Alopecia Causes - A Thorough Guide!

Alopecia, or more commonly, hair loss, is one of the most prevailing conditions among both men and women. Ranging from genetic problems to autoimmune conditions, it could occur due to a variety of factors, like stress, medical treatments, psychological factors, hormonal imbalances, or certain medical conditions.

However, to understand perfectly, we need a clear picture of the factors involved in different causes of alopecia.

So, let’s dive into the debate!

Causes of Alopecia

Alopecia can occur over years or even abruptly, depending upon its causes and nature. Since it is of different types, the causes also vary, depending upon the underlying factors responsible for causing the hair loss.

Alopecia can be of several types, as

  • Alopecia areata
  • Androgenic alopecia
  • Trichotillomania
  • Telogen effluvium
  • Anagen effluvium
  • Traction alopecia
  • Involutional alopecia
  • Alopecia universalis
  • Scarring alopecia
  • Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia

Now let’s have a look at different causes of alopecia, and how they have been affecting the fore-mentioned types.


Androgenic alopecia, which is more commonly known as male or female pattern baldness, is a type of hair loss, governed genetically by hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), derived from testosterone, which is essentially vital in stimulating hair follicles and promoting hair growth.

Certain genetic mutations in the androgen receptor or the AR gene occur, which causes overstimulation of hair follicles by the DHT leads to shorter hair growth cycles, and delayed replacement of hair strands. This leads to either thinning or loss of hair, thus causing alopecia.

Autoimmune Condition

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition, in which the immune cells automatically attack the hair follicles, retarding the growth of hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

However, it is somewhat linked to genetic abnormalities as well, as the condition tends to run in the family tree.


Stress plays a vital role in promoting hair growth or loss. Significant stress can suddenly cause the hair follicle to enter the resting phase (telogen) during the hair growth cycle, a condition termed as telogen effluvium.

Another type of alopecia, anagen effluvium is also linked with stress, in which the hair follicles in their actively growing phase (anagen) are prematurely pushed into telogen phase, resulting in hair shedding.

Besides, stress can also affect the overall health and growth of hair follicles, potentially leading to impaired hair growth.

Psychological Factors

Trichotillomania is a psychological condition associated with hair loss, in which a person suffers from sudden urges of pulling of hairs deliberately from the eyebrows, scalp, or even other areas of the body.


X-rays, UV rays, or other radiations can cause disruption of hair follicles, leading to impaired hair growth and temporary hair loss.


Certain medications like antidepressants or antipsychotics may have side effects of hair loss or patterned baldness.

Other Causes

Other essential causes of alopecia include:

  • Cosmetic procedures, like shampooing too much, or bleaching or dyeing hair too often.
  • Braiding hair tightly
  • Excessively calorie restricted or a low protein diet
  • Deficiency of vitamins like A, B, C, D, and E
  • Deficiency of minerals like iron and zinc
  • Medical conditions like thyroid disorders, diabetes, iron deficiency anemia, or lupus.
  • Hormonal imbalances during childbirth, puberty, and menopause in a woman
  • Severe burns and injuries causing scarring alopecia

Treatment of Alopecia

There is a wide variety of options available to treat alopecia as follows:

  • OTC medication like minoxidil for thinning of hair, or finasteride for male pattern baldness.
  • Hair transplant surgery can be useful in cases of androgenic alopecia.
  • Phototherapy may help stimulate regrowth of hair follicles in cases of alopecia areata.
  • Wigs or hair pieces as cosmetic solutions.
  • Injectable corticosteroids in the scalp can be of help in cases of alopecia areata.
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy can encourage new hair growth.

Crux of the Matter

Hair loss at any age or stage can be emotionally exhausting, whether it be because of genetics, stress, psychological factors, or even any other triggers. However, don’t be afraid if you are experiencing hair loss because of any of the reasons, as there is always a solution present.

Remember to always consult your healthcare provider for better diagnosis and good prognosis. Hope we have got you all covered. Stay happy and healthy!

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