Understanding Hair Loss- When Losing Hair Becomes A Problem

young woman combing hair in bathroom. rear viewOn average, people can lose up to 100 hairs from their scalps each day.

Occasionally finding a few stray hairs on your brush or comb or in other places is not cause for alarm.  However, there are life events or lifestyle changes that can accelerate the normal rate at which a person loses hair.

Factors such as age, genetics, hormones, medication, pregnancy, cosmetic procedures (dyes and relaxers), stress, diet or certain illnesses can all serve as possible causes for a person’s hair loss.

There are several different types of hair loss (alopecia):

  • Androgenic alopecia-  is a genetic condition that affects men and women. This condition is also referred to male or female pattern baldness.
  • Involuntional alopecia- occurs naturally with age
  • Telogen effluvium-this causes temporary hair thinning resulting from changes in the growth cycle
  • Scarring alopecias- inflammatory skin conditions such as cellulitis or folliculitis can result in permanent hair loss
  • Traction alopecia- occurs when hair is constantly being pulled at the follicles. This commonly happens to men and women who wear tight hair styles

Balding occurs when the amount hair that is being lost becomes excessive.  There are cues that you can look out for that indicates excessive hair loss. They include:

  • Large amounts of hair on your pillow each morning
  • Large amounts of hair left in your brush or comb after grooming
  • Thinning on the top third of the scalp (for women)
  • Circular or patchy bald spots appearing on the scalp
  • Patches of scaly skin on the scalp

If you have concerns about excessive hair loss, it is recommended that you speak with a dermatologist. Your doctor may explore different types of treatments based on the reason for hair loss and severity.  Treatment options may include a dietary plan, laser therapy, surgery or medication. It is important to keep in mind that while most hair loss conditions can be treated, there are some forms such as androgenic alopecia that are untreatable.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001. The Division of Dermatology at Jamaica Hospital offers several services, including adult and pediatric dermatology, dermatologic and skin cancer surgery, and cosmetic dermatology.


All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.