How Many People Lose Their Hair? Top 10 Hair Loss Statistics & Facts
Hair can thin over time, both gradually and quickly, due to a variety of different factors. The key to understanding your hair loss is knowing the potential causes and seeking medical intervention or early advice. Doing so raises the chances of slowing or stopping the condition entirely and ensuring you receive the proper treatment.
This article will cover the basics of hair loss, including its prevalence, the different types, growth cycles, common causes, and preventative measures. Keep reading to learn about the top 10 hair loss statistics in 2022!
How common is hair loss?
The prevalence of hair loss can vary according to a wide variety of factors — with age and gender being two of the main ones — along with different conditions that result in hair loss over time. As such, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact prevalence of hair loss due to its many potential causes.
According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, male pattern baldness affects roughly 50 percent of men, with 4 out of 5 men experiencing some degree of hair loss by age 70. As for women, the Association states that roughly 40 percent will experience signs of hair thinning by age 50.
This means that when you notice your hair becoming thin or bald spots occurring, the type of hair loss you are experiencing may not be immediately evident.
Despite this wide range of potential causes, most cases fall under the five main types: androgenetic alopecia, maturing/receding hairlines, alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, or hair shaft abnormalities.
Here is a quick breakdown of each of these types, including symptoms to watch out for:
Androgenetic alopecia is another term for male or female pattern baldness. The two key symptoms to watch for when it comes to androgenetic alopecia are a receding hairline and the formation of a bald spot on the top or crown of the head.
Although treatment options for male pattern baldness are limited, medications such as finasteride and minoxidil can help slow hair loss.
The Norwood Scale is a commonly used system of classification to help diagnose androgenetic alopecia and consists of 7 stages. Each stage shows progressively more severe hair loss, with an androgenetic alopecia diagnosis considered for patients with hair loss at stage 3 or higher.
For many people, hair loss is just a natural part of the aging process. If this is the case for you, you may be experiencing a maturing hairline. In terms of diagnosis, most healthcare practitioners do not consider a maturing hairline to fall under the “hair loss” category.
This is because there is no underlying health condition causing hair loss to happen. Additionally, a maturing hairline generally occurs relatively gradually compared to other types of hair loss.
However, if you notice significant hair thinning at the top of your head or around your temples, it’s never a bad idea to check in with a healthcare practitioner.
Alopecia areata is a more serious medical condition associated with hair loss. This condition is an autoimmune disease, with the primary symptom being a very sudden and severe loss of hair.
There are, unfortunately, no cures currently available for alopecia areata. With early enough intervention, however, healthcare practitioners may be able to suppress the immune system in a way that encourages hair regrowth over time.
Telogen effluvium is a condition that occurs when hair follicles fail to enter the growth cycle following a period of rest.
There is usually an identifiable trigger behind telogen effluvium, including the after-effects of surgery, a prolonged fever, use of certain medications, thyroid imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, or prolonged stress.
Treatments can vary for this type of hair loss — but the good news is that most cases are treatable. For instance, a vitamin D deficiency may cause this condition, with the treatment being as simple as consuming more vitamin D within your diet.
Hair shaft abnormalities
A hair shaft abnormality occurs when there is damage to the hair strand rather than the hair follicle.
Key symptoms for hair shaft abnormalities include hair colour, density, length, or structure changes. Additionally, there can be various causes behind hair shaft abnormalities — from excessive pulling to hairstyles that stress the hair.
As a result, treatment can vary depending on the cause.
What are the cycles of growth?
Here are 3 phases that make up the hair growth cycle:
The Anagen Phase: This phase lasts between 3 to 10 years, in which rapid cell division occurs. New hairs will also appear on the scalp during this phase.
The Catagen Phase: The catagen phase is considered a transitional phase lasting between 2 to 3 weeks. Cell division ceases, and pigment production is halted during this phase.
The Telogen Phase: The telogen phase is known as the “resting phase,” lasting between 3 to 4 months. The tell-tale sign of this phase is an increase in shedding from the scalp.
What are the common causes of hair loss?
Aside from underlying health conditions — such as autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata — hair loss can also have several other common causes.
Genetics: Certain people will inherently be more genetically disposed to hair loss than others. However, genetic hair loss can be slowed and regrowth promoted in many cases.
Medications: Specific medications and medical treatments can produce hair loss as a side effect, including medications for acne, antidepressants, high blood pressure medication, and cancer-treating drugs. Usually, hair loss caused by medication can be reversed once the medication is no longer needed.
Hormones: Many people undergo hormonal changes throughout their lives. The most common hormonal change that can impact hair loss involves dihydrotestosterone, testosterone, and androgens.
Stress and mental health: Mental health can massively impact our hair. Many mental health conditions can overlap with hair loss, whether it’s increased stress and anxiety levels or conditions that result in pulling hair (like trichotillomania).
Lifestyle habits: Poor dietary choices — as well as excessive intake of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco — can result in a noticeable change in your hair health.
Hairstyling: Excessive use of heat and dyes and tight or pulled-back hairstyles can contribute to hair loss over time.
How can hair loss be prevented?
When it comes to whether or not hair loss can be prevented, the answer is — it depends. Medical intervention is limited for more serious medical conditions, such as alopecia areata.
Likewise, it can be difficult to treat a maturing hairline, as it is a natural process for the body to undergo. However, other conditions — such as telogen effluvium, male/female pattern baldness, and hair shaft abnormalities — have viable treatment options.
The key step to take is to consult with a healthcare practitioner about your diagnosis and treatment options. Remember that hair loss is often a natural part of life and is nothing to be ashamed of!