Overview

Hair loss (alopecia) can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it’s more common in men.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Some people prefer to let their hair loss run its course untreated and unhidden. Others may cover it up with hairstyles, makeup, hats or scarves. And still others choose one of the treatments available to prevent further hair loss or restore growth.

Symptoms

In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead.
Male-pattern baldness Open pop-up dialog boxWomen tend to lose hair along the part.
Female-pattern baldness Open pop-up dialog boxPatchy hair loss (alopecia areata) is sometimes preceded by itchy or painful scalp.
Patchy hair loss (alopecia areata) Open pop-up dialog boxRepeated stress on the hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.
Traction alopecia Open pop-up dialog boxIt’s becoming increasingly common for menopausal women to experience frontal fibrosing alopecia, in which the hairline moves back.
Frontal fibrosing alopecia Open pop-up dialog box
Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body.

Causes

People typically lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. This usually isn’t noticeable because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when new hair doesn’t replace the hair that has fallen out.
Hair loss is typically related to one or more of the following factors:
Hormonal changes and medical conditions. A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems. Medical conditions include alopecia areata which is immune system related and causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania
Medications and supplements. Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure.

What causes hair loss?

Hair loss has many causes. What’s causing your hair loss can determine whether your hair:

Causes of hair loss

Hereditary hair loss

Both men and women develop this type of hair loss, which is the most common cause of hair loss worldwide. In men, it’s called male pattern hair loss. Women get female pattern hair loss. Regardless of whether it develops in a man or women, the medical term is androgenic alopecia.

No matter which term you use, it means that you’ve inherited genes that cause your hair follicles (what each hair grows out of) to shrink and eventually stop growing hair. Shrinking can begin as early as your teens, but it usually starts later in life.

In women, the first noticeable sign of hereditary hair loss is usually overall thinning or a widening part.

When a man has hereditary hair loss, the first sign is often a receding hairline or bald spot at the top of his head.

Is regrowth possible?

Yes, treatment can help stop or slow hair loss. It may also help regrow hair. The earlier treatment is started, the better it works. Without treatment, you will continue to lose hair.

Hereditary hair loss

Both men and women develop this type of hair loss, which is the most common cause of hair loss worldwide. In men, it’s called male pattern hair loss. Women get female pattern hair loss.

Age

With age, most people notice some hair loss because hair growth slows.