What Are the Primary Causes of Alopecia?

Dec 02, 2023

What Are the Primary Causes of Alopecia?

If you’ve started to notice that your hairline is receding or that you’re shedding more than usual, you may be dealing with alopecia. We discuss some of the main causes of alopecia here.

You have hair everywhere on your body except the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, your eyelids, and your belly button. And many places on your body have hair so fine you can’t really even see it.

Each person has anywhere from 100,000-150,000 hairs on their head, and you lose about 50-100 of them each day. This isn’t a cause to worry since your hair follicles are constantly promoting new hair growth.

However, in some cases, your hair’s growth rate may start to slow down, and you can start to experience hair loss, also known as alopecia. While some people may choose to embrace a gradual loss of hair, others feel distress.

Alopecia can happen for a myriad of different reasons, so our extensive team of dermatology experts at Thomas Dermatology wants to take this opportunity to discuss some of the common causes of alopecia and how we can treat it.

Signs of alopecia

So how do you know if you’re going through alopecia or if you’re just shedding more than usual? In addition to more hair falling out than usual, you notice some of these things:

  • Widening part
  • Receding hairline
  • Patchy or circular bald spots
  • Large increase in shedding
  • Clumps of hair falling out
  • Itchy scalp

Depending on what’s causing your alopecia, you experience these things suddenly or gradually, and it can possibly affect only your scalp but may also affect the hair on the rest of your body too.

Causes of alopecia

Alopecia can happen to anyone and can vary in severity depending on what’s causing it in the first place. While hair loss can have a lot of different root causes, these are some of the reasons it happens most often:

Family history

The most common reason for hair loss is simply genetics. Many people have a predisposition to lose hair gradually as they age, known as male-pattern and female-pattern baldness. Men may notice a receding hairline and bald spots, and women tend to have thinning hair at the crown of their scalp.

Hormones and stressful life events

Fluctuating hormones due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or thyroid conditions can often cause temporary hair loss, as can going through an extremely stressful event that causes mental or physical shock.

Medications and medical conditions

Hair loss can be caused by certain medications used to treat depression, arthritis, gout, cancer, and high blood pressure. In addition, an autoimmune disorder known as alopecia areata can make hair fall out in patches, as can scalp infections such as ringworm and psychological conditions such as trichotillomania.

Hairstyles and products

If you wear your hair in tight ponytails or cornrows too often, it can cause your hair to start to fall out. Getting any type of hot oil treatment or perm too many times can also cause some hair loss.

How we address alopecia

The treatment we use for your alopecia depends on factors such as what’s causing your hair loss, your age, how much hair is left, and any other underlying health issues. Some common treatments we offer include topical solutions and foams, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, and oral medications.

We can talk through each option and help you make an informed decision on which one will work best for you and your needs.

If you’d like more information on alopecia, contact our team to set up a consultation at one of our offices. We have locations in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, and in Lake Havasu City, Kingman, and Bullhead City, Arizona. You can book over the phone or online today.