15 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Cause Hair Loss (and How to Stop It)

It’s normal to to lose many strands of hair a day, and many people experience a gradual thinning as they age. Or, hair loss could start more dramatically–one day, it’s like a whole clump falls out, and you start to panic. If you lose a large amount of hair, or if you lose it very suddenly, there could be a underlying problem.

Check out this list of 15 common causes of hair loss, including some unexpected ones. Some of these issues can be managed fairly easily, while others will need a professional’s intervention.

  1. Stress

    Stress causes inflammation, which can then lead to hair loss. The Mayo Clinic even says that a “trigger event,” such as an accident, illness, or emotional shock can kick-start the problem. The good news is that this kind of hair loss is usually reversible. Managing your stress helps, too, so look into things like yoga and mindfulness meditation.

  2. Gluten Allergies

    Gluten can act as an inflammatory, and as we now know, inflammation is not a plus when it comes to hair care. If you can’t figure out what’s causing your hair loss — or if you’re just hoping to prevent it — ask your doctor if a gluten-free diet is right for you.

  3. Poor Nutrition

    On the other hand, not eating enough, or eating a restricted, fad diet is not good for your hair, either. Instead, eat a variety of vitamin-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole grains.

  4. Alopecia areata

    A.k.a. “spot baldness,” this type causes hair to fall out in patches. It’s often caused by an immune system problem, but a doctor can help you treat it with steroids and or products like Rogaine.

  5. Hormonal Changes

    If you’ve ever been pregnant, you might also have been shocked to find your hair thinning! Other times of hormonal change, like menopause or suddenly changing your birth control, can have the same effect. But, if your hair loss isn’t obviously linked to one of these causes, it could instead be due to a thyroid problem.

  6. Genetics

    The genes you inherit definitely play a role in whether or not you experience hair loss. If your hair does thin due to a hereditary cause, cutting-edge techniques, like injections of plasma and hair stem cell therapy, may help.

  7. Aging

    This is another cause that’s hard to avoid! There are anti-aging products that use cleansers, amino acids, vitamins, essential oils, and other ingredients to give your hair a boost, however! Ask your stylist for some tips, if you aren’t sure which ones to use.

  8. Seasonal Changes

    That’s right — if you feel like you shed more hair in cooler weather, it’s not all in  your head!

  9. Chemical Burns to Your Hair

    Hair straighteners, relaxers, and other harsh treatments can basically fry your hair. If you want to prevent hair loss, talk to a salon about ways to get the look you want while avoiding damaging treatments. For instance, you could try selective highlights instead of bleaching if you want to go lighter.

  10. Using Poor Quality Hair Care Products

    Shoddy hair care products can contain low-grade oils and other ingredients that clog your hair follicles and cause strands to fall out.

  11. Infections

    Folliculitis, for instance, is a specific type of inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection. It can be treated with antibiotics, however. Ringworm (a fungal infection) can attack your scalp, but it can similarly be treated with topical fungicides.

  12. Prescription Drugs

    Antidepressants, ADHD meds, those used to treat high blood pressure, and other prescription drugs can all cause hair loss. A doctor might be able to switch you to a different medication.

  13. Sudden Weight Loss

    The American Academy of Dermatology says that losing 20 pounds or more in a relatively short time can lead to hair loss. Yet another reason to avoid crash diets!

  14. Trichotillomania

    This fancy word refers to actually pulling your hair out. Sometimes this happens because of stress, but it can also be caused by habits. Behavior modification therapy and/or antidepressants can help put an end to the issue.

  15. Tight Hair Styles

    Any style that pulls tightly on or put similar stress on your hair can contribute to hair loss. At least the fix for this cause is as easy as switching up your style!

As this list goes to show, there are some specific steps you can take to help prevent hair loss. But if you’re hit with one of those unexpected causes, take comfort in knowing that there are still ways to get help. Do you have any great tips for managing or preventing hair loss to share?