Losing hair

Every day you lose hair. About 50 to 100 of them fall off your head. That's normal and you probably don't notice because other hairs keep growing. But sometimes, people lose a lot more hair than that. Is your grandpa or dad bald or losing his hair? Maybe even your grandma has thin hair. It's pretty common. Half of all men have bald spots by the time they're 50. Some women do, too. There are some medicines that might help.

There are other reasons people can lose hair, too, including:

  • Infections
  • Certain medicines
  • Cancer treatment
  • Eating disorders, which happen when people don't eat enough or make themselves sick right after they eat.
  • Alopecia, a condition that makes hair fall out quickly, either in patches or completely. This can happen to kids and teenagers, but it's not very common. No one's exactly sure why it happens, but some people think it's because something happened to the person's immune system, which keeps you healthy. Usually hair will grow back on its own.  
  • Hairstyles such as tight ponytails and braids that can pull out hair.
  • Hair brushing too hard or too often.


                Girl with tight braids showing alopecia between the braidsAlopecia in a girl who had worn tight “corn row” braided hair for several year. Patches of alopecia occurred between the braids.

  • Chemicals that are used to make the hair curly or straight, or change its color. They can damage hair and make it break.
  • Styling products such as hair dryers, curling irons, and flat irons, which are used to straighten hair.

Luckily, most of these things can be stopped or treated. If you are losing more hair than you think you should, talk to your parents. They might take you to see a skin doctor (dermatologist), who treats hair problems.

If your parents want to know about hair loss, they can visit Hair Loss.

Next: Lice: Creepy crawlies in your hair.

Photo references:
Photo used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.