Why Does My Hair Fall Out?

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

Reviewed by: Andrew Flynn PG Dip. L.M.H.C. MBACP. PCA.

7 reasons your hair is falling out and how to stop it.


Hair shedding is a part of everyday life.  It clogs up your shower drain, clings to your brushes, and you find it everywhere… But the fact is, hair loss is totally normal, and proof of a healthy hair growth cycle. The thing is when it comes to hair loss there are so many potential triggers. This means it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact reason why your strands are falling out, and henceforth, how to remedy the situation.

First things first, hair loss is a very common issue for many women, much more so that people realise. It is estimated that more than 50% of women experience visible hair loss1https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16921-hair-loss-in-women, Cleveland Clinic, and on average a person loses 50-100 strands a day2Jon Johnson, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327188, Medical News Today, for both men and women. If you notice you are losing more hair than usual, it’s important not to panic, you’re your hair will recover.

Your hair goes through three distinct phases in the growth cycle3https://myhairdoctor.com/stages-of-the-hair-growth-cycle/, My Hair Doctor:

Anagen Phase
During the Anagen phase is described as the growing period and can last up to 3-5 years, until full-length hair averages between 18-30 inches. During this phase your hair grows around half an inch each month, and typically faster in the summer than in the winter.

Catagen Phase
After the anagen phase, your hair enters the Catagen phase. This is a short transitional phase which lasts approximately 1-2 weeks. During this phase the hair follicles prepare themselves to rest, and the deeper hair follicles start to collapse.

Telogen Phase

Finally, your hair enters the Telogen phase, which is known as the resting or shedding phase when your hair is released and falls out. The follicle remains inactive for 3 months and the whole process is repeated. Each hair follicle is independent and goes through the growth cycle at different times, otherwise, all your hair would fall out at once.

There are two different types of hair loss, Genetic and Reactive.

Genetic hair loss4Paige Marsh, https://www.hshairclinic.co.uk/news/is-hair-loss-hereditary, Harley Street Hair Clinic is, caused by a genetic defect passed on from parents. If your parents suffered with hair loss, there’s a chance you’re genetically predisposed to hair thinning. This means you may see a progressive or gradual reduction in hair volume. In these occasions, specific hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones and this sensitivity causes the follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle. Male pattern baldness is more common, and statistics show that 85% of men are likely to experience some form of hair loss.5https://wimpoleclinic.com/blog/why-is-hair-loss-more-common-in-men-than-women/, Wimpole Clinic

Reactive hair loss is when your hair loss is the result of a trigger or event. Excessive daily hair shedding (telogen effluvium) is not dependent on having a genetic predisposition. It occurs as the consequence of an internal imbalance. For instance, a nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting, an illness, pregnancy or miscarriage. It can even be triggered by excessive tight hairstyles (traction alopecia), or heat and chemical styling.


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7 common hair loss triggers


Hormonal Imbalance

A hormonal imbalance6Corinne O’Keefe Osborn, https://www.healthline.com/health/hormonal-imbalance, Healthline can lead to an array of health issues. From adult acne to weight gain. If your hormones are out-of-sync, the effects will circulate throughout your body including affecting your hair.

Hormones play a huge role in regulating the hair growth cycle. Oestrogens (female hormones) are ‘hair friendly’ and help to keep hairs in the Anagen phase for the ideal length of time. Androgens (male hormones) are less hair-friendly and cause a shortened hair growth cycle.

An excess of androgens, which could be caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, can cause hair loss. This is often down to genes; a hormonal imbalance can affect your hair more than it would someone who doesn’t have a family history of a hormone imbalance.


It is no myth that additional stress can  make your hair fall out. Stress can raise androgen (male hormone) levels, which in turn can cause hair loss. Stress may also trigger further issues including dandruff, disrupting eating habits, and mess with your digestive system. All of which can have a negative impact on hair growth and the phase cycle.

You can also seek the support of a qualified counsellor to discuss the underlying causes of the stress you are experiencing.

Counselling can take different forms depending on your needs and what type of therapy may be suitable.

Most counselling takes place in planned, regular sessions which last for around 50 minutes. How often you see your counsellor and how many appointments you have will depend on your individual circumstances, and will be agreed between you and your therapist.
You might see a counsellor on your own, as a couple or family, or in a group with people who have similar issues. You might meet them face to face in their home, offices or clinic, or talk to them online or over the telephone.

Anaemia (Iron Deficiency)

One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is an iron deficiency7Jennifer Purdie, https://www.healthline.com/health/iron-deficiency-and-hair-loss, Healthline. Iron is essential for producing hair cell protein, and without it your hair will suffer. Not only can an iron deficiency cause more hair to fall out than usual, but it can also cause bald patches on your scalp. Losing hair due to an iron deficiency is temporary and can be treated by changing your diet and increasing your iron intake.



The thyroid gland helps to regulate the body’s metabolism by controlling the production of proteins and tissues use of oxygen. A thyroid imbalance can affect the hair follicles. If hypothyroidism is left untreated, it may result in anaemia; which as, previously mentioned can also impact your hair growth.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

A lack of vitamin B12 can leave you feeling tired, low on energy and take its toll on your hair. A vitamin B12 deficiency often causes hair loss as it can impact the health of your red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues. It is most common in vegans as you primarily obtain vitamin B12 through protein found in animals.

Sudden Weight Loss

A steep drop in weight can considerably impact your hair. 6-12 weeks after dramatic weight loss, whether it be intentional or unintentional, hair commonly falls out in surplus. This is because our body will naturally pull resources from non-essential functions to our organs. While our hair is extremely important to us, physiologically it is non-essential. We could survive without our hair with no damage to our physical health. This means any nutritional deficiency often first shows up in our hair. This is one of many reasons to avoid crash dieting and instead try to adopt a healthy and balanced lifestyle.


If you are going through or about to enter the menopause, changes in your body also influence your hair. Hair loss becomes more apparent leading up to, and after the menopause. It is still important to realise that our hair ages, and as we get older, hair naturally gets finer. It’s a normal part of the ageing process. We repeat, normal.


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And here’s what you can do to fix it:

Ok, so now you know what triggering the hair loss, here’s how to deal with it…

Recognise the problem

Hair loss does not happen overnight. Our strands grow in the three cycles, which means it can take up to 3 months for hair to fall out after a trigger has caused it. If you notice excessive daily hair shedding for longer than 3 months, it would be wise to see a trichologist or your GP. As there could be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Importantly, try not to panic. Telogen effluvium (excessive shedding) is almost always self-eliminating, and your hair will start to grow back as usual once any internal imbalances are put right.

Change up your diet

1) Get More Protein

Hair is made of protein and ensuring you are receiving the adequate daily intake of protein-rich foods is essential. Include at least a palm-sized portion of protein at breakfast and lunch to help keep your hair in good health.

2) Complex Carbohydrates are Essential

Carbohydrates provide our hair with the energy it needs to grow, so it’s important not to forget this food source. They provide energy to convert protein into the cells which produce your hair.

3) Drink Plenty of Water

Water is a key ingredient that supports vitamins and contribute to your overall hair growth. Believe it or not, water makes up almost 25% of the weight of a single strand of hair8https://kineticosa.com/blog/4-ways-drinking-water-improves-hair-growth/, Kinetico. Drinking at least two litres of water a day will help to strengthen your hair.


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Take a supplement

As hair is a non-essential tissue it has unique nutritional requirements. Supplementation can be effective in the boosting levels of vitamins and minerals available to your hair. But they must be taken alongside a healthy diet for the full benefit. Supplements to consider include Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and the essential amino acids, L-Lysine and L-Methionine.

Get smart about styling

Yes, the messy topknot or high ponytail may look cool, but it could be placing extra stress on your hair strands. Try to avoid hairstyles that place traction on the hair such as tight ponytails and braids. Avoid heavy styling creams and serums, as they can add unnecessary weight to the hair.

DON’T freak out

I know, it’s easier said than done. Losing your hair can leave you feeling stressed, upset and feeling insecure, however, it is incredibly important to realise how common female hair loss is – and that if you are experiencing it, you are not alone, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Remember, regardless of the claims on the bottle, there isn’t one product alone that cures hair loss – you must also look at your general health, your diet, as well as optimise the health of your scalp and the condition of growing hairs. Above all, although it is very difficult, be patient and do not despair. Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, it takes at least 6 weeks to see an improvement.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.