Naturally, men are more likely to experience hair loss faster than women due to the male pattern of baldness, but the idea of hair loss goes beyond gender and age. The reasons vary from vitamin A deficiency to more complex health issues but the good news is that there are ways to treat both male and female hair loss, depending on the cause.
One of the most common reasons for hair loss is physical stress. This essentially means you can lose hair after a deeply traumatic experience such as a car accident, a surgery or even pregnancy. Just like everything else in life, your hair also has a cycle with growth, rest and the shedding phases. The traumatic or stressful experience might push it into the shedding phase. You might not notice the difference right away because it takes about six months to notice the visible changes. This type of hair loss is regained as soon as your body has recovered.
Vitamin A overload
Vitamin A is necessary for many body functions, such as good vision and even healthy hair. However, as this vitamin is fat-soluble, your body stores the excess you consume, which can cause toxicity, and the symptoms of this include hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the recommended daily values for vitamin A are 5,000 International Units (IU) per day for adults and for kids over age 4 and supplements can contain 2,500 to 10,000 IU. Vitamin A toxicity is associated with many other symptoms such as dry skin and eyes, nausea and diarrhoea. It is hard to overdose on vitamin A through your diet alone, as it is mostly done through supplements.
Lack of proteins
Protein is extremely important for your body, it is considered the building block of your muscles and it boosts metabolism, there’s really nothing as important as protein. Proteins are used to develop, grow and maintain just about every part of our bodies including our skin, hair and immune system antibodies. Proteins are constantly being broken down and must be replaced. Furthermore, lack of protein can cause a handful of problems, from sluggish metabolism, to hair loss and even blood sugar changes that can lead to diabetes. Each individual needs different amounts of protein depending on your body weight, gender, age and level of activity but the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.
Male pattern baldness
This condition occurs particularly in men as about two out of three men experience hair loss by age 60, and it’s usually due to male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is caused by a combination of genes and male sex hormones that generally follow a classic pattern in which the hair recedes, leaving an M-shaped hairline. There are various creams and methods of treating it such as minoxidil (Rogaine) and oral medications such as finasteride (Propecia) that can halt hair loss or many times cause hair growth. Another option, depending on the severity of the hair loss is hair transplant surgery or a hair graft.
Female-pattern hair loss
Similar to male baldness patterns, female-pattern hair loss, called androgenic or androgenetic alopecia, is hereditary baldness. Essentially, if you come from a family where it is normal for women to experience hair loss at a certain age, then you might be more prone to it. Unlike the male baldness pattern, this does not cause women to experience receding hairline, instead their part may widen and they might have visible thinning of hair. Treating this condition is usually with over-the-counter creams, as mentioned earlier for men.