Poor diet

Nutrients are required for hair to grow properly. These include protein, glucose, vitamins and iron, sodium and sulphur. Insufficient iron is a common cause of hair loss.


Antibiotics, when taken over a long period, have been shown to cause hair loss, as have some thyroid medications and anti-coagulants. Too much vitamin A or vitamin E can cause hair to fall out.


Hair production is seen by your body as a non-essential function, so is one of the first areas to be affected in times of illness or stress.

Poor hair care

Sharp-pronged brushes and hair-dryers can do damage; wide-toothed combs are the best type. Twisting or pulling on the hair will damage it, as will a tight ponytail or hat.


Bald fathers are more likely to have balding sons. Genetic hair loss occurs when the follicles are susceptible to male hormones, or androgens. If your hair follicles are susceptible, even a relatively small amount of male hormone will cause hair loss.

Alopecia areata

A condition that looks very like traditional hair loss, with small circular bald patches on the scalp that slowly enlarge. The most likely cause is stress or shock. The condition often clears up by itself.

Alopecia universalis

A rare, permanent form of alopecia that causes all hair on the scalp and the body to be lost. The condition should only last a few months and clear up by itself.