The most widespread and common type of hair loss is known as pattern baldness. Contrary to popular opinion, pattern baldness can affect both women and men, though it is seen more commonly in men. The causes of pattern baldness are both genetic and hormonal: people who are genetically vulnerable can suffer a reaction to certain sex hormones that causes their hair to thin or stop growing. Hormonal changes can also cause temporary hair loss in people who are not susceptible to pattern baldness. Common causes include childbirth and menopause.
There are a number of specific medical conditions that cause hair loss. Some of the better-known culprits include alopecia areata, an immune system disorder, scalp infections, including ringworm, and various skin disorders that can cause scarring, which prevents hair from growing. Various medications for serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease may have a side effect of causing hair loss.
Temporary hair loss can follow a severe emotional shock, such as the death of a loved one. This type of hair loss usually occurs some months after the shock. Other temporary causes of hair loss include mental disorders that compel the sufferer to pull his or her hair out, there are even certain types of hair styles that can pull the hair tight and cause pulling, or “traction” loss.
By being aware of the many root causes and types of hair loss, it is easier to understand the options available for combating it.