Causes of Hair Loss

Common Causes of Hair Loss

  • Hair LossAuto immune diseases - an immune reaction attacks the hair at the root (or follicle). Anti-bodies attack hair tissue as if they were foreign invaders.
    • Androgenic Alopecia – the body’s immune system is sensitized to increased levels of DHT in the scalp causing hair loss in these high concentrated DHT areas. (DHT, or Dihydrotestosterone, causes 95% of all hair loss)
    • Alopecia totalis/universalis – immune sensitivity to a substance other than DHT.
  • Connective tissue disease - causes scarring of skin, loss of circulation to hair follicles and an autoimmune reaction leading to temporary or permanent loss of hair
    • Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Scleroderma, MCTD.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals - Common toxic chemicals, such as tobacco smoke, contains hundreds of lethal and damaging chemicals which can accelerate normal hair loss. This can be caused directly from smoking or indirectly from second hand smoke.
  • Chemotherapy or Radiation exposure - Irradiation therapy or exposure to radiation from any source can cause localized or total hair loss, sometimes permanently.
  • Iron deficiency anemia - very common with women but also can affect men.
  • Hormonal changes - due to pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause and/or illnesses
  • Thyroid disease - either hypothyroid or hyperthyroid disease causes hair to become brittle and break resulting in localized or generalized loss. Correction of the thyroid condition usually causes hair to re-grow.
  • Excessive or lack of vitamins - too much vitamin A can cause hair loss. Medicines – some prescription and over the counter meds can foster side effects such as hair loss (see below). Usually, when the medication is discontinued, the hair re-grows.
  • Individual reaction to illness or a personal sensitivity to the environment - Alopecia can be a reaction to foreign elements in your environment, similar to an allergic reaction.
  • Fungal and Bacterial Infections - impetigo and tinea capitis.

Prescription Drugs and Hair Loss:

Following are some common ailments and drugs that can affect an individual’s hair loss, either slightly or dramatically:

  • Acne- Accutane
  • Blood - Anticoagulants such as Panwarfin, Sofarin, Coumadin, Heparin
  • High Cholesterol- Atronids, Lopid
  • Convulsion/Epilepsy - Anticonvulsants -Tridore
  • Antidepressants - Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Anafranil, Janimine, Tofranil, Adapin, Sinequan,Surmontil, Pamelor, Ventyl, Elavin, Endep, Norpramin, Pertofane, Vivactil, Asendin, Haldol
  • Weight Loss - Amphetamines
  • Fungus - Antifungal Medicines
  • Glaucoma - Timoptic eye drops, Ocudose, XC
  • Gout- Allopurinol
  • Heart Beta blockers - such as Tenormin, Lopresser, Corgard, Inderal Hormonal Conditions – Birth Control pills, Progesterone, Estrogen, Male Androgenic hormones and all forms of testosterone, anabolic steroids, Prednisone and other steroids
  • Inflammation - Arthritis drugs, NSAIDS such as Naprosyn, Anaprox, Indocin, Clinoril
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as - Methotrexate, Rheumatex, Folex
  • Parkinson’s Disease - Levadopa
  • Thyroid Disorders - Most all of these drugs
  • Ulcers - Both prescription and OTC: Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid