Understanding Hair Loss

Understanding Hair Loss in Men and Women

Hair Loss in men and women can be caused by a variety of issues, including:

  • Male Patten Baldness
  • Female Pattern Baldness
  • Alopecia (various forms)
  • Certain Medical Conditions
  • Stress
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Medications (including Chemotherapy)
  • Trichotillomania
  • Over Processed Hair
  • Certain Scalp Conditions such as telogen effluvium
  • Medical conditions thyroid, Hormone Imbalance

While hair loss is certainly unsettling it is not unusual. Members of the American Hair Loss Council are highly skilled and educated professionals and experts at helping determine the reason you are experiencing hair loss. Most importantly they provide proven solutions and hair loss treatment options that are individually customized for you, helping you look like "YOU" again.


Traction alopecia is the loss of hair caused by physically stressing and putting tension on the hair. Certain hairstyling including hair weaving and corn rows that were done too tightly can cause this type of hair loss.


Alopecia areata, a disease of the body that causes hair loss, affects approximately two million Americans. Alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss. Two other forms of this disease are Alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis. Alopecia totalis is the condition that causes the loss of hair over the entire scalp; Alopecia universalis is when the condition of hair loss spreads over the entire body, even including eyebrows and eyelashes.

Although the causes of Alopecia areata are unknown, there is evidence that it could be a breakdown of the immune system resulting in what is called an autoimmune disorder. This is when the immune system thinks that the hair follicle is a foreign body, and attacks it. There is also the possibility that heredity plays a factor, because studies have shown that for one out of five people with alopecia areata, someone else in the family also had it. Ongoing research will help to discover the causes of alopecia areata, so that better treatments can be used.


Androgenic Alopecia is the modern medical term for either male or female pattern baldness. Androgenic Alopecia represents close to 95% of all hair loss. This type of hair loss can be defined in two parts. First, andro- means to consist of androgens which are various hormones that control the appearance and development of masculine characteristics such as testosterone. Second is genetics, or the inheritance of genes from either the mother or father. Age added to genetics creates a time clock that signals the hair follicle to produce an enzyme named 5-alpha reductase. When testosterone is present in the follicle and it combines with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, it produces DHT. DHT attacks the hair follicle, causing it to shrink, finally causing the hair to fall out and not grow back.


Anagen effluvium is the condition where hair loss is caused by internally taking certain medicines that can poison the hair follicle, keeping it from growing. One of the most common medicines that causes this type of hair loss is chemotherapy agents.


Although the American Hair Loss Council does not endorse or recommend any individual firm, we can supply you with a list of AHLC specialists in or near your specific area.

All AHLC members sign a statement that they will honor our Code of Ethics which is centered around the protection of you, the consumer. Request the American Hair Loss Council Source Book.