hair follicle will produce an oil called sebum, and if your follicle is full of sebum or somehow blocked by dead skin, infection, or dandruff, your hair growth could be impacted. If your hair follicle is completely blocked, hair growth may stop completely.

There’s also a condition called scalp folliculitis. This condition occurs when someone has/had a bacterial infection and the hair follicles become inflamed. That inflammation can present itself like a ring around the follicle, and you might think it looks a bit like acne.

If this condition is caught early, hair may still be present in the hair follicle. If the condition progresses, that hair may fall out. Scalp folliculitis can cause permanent damage to your follicles, and the damage can result in permanent hair loss.

Hair Loss Cycle

The best way to understand the hair loss cycle is to look at how hair grows.

In a normal hair growth cycle, 90% of your hair is resting while about 10% is growing or shedding. Each follicle has a life cycle that can be divided into three phases.


Anagen hair growth

In this stage the hair root cells will divide as they are added to the hair shaft. This phase can last from 2 to about 6 years, and during that time it will grow about ¼ of an inch each month.

Catagen transitional phase

In the catagen phase your hair is no longer growing. During this transitional 2 to 3 week period, a club hair is formed. The club hair is formed when the hair follicle attaches to the hair shaft, and that attachment cuts off the follicle from both its blood supply and the cells that work to produce new hair.


Telogen shedding phase

This final phase of hair growth is also the phase where the hair loss cycle begins. The telogen phase lasts around two to four months, and as your hair begins to shed, the anagen phase will begin to produce new hair.

When you brush, shower, or style your hair, you will lose about 100 telogen-stage hairs a day. This is considered normal hair loss. Alopecia begins when you lose larger amounts of hair and the anagen phase begins to slow or is disrupted. One of the signs of hair loss is when the anagen phase begins to produce short, weak hairs. That can continue, or your body will cease to produce hair at all.

Psychological Effects

Your hair is part of your physical appearance...

Because most people will style and color their hair, it becomes one of the ways you express your beauty and unique appearance to the world. When you begin to lose your hair or you experience baldness, that part of your identity is suddenly missing.

A few of the psychological effects of hair loss include loss of self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. People experiencing hair loss may mourn the loss of their hair, and will seek hair loss treatment or attempt to diagnose the root cause of their hair loss in order to solve the problem.

Facts About Hair Loss: Myths vs Facts

There are a lot of myths about hair loss.

There are a lot of myths about hair loss. From the concept of a single hair loss gene to whether or not too much styling can result in you losing your hair, it’s good for anyone going through hair loss to separate the myths from the facts. Here’s a few hair loss FAQs to help you understand fact from fiction.

You can inherit a hair loss gene from your parents or grandparents.

There is no single, identified gene that will result in you losing your hair. It’s the combination of both of your parents genes that can result in alopecia, baldness, or small spot hair loss. 

Men suffer from hair loss more often than women.

It may not be as obvious in women because they may hide it well, but women do suffer from hair loss just as often as men do.

Your diet doesn’t affect hair loss
If your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals for a long time, that may result in hair loss. Crash diets can also result in temporary hair loss.
If you use too many hair products or you tease, style, perm, or blow dry your hair excessively, that can cause hair loss.
Normal styling and blow drying will not result in hair loss. Because the follicles are under the skin, they are protected from any products or hot air. What styling and coloring can do is damage your hair or cause it to break
Trimming your hair or cutting it all off will make it grow more quickly and result in thicker hair.

Your hair growth depends on your own hair growth cycle, and that cycle is determined by genetic and environmental factors

Wearing a baseball hat or other tight hat on your head will lead to hair loss.
Your hair is not an organism that needs to breath, and as detailed in the hair growth cycle, only the root of the hair is alive. Wearing a tight hat won’t result in the suffocation of your hair, and you will not lose hair because of it.

Types of Hair Loss

There are many types of hair loss, and when someone begins to lose their hair, it can happen in various stages. Hair loss can be as mild as temporarily losing a small amount from a tiny area to becoming permanently bald.


Causes of Hair Loss

If you’ve begun to lose your hair and you’re wondering why...

You should understand that hair loss will be different for every person. Some people have a receding hairline, while others lose hair at their temples or on the crown of their head.

There are also many other types of hair loss:

Androgenic Alopecia
Also called male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that results in a receding hairline or lack of hair on the crown of the head.
Hair Loss Due to Stress

Stress and hair loss can go hand in hand. Stress can actually trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, where a large part of your hair may enter the resting phase all at once. When that happens, your hair can fall out or thin.

Stress induced hair loss resulting in telogen effluvium can be caused by both emotional and physical issues. A change in job, abrupt change in weight, the death of a family member are all common causes of this type of hair loss.

The good news is that stress induced hair loss is usually only temporary. It may take a few months, but once the stress or anxiety passes and you adjust, your hair should begin to grow back.

Dying Hair and Hair Loss

Will dying hair cause hair loss? Anyone who frequents a hair salon may wonder whether or not bleach or processing your hair with chemicals to color it will cause hair loss. The answer is, it depends.

The actual dying process will not stop your hair from growing, but it could cause hair loss because it damages the hair. Hair dye contains chemicals like hydrogen and ammonia, and applying those chemicals to your hair could cause you to lose excessive hair in the telogen phase. Hair dye is also strong enough to weaken the shaft of your hair, and that may cause breakage leading to hair loss.

If dying hair could cause hair loss, does hair gel cause hair loss? On its own, gel does not contribute to hair loss. What can become a factor is if you don’t focus on scalp health. If hair builds up, leaving you with a shiny scalp, you could eventually develop scalp folliculitis.

How Your Diet Contributes to Hair Loss

When you go on a diet you restrict your body from accessing different types of foods. If you do that, you may also restrict your body from minerals and vitamins it needs to facilitate hair growth. That’s why eating disorders, poor diet, and extreme weight loss may result in temporary or permanent hair loss.

Involution Alopecia
This is a natural condition that affects a large number of people. As you age your hair follicles go into a resting phase. The hair that’s left on your head becomes shorter and decreases in number, and the result is a natural thinning as you get older.
Anagen Effluvium
When you’re exposed to toxins like those found in chemotherapy, you may experience the sudden loss of hairs in the anagen phases. Known as anagen effluvium, the condition is reversible and your hair may regrow in as little as one to three months. Some people can experience permanent hair loss due to anagen effluvium.
Hormonal Hair Loss

Hormone imbalance hair loss can happen to everyone, but it’s more likely to happen to women. Caused by fluctuations in hormones, hair loss hormone imbalance is common during pregnancy and menopause.

If you’ve ever wondered about birth control pills and hair loss, you won’t be surprised to find out that one may lead to the other. Because birth control pills may influence the growth and condition of your hair, so you can experience hair loss due to oral contraceptives. This generally only occurs if you already have a genetic predisposition to hormonal hair loss. It can also happen if you are especially sensitive to male hormones known as androgens.

Hormonal hair loss may be temporary as well, although it may take a few months beyond childbirth, menopause, or quitting birth control to begin growing back.

Hereditary Hair Loss

When someone begins losing a large portion or all of their hair, they usually take a look at their family’s hair first. Hereditary hair loss is called hereditary-pattern baldness or androgenetic alopecia, and this natural condition is due to genetics, hormones, and the aging process.

Hereditary hair loss often begins in the 20’s or 30’s, and while male-pattern baldness is more common, women may experience this type of loss--either before, during or after menopause.

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We understand how frustrating the quest for great hair can be. So we made it our mission to eliminate the embarrassment of thinning hair.

The 3 Stages of Hair Loss For Women

Female hair loss can be devastating, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it affects about 30 million American women. Although there are several scales to help determine the stages in women’s hair loss for instance, the Ludwig Scale is the most commonly used method for creating a uniform analysis of hair loss in women. The Ludwig Classification identifies 3 unique stages of female baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Your doctor or dermatologist will use this classification system to better identify the three major factors in the diagnosis and treatment of female hair loss. These stages range from having thinning on the top of the head, to the scalp showing and, finally, loosing all of the hair at the crown of the head.


Stage One

It’s normal to lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day, and when the frontal hairline remains relatively unaffected, most women won't even notice that a mild hair loss has occurred. If hair loss occurs on the top and front of the scalp, it will be more likely noticeable with middle part hairstyles.


Stage Two

In stage 2, women usually notice some thinning, shedding, and a general reduction in hair volume. Your middle part will keep on widening over time.


Stage Three

Stage three is the final and most extreme stage of female hair loss. Hair density is so thin on the crown (top of the head), that it makes it hard to hide and becomes visible to the naked eye.


Treatment for Women Hair Loss


Treatment for Stage 1

During these stages you may not be seeking intensive hair loss treatment, but you should be getting in front of the issue all the same. Taking preventive measures with an anti-aging, pro-growth, anti-thinning shampoo and conditioner is recommended. Leave-in topical sprays are also a good offensive measure to encourage robust growth in trouble areas. In the early stages, when it's easiest to forestall future losses and counteract recent issues, optimizing your hair and, more importantly, scalp health is essential. 


Treatment for Stage 2

Your hair will have begun to noticeably and progressively thin, but you still have drug-free hair loss treatment options during these middle stages. The best defense is pairing a hair loss shampoo, conditioner and topical treatment with hair-specific vitamin supplements (such as Biotin). A complete evaluation of potentially aggravating lifestyle factors should also be undertaken: diet, stress levels, exercise regimens, sleep patterns, u/v exposure--they all exacerbate poor hair and scalp health. 


Treatment for Stage 3

When a women has later stage hair loss, they want to spend time researching both drug-free, drug-based and surgical-based hair loss treatments. There are treatment options that can be tailored to your specific type or stage of hair loss, and you will want to explore all options that offer you the best chance of regrowth. Typically this late in the hair loss spectrum, multiple measures will need to be taken to revert losses and avoid continuing deterioration.

Stages of Hair Loss For Men

Androgenic alopecia is the most common cause of thinning hair, and it’s estimated half of the male population aged 40 and over will suffer from this problem. In some cases, hair loss will start as a gradual thinning, progressing in different parts of the head to complete baldness as the person grows older. In other cases, hair loss starts at ages younger than 40, and unless alopecia is treated at the beginning stages of hair loss, it can quickly become worse.

Androgenic alopecia involves the miniaturization of hair follicles. These follicles will become smaller and smaller, producing short, thin, and brittle hair. In some cases, hair follicles may eventually stop producing any hair. Not only do the hair follicles get smaller, they may actually disappear completely.

The 7 Stages of Hair Loss For Men

According to the Hamilton-Norwood Classification, originally published in 1975, there are 7 stages of male pattern baldness. Your doctor or dermatologist will use this classification system to identify two main and many minor forms of alopecia. These stages range from having a full head of hair to thinning and, eventually, complete baldness.


Stage One

It’s normal to lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day, so for the average person, stage one hair loss might not look like anything is out of the ordinary. The hair line and growth appear normal, and even a slight recession isn’t noticeable. At stage one you may have a full head of hair, but you may have also noticed you’ve lost a few more strands beyond what you’d consider normal.


Stage Two

In stage two hair loss you’ll begin to notice thinning. The focus could be a receding hairline on your forehead, the crown of your head, at your temples, or right in the center of your head. A symmetrical triangular shape could appear as hair recedes.


Stage Three

Stage three is the earliest point in the scale where baldness is identified. Your hairline at your forehead and temples will be receding rapidly, high temples become common, and you may see a significant thinning on the crown of your head.

Stage Four

When you are at stage four hair loss, some parts of your hair will continue to thin while others will be void of hair. You may find the naked areas are still covered in fuzz, or you may have a few lone hairs in different spots. This is the stage where round balding appears on top of the head.


Stage Five

You’ll notice a narrowing and thinning of the hair that’s still growing between the crown of your head and your receding hairline. You may even notice a small island of hair that sits high on your forehead, leaving you with one small spot of hair and several naked areas around it.


Stage Six

Any bridge or island between your forehead and your crown has now receded, and hair will continue to fall out to create a wider section with no hair at all.


Stage Seven

When you’re at stage seven, the hair on the top of your head is almost completely gone. Your head could have a large area without hair surrounded by a ring of hair that encircles your head. Any remaining hair will continue to fall out.


Treatment for Men Hair Loss


Treatment for Stage 1-3

During these stages you may not be seeking intensive hair loss treatment, but you should be getting in front of the issue all the same. Taking preventive measures with an anti-aging, pro-growth, anti-thinning shampoo and conditioner is recommended. Leave-in topical sprays are also a good offensive measure to encourage robust growth in trouble areas. In the early stages, when it's easiest to forestall future losses and counteract recent issues, optimizing your hair and, more importantly, scalp health is essential.


Treatment for Stage 4-5

Your hair will have begun to recede rapidly, but you still have drug-free hair loss treatment options The best defense is pairing a hair loss shampoo, conditioner and topical treatment with hair-specific vitamin supplements (such as Biotin). A complete evaluation of potentially aggravating lifestyle factors should also be undertaken: diet, stress levels, exercise regimens, sleep patterns, u/v exposure--they all exacerbate poor hair and scalp health.  


Treatment for Stage 6-7

When someone has stage six or stage seven hair loss, they want to spend time researching both drug-free, drug-based and surgical-based hair loss treatments. There are treatment options that can be tailored to your specific type or stage of hair loss, and you will want to explore a few that offer you the best chance of regrowth. Typically this late in the hair loss spectrum, multiple measures will need to be taken to revert losses and avoid complete baldness.

How to Prevent Hair Loss

Anyone who has felt helpless while watching their hair fall out will wonder how to prevent more hair loss. The answer is that future deterioration in hair conditions (quality and quantity) is about playing offense and defense. It’s about your hair and scalp health.

The earlier you start caring for your hair and scalp, the better off you’ll be. A large part of the population will suffer from hair loss, and they don’t begin seeking a hair loss solution until they’ve already lost 30% of their hair.

Taking care of your hair right now includes:

  • Regularly washing your hair with an anti-aging, growth stimulating shampoo and conditioner
  • Changing your diet to include protein and vitamins
  • Minimize stress and nurture a healthy overall lifestyle!
  • Avoiding gels, pomades, sprays or any other product that are alcohol-based
  • Avoid any hair product with cheap, harsh ingredients: sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, etc.

Women & Hair Loss

Although it’s perceived as more common that men will lose their hair, women experience hair loss/thinning as well. The causes of female hair loss vary including pregnancy, hormones, menopause, or female pattern hair loss. Female hair loss can have a devastating effect on self-esteem, mental well-being, and even physical health.

Hair loss during/post-pregnancy

Pregnancy hair loss/thinning is very common, and while some women experience a sudden thickening of hair, other women may notice large clumps falling out in the shower or when they brush their hair. The good news is that these issues are nearly always temporary and can be treated quite easily.

Hair loss in pregnancy is due to hormones fluctuating, and many women may experience post-natal shedding as well. Women who breastfeed will find that hormone levels don’t go back to normal until at least six months after they cease to breastfeed.

Hair loss during pregnancy and breastfeeding often shows up in round, patchy spots on the head, and many women notice a complete thinning or round spot of hair missing on their temple or temples.

Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives are a safe way to prevent pregnancy, but if you have genetic hair loss in your family, you may want to know the effects of your choice of pill on hair growth.

The birth control pill works by combining estrogen and progestin to suppress ovulation. When a woman who is already sensitive to hormone hair loss ingests the pill, she may experience varying degrees of hair loss for months after they’ve stopped taking it.

If you do suffer from hormone hair loss and you’d like to take oral contraceptives, you should seek out low-androgen index birth control pills. You may also consider a non-hormonal form of birth control to avoid this type of hair loss completely.

Female Pattern Hair Loss

Just like men experience male pattern baldness, women can also experience female pattern hair loss. Also known as androgenetic alopecia, it affects approximately 30 million women* in the United States. It can begin in your 20's and becomes relatively common among all women from their 40's onwards.

Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) usually occurs on the center part of the head. Unlike male pattern baldness that shows a recession at the crown, the hair gradually thins with a widening through the center part of the hair and spreads out.

Because female pattern hair loss is progressive, hair loss will continue indefinitely, with your part getting wider or losing/thinning hair near your temples. It rarely results in total baldness. Early treatment at the first signs of hair loss is vital to helping you regrow your hair.


Hair loss treatments for women

Because there are many reasons for female hair loss, there are also many hair loss treatments for women. You may try hair loss shampoo for women or specific types of women hair loss products instead of your usual hair care regimen.

Men & Hair Loss

Men experience three main types of hair loss: androgenic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and alopecia areta.

Male hair loss is commonly called male pattern baldness.

The male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causes a shortening of the hair follicle’s growth phase. As the follicle becomes smaller, it disappears. Although genetics play a big part in which hair follicles will be DHT-sensitive, you’ll find that the follicles on the top, crown, and front of the head are most sensitive to this hormone.

As we’ve shown in the seven stages of hair loss, male pattern baldness progresses on a fairly set course. From thinning to gradual baldness, in order to slow the speed at at which a male is losing hair, it’s crucial that he receives hair loss treatment at the earliest stages of hair loss.

Hair loss solutions for men

There are many choices of hair loss solutions for men including men’s hair loss shampoo and man hair loss product. Some treatments focus on maintaining good scalp health, while others focus on keeping the follicle healthy. Considering men report a loss of self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues related to hair loss, choosing hair loss treatment for men is vital as soon as the man notices he’s losing hair.

Hair Loss FAQs

When someone begins to experience hair loss or thinning, they have a lot of questions. A lot of those questions were answered in different sections of this page, but there are some additional hair loss FAQs you may be interested in.

Will wearing a tight baseball cap give me hair loss?
Your hair doesn’t require oxygen to breath, so there’s no reason to believe that cutting off oxygen to your hair by using tight hats will cause hair loss. The only part of your hair that’s alive is the root, and that gets oxygen from your scalp.
Do women only lose hair due to diet or disease?
No, there are many reasons why a woman would lose her hair, and diet and disease are just two reasons. Women can also suffer from female pattern baldness just like men, but the thinning of hair doesn’t appear in the same way as male pattern baldness.
Will female pattern hair loss affect a monthly period?
Hair loss doesn’t affect the female reproductive cycle, so it won’t affect your monthly period or cause abnormal bleeding. If you do find you’re experiencing both hair loss and abnormal bleeding, you should visit your doctor and request a blood test. You could be experiencing a hormonal imbalance or lack of vitamins.
Will having sex stop hair loss?
One common hair loss myth is that having sex will result in your body releasing chemicals that stop or slow the cycle of hair loss, but there is no connection between sex and hair loss.
Will overdosing on vitamins and minerals stop hair loss or hair thinning?
No, taking excessive vitamins and minerals will not stop hair thinning or hair loss. Taking the correct amount of hair loss vitamins could help slow the hair loss process.
Will fad diets cause me to lose my hair?
Malnutrition caused by fad diets could cause temporary hair loss due to the lack of vitamins and minerals in your diet, but they rarely cause permanent hair loss.
Will certain hair styles cause me to lose my hair?
Some hair styles that require a tight pulling on the scalp could. A common type of hair loss, Traction Alopecia, is caused by a pulling force being applied to hair. If you wear your hair in tight braids, ponytails, or corn rows, you could experience hair loss.
Will brushing my hair 100 times a day stop hair loss or improve hair growth?
Although your hair may look great from repeated brushing, too much brushing isn’t a good thing. Not only will repeat brushing not improve your hair growth or stop hair loss, it could also damage your hair.
Is baldness caused by poor blood circulation on my scalp?
No, there is no relationship between scalp circulation and baldness.
Will steroids help my hair grow faster or slow hair loss?
Male-pattern baldness is caused by a male hormone, and taking anabolic steroids that boost hormones can speed up hair loss. In some cases you can reverse the hair loss process, but other cases of steroid-related hair loss are permanent.