May 19, 2022

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I’m an expert and here are 6 unusual reasons for your hair loss

HAIR loss is more common than you think, but getting to the root cause of it can be tricky.

There are dozens of reasons for thinning or balding – not just growing old.

Hair loss can be distressing and doesn't just affect older people


Hair loss can be distressing and doesn’t just affect older people

Most people shed 50 to 100 hairs per day as part of the natural cycle of hair growth.

If this cycle is disrupted, or if a hair follicle is damaged, hair may begin to fall out more quickly than it is regenerated.

This can lead to symptoms such as a receding hairline, hair falling out in patches, or overall thinning.

Hair loss may be temporary or permanent, depending on the type of hair loss you are experiencing.

For example androgenetic alopecia, also known as male of female pattern hair loss, is the most common type of hair loss and is hereditary.  

Genetics, behaviour and many conditions can all play a role in the cycle of hair growth.

It has been discovered that Covid is a cause of hair loss in a small amount of people, too.

Here, Abbas Kanani, pharmacist and medical expert at Chemist Click, reveals six unusual causes of hair loss:

Too much vitamin A

“Yes you heard that right”, says Abbas.

“Too much of certain vitamins long term can cause you to experience hair loss. More specifically, too much Vitamin A.”

Vitamin A is vital for helping protect you against illness and infection by keeping the immune system primed.

It also keeps the skin and eyesight healthy.

Abbas said: “Vitamin A like all vitamins and nutrients is important to incorporate in our diet and can be found in foods such as liver, fish oils, milk, eggs and leafy green vegetables.

“However if eaten in excess along with taking too many retinol type supplements this can cause hair follicles to go into overdrive meaning that your hair will be reaching the end of the growth phase too quickly which can lead it to fall out. 

“Not only this, too much consumption of Vitamin A can cause liver damage as well as other health complications down the line.”

The NHS and Department of Health also warn too much vitamin A could be dangerous, as it could weaken your bones.

You should be able to get enough vitamin A from your diet, it says, but if you eat liver or liver pâté more than once a week, you may be getting too much.

Scalp skin conditions

If you’re suffering with hair loss, it’s easy to turn your attention to your locks.

But it could be the health of your scalp you need to focus on.

Abbas said: “Probably not too unusual, however many people completely bypass the fact that a poorly looked after scalp can cause your hair to fall out. 

“Most scalp conditions can lead to hair loss as well as a skin rash. 

“There are a number of scalp skin conditions such as fungus, psoriasis, or dandruff which can lead to hair loss so speaking to your GP to determine the issue is key.”

Not enough protein 

“Hair loss can also be caused by a lack of protein in the diet,” Abbas said.

“For example, people who crash diet with limited protein may develop protein malnutrition.

“What happens then is that the body saves the protein by putting the growing hairs into a resting phase, this means that hair loss can become likely.”

Protein is a key source of energy in the diet. It helps build muscles and repair cells.

Protein is found mostly in animal products, such as meat, seafood and eggs.

But it can also be found in nuts, seeds, and legumes such as beans and peas – which are all suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It’s harder for plant-based eaters to get adequate protein and something worth keeping an eye on if you chose to go meat-free.

Abbas said: “If you are on a diet just ensure that you are still getting enough protein in to ensure you do not run the risk of hair loss or thinning of the hair.”

Low iron

If you find that you are losing clumps of hair, or more hair than usual is coming out of your hairbrush, it could be an iron deficiency.

Abbas said: “When you have an iron deficiency your skin and hair may receive less oxygen from the blood which can cause them to become dry and damaged, in severe cases this can lead to hair loss.”

Other symptoms of iron deficiency include a lack of energy, shortness of breath, pale skin and heart palpitations.

Red meat, liver, beans (such as edamame and chickpeas) are good sources of iron, as well as nuts, dried fruit and dark green vegetables. 

UK dietary surveys indicate that many women are not getting enough iron.

Over styling or hairstyles 

Time to put the straighteners or curling iron down.

“One cause of hair loss that often gets missed when diagnosing hair loss is if you are over styling your hair,” Abbas said. 

“This can come from using hot tools on your hair daily and for a prolonged time.”

Some hairstyles may also be putting too much tension on your hair, Abbas said, including tying your hair back in a tight bun or even braiding. 

“The stress caused by over styling, vigorous hair pulling and application of hair  treatments for weaves and braids can cause damage to your hair and cause hair loss,” Abbas warned.

Poor sleep

The value of sleep is underestimated by most – not only does it reduce grogginess but the risk of an early grave.

And Abbas added hair loss to the list of problems associated with sleep deprivation.

He said: “Most people associate a lack of sleep with having dull and tired skin, under eye bags and mentally fatigued but poor sleep quality can also contribute to other issues such as hair loss. 

“Tiredness can cause hair follicles to fall into an early resting state which means you may experience hair loss earlier than usual.”

Sleep deprivation can also lead to stress, one of the main causes of telogen effluvium – a form of temporary hair loss.

How to help hair loss

It can be distressing when you look in the mirror and see small patches of hair loss, or clumps of hair in your hand while washing.

“Trying to determine the reason for your hair loss is imperative as a first step, from there

you can take the right steps to remedy the issue,” Abbas said.

“Speak to your GP if you aren’it could be as they will help you get to the root of the problem (no pun intended).

“Adjusting your diet can help, and perhaps taking hair growth supplements and vitamins. 

“You may also want to look into hair loss medication such as Finasteride.” 

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