8 Reasons Why Your Hair May Be Falling Out

Find yourself struggling with thinning, lifeless hair? Know that you're not alone—about 40% of women and 86% of men experience thinning hair by the age of 50 in the U.S., according to the American Hair Loss Association. While genetics do play a part, there are many other reasons why your hair might be falling out excessively—we tapped a dermatologist and a hairstylist to find out.

1. A Too-Tight Hairstyle

"Traction alopecia is caused by hair being pulled tightly, causing the follicles to weaken," says Marnie Nussbaum, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. "Tight hairstyles that pull at the root can cause hair loss, so try to keep your hair loose and avoid wearing styles like tight braids for extended periods of time," suggests Sacha Mitic, hairstylist and co-founder of SACHAJUAN Haircare. "Because these types of styling affect the root of the hair, you run the risk of your hair not growing back."

2. Harsh Hair Treatments

"Getting regular relaxers, straighteners, or perms that place harsh chemicals on scalp and hair can also damage the hair follicle, and cause hair to look thinner," says Mitic.

3. Certain Diseases or Infections

"Medical conditions that can cause hair loss include thyroid disease, cancer, lupus, alopecia areata or scalp infections like fungus or ringworm," says Nussbaum.

4. Hormones

Hormones can definitely affect your hair during its growth cycle. "Hormonal causes of hair loss include pregnancy, birth control pills, childbirth, and menopause," explains Nussbaum.

5. Struggling Through a Traumatic Loss

"Sudden traumatic events like a death in the family, major illnesses, or surgery can cause hair loss six to nine months after the event," says Nussbaum.

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6. Too-High Heat

"High heat can also damage hair roots, so let your hair air dry, and use a curling iron sparingly," suggests Mitic. "Be gentle on wet hair, and use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush."

7. Genetics

Sometimes, it's all about dealing with what your mama (or papa) gave ya! "The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary female or male pattern hair loss," says Nussbaum. "Patterned hair loss happens to 50% of men by age 50 and 25% of women—male pattern will typically present with a receding hairline, while female pattern will present as thinning of the hair." The causes are not entirely clear in either case, although male pattern hair loss typically is due to a hormonal change.

8. A Poor Diet

Unfortunately, you are what you eat, and can have an effect on your hair, too. "Diets low in protein, iron or other specific vitamins may cause hair loss," explains Nussbaum.

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