Losing some hair every day is completely natural.
But when you’re losing a lot of hair, it can be difficult to figure out what’s causing that hair loss—especially in women.
Most of the time minor hair loss is just a sign that your body’s growing new, healthy ones to replace the old. In fact, losing up to 100 hairs per day is totally normal.
If you’re not sure what’s normal for you, it’s a good idea to simply pay attention to what you typically see in your brush or shower drain. And “if all of a sudden you’re noticing a lot more, or your ponytail is thinner or you’re seeing more scalp,” then you may be losing more hair than you should, Francesca Fusco, M.D., dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in NYC and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai, tells SELF.
Figuring out why you’re suddenly losing more hair than usual can be tricky because there are many different causes of hair loss in women. Some, like hereditary hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), aren’t really in your control—you get the hand you’re dealt.
But others, like traction alopecia or temporary hair shedding (a very common condition called telogen effluvium), can be managed or even reversed if caught early. Making things even more complicated, some causes of hair loss in women result in sudden shedding while others may become progressively more noticeable over time.
If you’ve noticed your hair is falling out more than usual, looks thinner, or seems to be growing more slowly, here are some of the most common reasons for hair loss in women.
When we think of hereditary hair loss, we usually go straight to male pattern baldness. But people of all genders are susceptible to hereditary hair loss. In women the hair loss is usually concentrated at the crown of the head (especially noticeable at the hair part), while it’s more likely to affect men along the hairline, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes.
Although you can’t prevent this type of hair loss entirely, there are treatments available—such as over-the-counter minoxidil or finasteride—that can slow it down and make hair stay fuller longer. So the sooner you start treatment, the better. Keep in mind that your treatment options for any condition or health issue on this list may change over time based on new research and newly available therapies. Make sure you have ongoing conversations with your doctor about which treatment options may be best for you.