Hair problems are common nowadays, such as brittle, weak hair, hair loss or discoloration. These problems mostly stem from the same root causes, because hair is affected by several body parts. If you want to find out what causes hair problems, we have compiled the most common reasons here.


Hair problems like hair loss can be inherited. According to some statistics this is the most prevalent reason for hair problems, although it is very difficult to estimate given all environmental factors. If hair problems are in your genetic code, you might start seeing hair loss at an early age, and depending on your lifestyle, hair loss will soon be permanent and affect a large area of your scalp. Contrary to common belief, genetic predisposition can be inherited from both the paternal and maternal ancestors. Genetic predisposition does not cause hair loss by itself, but instead needs to be triggered by either life events of lifestyle. 


With new research and more reliable data, many researchers today believe that lifestyle is the most influential factor in hair problems. Life in urban areas has become very distant from nature, with implications on sun exposure, air quality or food and water quality. Heavily processed food, little physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption are all deteriorating natural lifestyle. The body once developed hair as a protection against nature's impact, which is no longer needed in modern lifestyle and additionally costly for the body to maintain. More insight is needed, but very recent studies suggest that the modern lifestyle overloads the bodily functioning, which causes less vital functions to be shut down. 


Both physical and emotional stress can cause hair problems, including hair loss. Physical stress such as accidents, severe illness or surgery can trigger telogen affluivum or early greying of hair. Psychological stress, such as major life events (death of a beloved one, divorce etc.) but also lighter, ambient stress can contribute to hair loss. Most often, hair loss is temporary, but greying will likely not reverse. Psychological stress today is present at every moment, in noise, pollution, work-related stress and crowds. However, it is likely contribute to hair problems, not cause them. 


Intensive force applied onto hair can damage the follicle of your hair. Forceful combing, rubbing, tight braids, hair weaves, corn rows or other forms of pulling slightly detach the follicle from its bedding. Also chemical treatments, excessive heat or extensive drying stress the follicle. When the follicle loses its tight connection to the hair bed, it is less able to extract the nutrients it requires. Heat applied to the scalp also dries out the scalp, making it more difficult to supply the roots. Because this actually affects the hair roots, there is a chance that hair problems are long-term if not permanent.



The most common auto-immune-related hair disorder being alopecia areata, hair problems can arise from an auto-immune illness. The body's own defense system over-reacts and treats the hair roots as an invader which needs to be removed. The immune system then attacts the follicles and forces the hair to shed, leading to patches of hair falling in smaller areas. Statistically this is one of the least common causes of hair problems, with less than 3% of all cases attributed to it.  


Hypothyroidism is the medical term for having an underactive thyroid gland. This gland is located in front of your neck, right below the adams apple. It produces hormones critical to metabolism, cell growth and many other functions in the body. Hypothyroidism develops over many years as the result of iodine deficiency. A malfunction will wreck havoc on your entire system, resulting in hair loss, weight fluctuations, malnutrition, hormonal imbalances etc. Particularly on hair, the thyroid-produced hormones cause the follicle to shut down operations and force it to sleep, making the hair first become weak and brittle, then fall. It is unclear whether hair can be regrown once the follicle stays dormant for longer.

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