Leigh Ann Newman
Updated on January 16, 2024

The success of dealing with sudden excessive hair loss fully depends on the correct understanding of its causes. Thanfully, most causes of hair loss in women are temporary and reversible.

Before you start to panic over your thinning hair, look into these 12 most common causes of hair loss in women. After all, reversing the shedding may be as simple as sticking to the right diet or changing your hair routine.

What Causes Hair Loss in Women?

According to experts, the average human scalp has about 100,000 hair follicles. At any given time, each of your hair follicles is in a different phase of this cycle: Anagen phase (growth), Catagen (transition) phase, Telogen phase (resting), and Exogen phase (shedding). Thus, seeing some hairs in your brush or in a bath is perfectly normal and doesn’t mean you are experiencing a hair loss.

However, if you find more lost hairs than usual, spot thinning edges, or your scalp becomes more noticeable, it is worth analyzing the possible causes and taking action to stop and reverse hair shedding.

1. Stress

For many of us, stress has become a significant factor in our daily lives. Unfortunately, when left unchecked, stress can lead to many health-related issues, including hair loss. If your hair loss has been triggered by stress, managing your stress could be the key to returning to a healthy rate of hair growth. So, next time you’re starting to feel that stress level rise, remember to take deep breaths and look for healthy stress relievers. Your hair will benefit and so will you.

2. Weight Loss

I have personal experience with this one. When I recently lost about 35 pounds in three months, I started to notice I was losing more than my normal amount of hair on a daily basis. I was eating a balanced diet, but it was restrictive in calories and resulted in fairly rapid weight loss. The research shows that rapid weight loss can cause hair loss by causing your hair to go into its resting phase, also known as telogen effluvium. According to Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff, “The stress to one’s system from sudden or excessive weight loss can throw hair follicles into their resting phase. This is when many hairs are shed…This resting phase usually lasts two or three months. Hair growth returns to normal after that.”

3. Childbirth

Known as one of the most physically and emotionally charged times in a woman’s life, it’s no wonder that some of us experience sudden hair loss during and directly after childbirth. According to the medical experts, this is often due to hormonal shifts brought on by pregnancy. During the nine months of active pregnancy, our hair stays in its growth, or Anagen, phase, and does not get shed like it normally would. Therefore, when hormones shift again postpartum and the hair enters its resting phase, the excess hair is shed, which can seem alarming. However, it is usually temporary and a natural part of the childbirth process.

Related Post: 7 Best Tips for Pregnancy Hair Loss and Postpartum Thinning

4. Hot Oil

How many of you love a good hot oil treatment for your hair? I know there’s something extremely relaxing about the heat and feel of it as it sits on your scalp. While there are some great benefits to it, you may want to be careful when indulging in this activity. It has been found that excessive use of this and other chemical treatments, such as permanents and dyes, can cause scarring to your hair follicles, which may result in hair loss.

5. Hair Styling

As may be expected, hair becomes stressed and falls out if you engage in excessive styling with heat, bleach your hair, or resort to harmful permanent treatments. Putting extreme stress and pulling on your hair when styling tight braids or cornrows may be just as harmful. So, the next time you try one of these styles, you may want to give your hair a little grace and loosen the braid just a bit. Your scalp and hair will thank you.

Related Post: 10 Damaging Hair Habits You’ll Want to Change Today

6. Genetics

Sometimes, our hair loss is due to genetics. Experts at the Mayo Clinic state, “The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition that happens with aging. This condition is called androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns — a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.” If you find yourself experiencing the same hair loss as others in your family, this may be the cause.

7. Scalp Health

We all love a good dry shampoo or leave-in conditioner, right? While they have some great benefits for our hair, excessive use may cause inflammation and/or clogging of our hair follicles. Because most hair loss is related to the condition of our scalp and follicles, clogging them can lead to hair loss. The key to preventing this loss is to find a hair-care regimen that works for you and one that also promotes a healthy scalp. Shampooing, rinsing and scalp treatments can help prevent this loss and lead to a healthier you.

8. Shrinking Follicles

According to experts at WebMD, 30 million American women experience a hereditary condition that causes hair loss, affecting about 50% of all women. It is known as female-pattern baldness. According to WebMD, “Typically, each time a normal hair follicle is shed, it is replaced by hair that is equal in size. But in women with female-pattern hair loss, the new hair is finer and thinner — a more miniaturized version of itself…” What eventually happens is the follicles shrink and can even quit growing altogether. You should visit your doctor or dermatologist, if you think you may be experiencing this type of hair loss, as they can help determine a treatment regimen.

9. Menopause

While many women may experience increased hair loss when going through menopause, experts say this may be more an effect of aging than the actual menopausal process. For many of the reasons above, as women get older, they experience changes in their hair follicles around the ages of 50 to 60. This could be due to hormone changes, stress, diet or other health conditions.

Related Post: How to Stop Menopausal Hair Loss, According to a Trichologist

10. Vitamins

We all know that good nutrition and proper supplementation are keys to a healthy lifestyle. They are also vital to the health of our hair. Nutritionists have found the most influential nutrients which can be linked to healthy hair are Vitamin B12, Biotin, Folate, and Riboflavin. Many of these can be found in the food we eat, as well as in well-rounded multi vitamins.

Related Post: Vitamins and Hair Loss: What Is the Connection?

11. Medications

Some medications may cause hair loss, especially if stress on the hair follicles is a known side effect. Prolonged stress may result in hair loss. It is always best to consult with your doctor about prolonged medication use of any kind.

12. Diet

Finally, indulging in a healthy, well-rounded nutrition routine is crucial to overall health, including your lustrous strands. One commonly misunderstood part of our diets is fat. Some have found that a lack of healthy fats in a person’s diet may lead to hair loss. Experts state that adding healthy fats to your diet is extremely important for hair growth. Fat helps the body assimilate vitamins that are essential for healthy hair. Focus on eating unsaturated fats like Omega 3s.

Related Post: Vegan Hair Loss: The Truth About How a Vegan Diet Affects Your Hair

Unfortunately, we have recently faced a brand new cause of hair loss – hair shedding after Covid-19, which is getting more and more evidence. Whatever the reason, if you are experiencing unexpected hair loss, you should contact your health-care provider for more information and resources. Here’s to less stress and shining strands of luxurious hair in 2021!

Featured Image via Instagram

Save this hair idea

Enter your email to get this picture to your inbox, and get other ideas you might like 💌

Save image form