While hair loss is often a normal and natural part of aging, it can be an alarming experience when you are unaware of its cause.
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!
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.
Hair loss can occur for many different reasons, with the Canadian Hair Loss Foundation reporting more than 100 potential causes for the condition.
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.
The Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation reports that there are seven known types of alopecia areata — each requiring a formal medical opinion to diagnose officially.
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.
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.
Here are 3 phases that make up the hair growth cycle:
Aside from underlying health conditions — such as autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata — hair loss can also have several other common causes.
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!
1. By age 35, approximately 40 percent of men are suffering from visible hair loss; by age 60, this percentage jumps to 65. (Source: Statistic Brain Research Institute)
2. Women's hair loss statistics show that 29% of women with hair loss reported two key symptoms of depression. (Source: 2012 Study from Brazilian Annals of Dermatology)
3. Male pattern baldness (MPB), a form of androgenetic alopecia, accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. (Source: WebMD)
4. Androgenetic alopecia can start as early as a person's teens, and the risk increases with age; more than 50 percent of men over age 50 have some degree of hair loss. (Source: NIH MedlinePlus)
5. About 25% of men who suffer from male pattern baldness begin seeing symptoms before they reach 21. (Source: WebMD)
6. By age 60, women suffering from hair loss will be in the 80% range. (Source: The Hair Society)
7. Around 50% of all women start losing their hair by the time they are 50 years old. (Source: American Hair Research Society)
8. Chemotherapy hair loss statistics show that around 65% of patients experience hair loss. (Source: Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery)
9. Hair loss statistics in children show that hair falling out causes 3% of all pediatric office visits. (Source: American Hair Loss Association)
10. Hair shedding facts indicate that losing 50 to 100 hairs per day is normal. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology Association)
Hair loss can be alarming, especially when you are unsure what is causing it. The key takeaways for dealing with hair loss include:
For more in-depth information on hair loss, check out Felix’s Beginner’s Guide to Hair Loss.
The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Health Guide, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare practitioner.