Everyone knows what it’s like to lose a little hair.
In fact, we lose 50-100 strands per day on average (1).
However, when you begin to experience bald spots and thinning hair, it may be a sign of higher-than-average hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss can affect just your scalp or your entire body. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or medications. Anyone — men, women and children — can experience hair loss. (source)
1. Skin Conditions
A number of skin conditions can affect your scalp and contribute to hair loss. Common conditions include seborrheic dermatitis, eczema of the scalp, infection by a fungus called Malassezia furfur that causes dandruff, or psoriasis of the scalp, an autoimmune condition (2). These typically cause dry, flaky skin and itchiness.
2. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of hair loss. Having low iron levels or a malfunctioning thyroid can lead to your hormones getting out of balance.
The same can said about naturally high testosterone levels, which can cause hair loss in both men and women, especially in the case of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (3).
3. Prescription Medication
Prescription medication such as oral contraceptives, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antibiotics, acne medications, chemotherapeutics agents, immunosuppressants and pain medications can all cause premature hair loss (4).
4. Nutritional Deficiency
Nutritional deficiency caused by prescription medication or digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease and IBS, among others, can cause hair loss.
Deficiency in B-complex vitamins, zinc, vitamin D and protein are particularly harmful to scalp health (5).
Stress makes your body go into “fight or flight” mode, making it prioritize body functions linked to survival.
Blood flow to the scalp is decreased and hair growth is put to a standstill.
Stress can also trigger Trichotillomania, a mental health condition in which the individual plucks out hair as a self-soothing mechanism (6).
6. Autoimmune Conditions
Autoimmune conditions such as Telogen effluvium, a condition in which the body pushes the hair follicles into a “resting phase” so that they no longer grow and produce hair (7).
Alopecia areata an another autoimmune condition in which the immune system of the body attacks the hair’s follicles, causing large patches of hair to fall out (8).
7. Hair Products
Certain hair products can affect individuals with sensitive skin, especially if they contain sulphates and/or other chemical additives.
That’s why it’s best to use natural products that nourish the scalp and hair follicles instead of irritating them.
How To Treat Hair Loss
Hair loss can be treated quite effectively once you’ve uncovered its underlying cause. To help promote hair & scalp health during this process, try this nourishing hair mask!
Castor Oil Hair Mask
Castor oil is an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory oil which is great to keep your scalp happy and under control.
- Castor oil
- Clean hands
- Shower cap
- An old t-shirt
- Essential oil (optional)
- Wearing an old t-shirt, apply a coin-sized amount of castor oil to your palms.
- Rub your hands together to warm the oil.
- Starting at the scalp, work oil into the hair follicles.
- Massage for 5-10 minutes.
- Start combing the oil through your hair using your fingers, add more oil if needed.
- Place your hair in a shower cap and leave for an hour or overnight. Use an old pillowcase or towel for the latter, as the oil may stain your sheets.
- Wash out with shampoo and conditioner and style as usual.
- Repeat once a week.