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Hair Loss Causes: Finding out the Cause of Your Hair Loss

Trial and error treatment is not the most effective remedy for hair loss. The most successful treatment is based on a correct diagnosis of the cause of hair loss. The fastest and surest way to obtain an accurate diagnosis is to consult a trained and experienced physician like Dr. Bonaros — a hair restoration specialist.

The Hair Growth Cycle

Before exploring why some people lose hair, it is important to understand the basics of how healthy hair grows. This process takes place during the following three stages.

  1. Anagen phase: The hair follicle actively works to stimulate hair growth.

  2. Catagen phase: A transitional period during which hair growth slows.

  3. Telogen phase: The hair follicle rests before new hair growth begins.

Dr Bonaros performs online assessment for hair loss patients in glasgow

What Causes Hair Loss?

Knowing what causes your alopecia enables you to seek effective hair loss treatment. Here are several of the most common types of hair loss conditions. 

  • Female and male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). Sometimes also referred to as female and male pattern hair loss, this hereditary hair loss condition is caused by an excessive response to androgens. It results in overall hair thinning and loss, often characterised by a receding hairline. 

  • Alopecia areata. Often quite sudden, this hair loss condition takes place when the immune system attacks hair follicles. Generally, alopecia areata causes patchy hair loss, but it can also result in alopecia totalis (complete baldness). 

  • Traction alopecia. Caused by tension from tight hairstyles like braids, traction alopecia is an acquired hair loss condition. It results in thinning hair, hair loss and damaged hair follicles.

  • Scarring alopecia (cicatricial alopecia). This type of hair loss takes place when inflammation destroys hair follicles. Primary Cicatricial alopecias are considered autoimmune disorders causing bald spots and permanent hair loss. Examples are Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia – FFA- and Lichen Planopilaris -LPP.

  • Telogen effluvium. Triggered by stress or a traumatic event, telogen effluvium causes hairs to enter the resting phase of the hair cycle prematurely. It results in temporary hair shedding.

  • Hypothyroidism. This thyroid hormone deficiency often causes brittle hair and, if severe or prolonged, can result in patients losing hair. However, this temporary hair loss can be corrected with effective thyroid treatment.

  • Tinea capitis. This fungal infection is a common cause of alopecia in children and anyone with a weak immune system. It results in patchy hair loss and itchy, scaly skin that can be treated with oral medication. 

  • Cancer treatment. Radiation treatment and certain types of chemotherapy commonly used to treat cancer can cause scalp and body hair loss. However, this is only temporary and a patient’s hair grows back a few months after they complete treatment.

From hair growth disorders like androgenetic alopecia to medical conditions like alopecia areata, every type of hair loss is unique.
Book an appointment with Dr Bonaros to discover which hair loss treatment options are best suited to you.


Getting a Hair Loss Diagnosis

Before recommending or undertaking a surgical hair restoration procedure or nonsurgical hair restoration program, your hair restoration specialist will conduct a series of tests and examinations. At a minimum, these will include a review of your medical history, a physical examination, and a scalp examination.

Most persons seeking hair restoration have male or female pattern hair loss — a condition simple to diagnose and readily treatable. Additional diagnostic tests are not necessary for these patients. This is especially true for biological males, as the diagnosis of androgenetic alopecia in men is generally quite straightforward. 

However, if medical examinations indicate that your hair loss may be due to a condition other than male or female pattern baldness, your physician will look for other causes.

dr bonaros hair transplant surgeon

What Does a Scalp Examination Involve?

The exact scope of a scalp examination will vary between patients depending on a physician’s assessment of what information is needed. Effectively determining your hair loss cause and its progression may include any of the following tests. 


Trichoscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic technique for the detailed examination of hair and scalp health. Utilizing a dermatoscope, this digital microcopy method magnifies the scalp’s surface up to 100 times, enabling real-time visualization of hair follicle condition, scalp surface, and hair shafts. Trichoscopy reveals vital insights into hair density, patterns of hair loss, presence of broken hairs, and any underlying scalp disorders. The detailed imagery aids in devising precise, individualized treatment plans, monitoring treatment effectiveness, and tracking the progression of hair health over time.

Hair pull

During this test, about 25 to 50 hairs are removed from the scalp by a gentle pull. Typically, only a few hairs are removed with each pull; removing more significant numbers may indicate an abnormality of hair growth. The extracted hair shafts are examined under a microscope to establish the condition of the hair shaft and bulb (the end of the hair shaft removed from the follicle).

Scalp biopsy

A scalp biopsy is a diagnostic procedure used to pinpoint the causes of hair loss when typical assessments remain inconclusive. It involves the removal of a small piece of scalp tissue under local anesthesia, which is then meticulously examined under a microscope. This investigation helps us detect any disorders of the hair follicles, inflammatory conditions, or scarring that may contribute to hair thinning or baldness. By providing a detailed view of the cellular and tissue-level characteristics within the scalp, the biopsy can lead to accurate diagnoses of conditions such as alopecia areata, cicatricial alopecia, telogen effluvium, or androgenetic alopecia, thus guiding targeted treatment strategies.

No matter the causes of your hair loss, Dr Bonaros can help you find the perfect treatment plan. Get in touch and book a free hair loss consultation to start your hair restoration journey today.

Causes of Hair Loss - FAQs

At Dr Bonaros, we often get asked questions like, “Can stress cause hair loss?”, “Can anxiety cause hair loss?” and “Are there specific male and female hair loss causes?” We’ve answered some common queries about thinning hair and hair loss below. Read our answers to discover more about the causes of alopecia.

Are there different alopecia causes in males and females?

Generally, the causes of female hair loss are the same as those for males. However, depending on your biological sex, you may be more prone to certain types of hair loss.  

Due to their higher testosterone production, biological males have a high chance of developing androgenetic alopecia. This is also true for females suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), as this condition can cause an increased production of testosterone. However, PCOS is difficult to diagnose — contributing to the fact that it can be more complicated to determine the exact cause of hair loss in women.

In some cases, female hair loss can involve underlying medical conditions such as hypothyroidism. A patient’s primary care physician will need to treat this condition before hair restoration can be undertaken. There are also specific hormone-related medications that can cause hair loss in females. A common example includes side effects from birth control pills.

Hair Implanter pen during DHI hair transplant procedure in Glasgow Scotland by Dr Bonaros

Can stress and anxiety cause hair loss?

Yes. Although this phenomenon requires more research, there is a distinct relationship between anxiety, stress, and losing hair. This confirmation leads to several questions, including, “What type of hair loss does anxiety cause? Hair loss conditions commonly associated with stress and anxiety include the following. 

  • Telogen effluvium

  • Androgenetic alopecia

  • Trichotillomania (irresistible urges to pull out hair)

  • Androgenetic areata

Depending on the specific situation, these conditions can sometimes result in very noticeable hair loss. However, this is not always permanent, and, if your long-term appearance is affected, there are numerous trustworthy medications and procedures available for treating hair loss. 

Does caffeine cause hair loss? 

No. There is no proof that caffeine directly causes either permanent or temporary hair loss. 

The assumption that it can most likely stems from the fact that caffeine is a vasodilator and diuretic. This means it causes your blood vessels to constrict and can result in dehydration if not consumed alongside enough water. 

Both reduced blood flow and lack of hydration can contribute to potential hair loss. However, mild amounts of caffeine are extremely unlikely to have a significant impact on this. In fact, there are even some studies that claim caffeine can promote hair growth. While this research is not definitive, it further emphasises that caffeine is not a direct cause of hair loss. 

Dr Bonaros: An Experienced Hair Restoration Specialist You Can Trust

Dr Bonaros is a leading hair restoration specialist with years of experience in the field. As Scotland’s only full member of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and a full member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery (BAHRS), you can trust the expertise of his work. 

At the Dr Bonaros hair restoration clinic in Glasgow, we understand that hair loss conditions like male pattern baldness can cause you to lose your confidence. Dr Bonaros provides each patient with a tailored treatment plan to effectively treat your hair loss and help you regain your confidence. 

Are you experiencing hair thinning or loss? Dr Bonaros has experience in treating numerous hair loss causes. Book a free hair loss consultation or fill in our Online Assessment Form to discover your ideal hair restoration treatment plan. 

Excerpts copied from International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery,, © 2004.

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