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Why is My Hair Falling Out? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (Answered 2024)

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why is my hair falling out so much when i brush itImagine brushing your hair and watching in dismay as strands fall out in alarming amounts. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Excessive hair loss can be a cause for concern, but understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options can help put your mind at ease.

From hormonal changes to nutritional deficiencies and medical conditions, there are various factors that contribute to hair loss. In this article, we’ll explore why your hair may be falling out so much when you brush it and what steps you can take to address the issue effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Hair shedding when brushing or combing is normal, but excessive loss can indicate an underlying issue.
  • Hair loss conditions like telogen effluvium can cause increased daily shedding.
  • Nutritional deficiencies in protein, iron, zinc, or biotin may contribute to extra hair falling out.
  • Medical conditions like thyroid disorders can also trigger excessive hair shedding when brushing.

Common Causes of Hair Loss

Common Causes of Hair Loss
Many factors can trigger excess hair shedding.

Hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, medications, medical conditions, and lifestyle habits are some of the most common culprits.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these causes and how they contribute to hair loss.

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in your hormones can trigger hair loss, especially during pregnancy, menopause, or while on birth control.

Hormone-related conditions like PCOS or postpartum changes may also cause temporary shedding through telogen effluvium, while androgenic alopecia causes gradual thinning in a female pattern.

Nutritional Deficiencies

If you’re experiencing hair loss, nutritional deficiencies like low iron, protein, zinc, vitamin B12, biotin or vitamin D levels could be contributing by impairing hair growth and causing increased shedding.


Certain medications, such as:

  • Acne medications high in vitamin A
  • Blood thinners
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Arthritis or depression medications

can contribute to hair loss.

Medical Conditions

Since medications can contribute to hair loss, certain medical conditions like hormonal changes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, and stress may also cause increased shedding or thinning.

Lifestyle Habits

When brushing too hard or too often, you’re causing hair breakage.

Excessive shampooing can strip hair oils, leading to brittle strands prone to breakage.

Frequent heat styling and dyeing also damage hair over time, increasing fragility.

Avoid pulling, tight styles, cuts, rinse in cool water, limit coloring.

Symptoms of Hair Loss

Symptoms of Hair Loss
You may start to notice:

  • Increased shedding of your hair
  • Thinning patches
  • Overall thinning of your hair
  • Hair that feels weaker and breaks more easily.

These are common symptoms that indicate your hair is falling out faster than new hair is growing in to replace it.

Assessing your symptoms can help determine the cause and guide treatment options.

Increased Shedding of Hair

Your increased hair shedding signals potential hair loss. This common symptom results from disruptions to the hair growth cycle, which may be due to:

  • Anemia
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Conditions like telogen effluvium

Consulting a trichologist can help determine the cause and appropriate treatment for your temporary or permanent bald spots.

Patches of Baldness

You’re bound to notice patches of baldness on your scalp when experiencing hair loss.

  1. Permanent scarring alopecia
  2. Temporary patches from traction alopecia
  3. Clumps falling out from androgenetic alopecia
  4. Areas ready for hair transplant treatment

Thinning Hair

You’ll notice your hair looks thinner as more hairs fall out over time beyond normal shedding.

Seek treatment to encourage regrowth before permanent loss.

Address common causes like stress, poor diet, medications.

Prevention and early intervention are key.

Hair That Breaks Easily

Finding your hair breaking easily when brushing or washing, you’re likely experiencing a symptom of hair loss.

  • Excessive brushing
  • Using hot tools daily
  • Over-processing hair with chemicals
  • Aggressive washing and drying
  • Repeated coloring treatments

Treatment Options for Hair Loss

Treatment Options for Hair Loss
We have several options for treating hair loss.

Medications like minoxidil and finasteride may help slow further thinning.

Other treatments include:

  • Steroid injections to stimulate hair growth
  • Using ultraviolet light
  • Making lifestyle changes to reduce stress and improve your diet.

Medications (minoxidil, Finasteride)

Your treatment options include medications like minoxidil and finasteride, which can help stimulate hair growth and slow further hair loss.

These medications may have side effects, vary in efficacy and cost, and often require a prescription with a specific dosage.

Steroid Injections or Creams

You’re considering steroid injections or creams to boost hair growth when your follicles aren’t producing enough. These carry risks like skin atrophy, so discuss dosage and application with your dermatologist to weigh effectiveness against potential side effects.

Ultraviolet (UV) Light Treatment

Although ultraviolet light treatment may help some hair loss when you apply it to the scalp, it likely won’t treat the cause.

UV light therapy can stimulate hair follicles and may aid regrowth, but more research on efficacy for hair loss prevention is needed.

Lifestyle Changes (stress Management, Diet, Hair Care)

Lifestyle changes like managing your stress, eating a healthy diet, and gently caring for your hair can also help treat hair loss.

  • Use hair care products with natural ingredients
  • Do regular scalp massages to stimulate blood flow
  • Take hair supplements with biotin, keratin, zinc

Prevention of Hair Loss

Prevention of Hair Loss
You can take measures to help prevent hair loss before it begins.

Manage stress levels through relaxation techniques.

Eat a nutritious diet high in lean proteins and iron.

Avoid overusing damaging hair products and treatments.

Treat hair gently by limiting brushing and using soft brushes and scrunchies.

Taking preventative steps can promote a healthy scalp and minimize excessive shedding.

Manage Stress

After treating your hair loss through medications or other methods, you’re ready to prevent further loss.

Manage stress levels, as high stress can exacerbate hair shedding. Try relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, exercise, or leaning on friends for support.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Consume foods rich in protein, iron, zinc and vitamins to nourish hair follicles and minimize shedding.

  • Eat eggs, beans, nuts for protein
  • Choose spinach, lentils, oysters for iron
  • Grab pumpkin seeds, chickpeas for zinc
  • Take biotin and vitamin B12 supplements

Avoid Excessive Heat Styling and Dyeing

One more thing you can do is limit heat styling and hair coloring, which can damage hair over time.

Frequent use of hot tools and permanent dyes, especially on fragile or porous hair, causes breakdowns in protein structure.

Instead, embrace your natural texture and experiment with semi-permanent options if you want a change.

Treat Your Hair Gently

You’ll want to handle your hair with care by:

  • Avoiding tight hairstyles
  • Gently combing
  • Using soft scrunchies

To prevent damage and additional hair loss.

Comb wet hair gently with a wide-tooth comb.

Avoid rubbing hair dry with towels.

Minimize heat styling.

Use gentle shampoos without harsh chemicals.

Male and Female Pattern Baldness

Male and Female Pattern Baldness
As we transition from prevention strategies, let’s explore pattern baldness, one of the most common forms of hair loss.

Pattern baldness occurs when hair follicles shrink over time, resulting in thinning hair.

What causes follicles to shrink? For men, it’s typically sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT); in women, declining estrogen during menopause is often the culprit.

Pattern baldness tends to run in families and usually begins between ages 30-50 in men and 40-60 in women.

To treat it, minoxidil and finasteride work by targeting hormones, while low level laser devices and PRP injections may also help regrow hair.

Though inherited predispositions exist, adopting prevention habits like stress management and diet earlier on may help delay or reduce pattern baldness severity.

Ultimately, being proactive with checkups and open to various treatment avenues offers your best opportunity for regaining thicker, healthier hair.

Stress and Hair Loss

Stress and Hair Loss
Why might excessive stress cause your hair to fall out?

Both temporary stress and chronic stress can trigger hair loss through a process called telogen effluvium.

When you experience high levels of stress, whether from life events like losing a loved one or persistent anxiety, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. This signals hair follicles to prematurely enter the resting phase, causing them to shed more than normal.

The result is excessive hair loss that shows up 2-3 months after the stressful event.

With chronic high stress, the hair loss may continue long-term in a condition called anagen effluvium. The constant cortisol exposure repeatedly pushes new hairs into the shedding phase before they can fully grow.

Managing stress through self-care, social support, counseling, or medication can help mitigate stress-related hair loss.

Diet and Hair Loss

Diet and Hair Loss
Deficiencies in nutrients, such as protein, iron, and zinc, can significantly contribute to hair loss.

Your diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your hair.

A protein deficiency can lead to weak and brittle strands that are more prone to breakage.

Iron deficiency affects the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to your body’s cells – including those responsible for hair growth. Without enough iron, your follicles may not receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients needed for healthy hair growth.

Similarly, low levels of zinc can also disrupt normal hair development by affecting DNA synthesis and cell division processes within the follicles.

To combat these deficiencies and promote strong tresses:

  1. Incorporate foods rich in protein like lean meats,
  2. Include sources of iron such as spinach or lentils,
  3. Consume biotin-rich foods like eggs or nuts,
  4. Ensure adequate intake of vitamins through a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables.

By nourishing your body with these essential nutrients found in various food sources you’ll be on track towards healthier-looking locks!

Alopecia and Hair Loss

Alopecia and Hair Loss
Now that we’ve explored the impact of diet on hair loss, let’s delve into another common cause: alopecia.

Alopecia refers to different types of hair loss, including:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Traction alopecia
  • Scarring alopecia
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Anagen effluvium

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition where the body mistakenly attacks its own hair follicles.

Traction alopecia occurs when excessive tension or pulling damages the hair shafts over time.

Scarring alopecias result in permanent damage to the hair follicles and subsequent baldness due to inflammation or injury.

Telogen effluvium causes a sudden increase in shedding due to disturbances in the natural growth cycle of hairs while anagen effluvium results from exposure to toxins such as chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy.

It is important for those experiencing any form of hair loss associated with these conditions seek medical attention for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options tailored specifically for their needs.

Thyroid Disorder and Hair Loss

Thyroid Disorder and Hair Loss
If you’re experiencing hair loss, could a thyroid disorder be the underlying cause?

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can both lead to hair thinning and shedding.

With hypothyroidism, slowed metabolism and nutrient delivery to hair follicles can trigger premature hair falling out. Getting diagnosed and starting thyroid medication can help restore normal thyroid function and reverse hair loss.

Surgery like radioactive iodine therapy can also cause temporary thyroid imbalance and hair shedding.

If hyperthyroidism speeds up your metabolism too much, hair loss can still occur from vitamin and mineral deficiency, protein malnutrition, or extreme stress on the body. Getting assessed by an endocrinologist, taking antithyroid medications as prescribed, and adopting self-care habits around diet, exercise and hair washing/styling will help follicles rebalance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it normal to lose hair when brushing or combing?

Yes, it’s normal to lose some hair when brushing or combing.

Brushing removes hairs that have already fallen out and may break or snap them, but this isn’t the same as hair loss.

How much hair loss per day is considered excessive?

Losing more than 100-200 hairs per day is considered excessive shedding.

See your dermatologist if you notice increased hair loss to determine the cause and discuss treatment options that may help reduce shedding and stimulate regrowth.

What’s the difference between hair shedding and hair loss?

Hair shedding is normal hair loss. Typically 80-100 hairs shed per day.

Hair loss indicates abnormal thinning and gradual reduction in density.

If shedding exceeds 100 hairs daily or you see clumps falling out, see a trichologist to determine the cause and discuss treatment options that promote healthy hair growth.

Are there any home remedies to help with hair loss?

There are some home remedies that may help with hair loss, though their effectiveness is limited. It’s best to see a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause and get proper treatment.

Things like scalp massages, essential oils, green tea, and eating more protein may provide minor benefits.

Professional help is usually needed for significant hair loss.

What vitamins and supplements can help with hair growth?

Make sure you get enough:

  • Biotin
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • protein

    in your diet or through supplements.

Massage your scalp regularly with essential oils like rosemary, peppermint, and lavender to stimulate circulation.

Be patient – it can take months to see results.

Focus on overall health rather than quick fixes.


While alarming, excessive shedding needn’t cause despair. By identifying triggers, incorporating lifestyle tweaks, trying treatments under a trichologist’s care, and having patience during regrowth, you can regain a lush mane.

Stay vigilant about gentle handling and heat styling. With diligence unwinding factors promoting fallout when you brush, you’ll reclaim fuller, healthier locks.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.