Hair Loss Symptoms

Do you feel like you’re losing a lot of hair in the shower? How about your comb — is there more hair in it than usual? Or, maybe your hair just feels thin and looks a bit flat.   

Early signs of hair loss aren’t always obvious, but it’s important to keep an eye out for them. It’s often progressive, and treatment options are most effective when caught early.

Is hair falling out in the shower normal?

People shed their hair constantly. Lots of simple day-to-day activities, like tying, styling, brushing or washing can cause some hair to fall out. Essentially, hair falling out in the shower can be a completely normal part of life.

Whether or not it’s concerning all comes down to the amount of hair you’re shedding. The study in the Dermatologic Clinics journal says that most people lose between 50 and 150 hairs every day. If you think you’re losing a lot more hair than this, it could be a sign of hair loss. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man; this problem can happen to anyone. The study in the Dermatologic Clinics journal says that hair loss can occur for many different reasons.

It often has a genetic component, but changes in your hormone levels or immune system functionality can also cause hair loss. Starting a new medication, experiencing an illness, or simply going through a very stressful period can also contribute.

Symptoms to look out for

If you’re worried that you’re losing hair, keep an eye on any changes to the amount of hair on your head, as well as the thickness and volume of your hair. For example, hair thinning at the temples or around the top of your head can be a sign of a specific type of hair loss.

You should also keep an eye out for common symptoms, which the Mayo Clinic says include:

  • Thinning hair, particularly in a specific area
  • Circular or patchy bald spots
  • A receding hairline
  • Hair feeling looser and coming out more easily when brushed
  • Redness, swelling, itchiness or pain in your scalp 

Certain types of hair loss can affect your entire body, not just your head. Your specific symptoms will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. 

How you lose hair is important

There are many different conditions that cause hair loss. Most people lose hair because of conditions like androgenic alopecia or alopecia areata. However, symptoms can also be a sign of an underlying health problem.

Different types of hair loss will respond to different treatment strategies. It’s important to determine the specific reason why you’re losing hair in order to treat it effectively.

Androgenic alopecia

Androgenic alopecia, which is commonly known as male pattern baldness, is the most common cause in men. It is caused by both genetic and hormonal factors.

A different study in the Dermatologic Clinics journal reported that this typically affects the areas around the temples and crown. People with this condition typically find that at first, their hairline starts receding. Then, they begin to lose hair around their temples and the top of their head. The hair at the back of their head usually remains, even when hair at the top has stopped growing.  

Male pattern hair loss occurs differently for everyone. In general, though, it starts when you’re young and progresses gradually over time.

If you think you have androgenetic alopecia, talk to your doctor. There are a variety of different treatment options for this condition, including finasteride, minoxidil, and hair restoration surgeries.

A close-up of the back of a man's head, showing hair loss at the crown

Hair loss at the crown is one of the first signs of androgenic alopecia

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is the second most common type of hair loss. It is caused by an autoimmune issue.

Patchy hair loss is common with alopecia areata. A 2015 study in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology reported that most people who have alopecia areata tend to experience this. Usually, less than half of the head is affected.

However, alopecia areata also has the potential to affect all the hair on your head. Unlike androgenic alopecia, which only affects the hair on your head, alopecia areata can even affect the hair all over your body!

Around 80 percent of people with this issue have their hair grow back naturally within a year, but this doesn’t indicate that you’re cured. Symptoms can, unfortunately, start up again at any point.

Treatment is limited as this condition can be unpredictable. Some treatments, like minoxidil, are the same types of treatments that are recommended for male pattern hair loss. It’s more likely that your doctor will prescribe you steroids, immunosuppressants, or a topical immunotherapy treatment, though.

A close-up of the top of the head, showing a small, round patch of hair loss

Alopecia areata tends to present as round, patchy hair loss

Other types of hair loss

Other types of hair loss can vary substantially, but are usually easier to treat. For example, a 2018 study in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology found that the way you style your hair and the chemicals you treat it with have the potential to cause you to lose hair. Simply avoiding chemical relaxants and tight hairstyles, like tight ponytails, cornrows or dreadlocks, can help prevent hair from falling out. 

Sometimes, it’s simply a side effect. The study in the Dermatologic Clinics journal reported that many common medications and supplements can cause hair to shed. These include certain types of blood thinners, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants.

Medications for specific health issues, like acne, psoriasis, tuberculosis, and HIV also have the potential to cause hair loss. Even vitamin A supplements have been associated with symptoms!

The good news is that people can generally reverse this type of hair loss easily. In most cases, they just need to reduce their dose or switch to a different medication.

If you suspect that a medication is causing your symptoms, talk to your doctor. They can recommend a different dose or an alternative medication with fewer side effects.


From thinning hair to patchy bald spots, losing hair occurs for many different reasons. It might be tempting to try and ignore the problem or cover it up with a new hair-do, but don’t! Hair loss symptoms suck, but the sooner you identify the cause of the problem, the faster you can treat it (and, hopefully, also grow your hair back)! 

Hair Loss Symptoms

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