Leading Causes of Hair Loss and Procedures That Can Help Treat Them

posted on:
October 19th, 2021
posted by:
Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Humans lose their hair every day; this is a fact of life. Since birth, our body is in a constant state of renewal. Every minute, our body sheds thousands of skin cells and millions per day as part of our body’s constant renewal cycle.

Hair follicles as well follow this pattern, albeit at a much slower pace. It is common to lose anywhere between 50-100 hair follicles a day, all without even noticing.

However, issues occur when the hair renewal process halts and fallen follicles are not replaced by new growth. This is when the signs of thinning and balding hair start to show.

Hair loss can be an emotional experience among those who suffer from it. Embarrassment, anger, denial and dread are all common reactions expressed during this time. Many of the clients we see daily are those seeking an experienced plastic surgeon in Toronto to help them with their hair loss.

But why does follicle production cease in the first place, and what causes hair loss in men?

These are some of the common hair loss causes and what we can do to treat them.

Causes of Hair Loss


As we age, our body experiences tons of changes ranging from wrinkles forming, skin sagging, weight fluctuations, and of course, causes hair loss.

Hair follicles are made from strands of protein in the body. For necessary growth, these proteins require a supply of nutrients such as iron, protein, biotin, and zinc to continue healthy growth. As we age, the brain begins to stop sending signals to the hair, resulting in the hair dying off, fall out, and being unable to re-grow, leading to hair loss causes. When this happens, you might wonder why all our hair doesn’t simply fall out at once?

This is because each of the roughly 100,000 hairs on our head is all on its own independent lifespan and renewal cycle.

In terms of when aging causes hair loss to happen, there is no real magic number, and sadly, it’s not even reserved for the senior class. Signs of balding can happen as early as the teenage years. Studies have shown that roughly 25% of men will start showing signs of hair loss before 21, and this number skyrockets to 66% by the age of 35. Finally, by age 50, despite being over a decade and a half before even being considered a senior, an astounding 85% of men will experience either hair loss or thinning hair.

Despite leading the majority for causes of hair loss in men, hair loss by aging is not only a men’s issue. Women, too, are affected by hair loss as they age. By the age of 50, nearly 40% of women experience some form of detectable hair loss.


Genetics is one of the biggest components of our hair and hair loss causes. Whether it comes down to colour, texture, or lifespan, family genetics largely play a part in hair loss. Those with a family history of balding and thinning hair are much more susceptible to experience it for themselves.

You’ve probably heard that genetics that causes hair loss to skip a generation in families, in which every other generation (usually just among men) will avoid the effects of hair loss, whether it be through their older siblings, parents, or grandparents.

But is there any merit to this claim, or is it simply wishful thinking from the eldest children of balding paternal figures?

The truth is, it’s complicated. Genetic traits don’t simply pick and choose whether or not to transfer to the next generation. However, like all myths, there is some truth to its origins.

While disputed, many theorize that the trait that causes hair loss is a recessive gene. Recessive genes don’t ever truly “skip” transferring to a generation. Otherwise, that gene would be lost. Instead, recessive genes are not expressed due to the dominant gene it is paired with.

A common example used to explain this is the gene for blue eyes.

Our DNA uses genes from our mothers and our fathers; these genes pair together. If both genes contain the blue eyes gene, their child will have blue eyes. If neither has the gene, the child will not have blue eyes. If the blue-eyed gene comes from one parent but not the other, the weaker, recessive gene (blue eyes) carries over into your DNA without presenting itself.

The gene is still carried in the child, however, and can be passed on to through to their future children. This cycle repeats itself until paired with another blue-eyed gene. This is what causes the genes to “skip” generations – sometimes it can skip several generations, and other times it may not skip at all.

This same idea can be applied to the genes that provide hair loss causes.

It’s also studied that while you can inherit dominant hair genes from either parent, most of the time, it is passed on from the female side of genetics. Meaning, you are far more likely to experience balding if it runs in your mother’s family history.


Stress is another one of the leading hair loss causes. When your hair is in its growing period, it’s in what is called the Anagen phase. When that halts and the hair sheds, it’s known as the telogen phase. Significant emotional stress can cause an abrupt shift in the hair follicle cycle and force the follicles prematurely into the telogen phase.

This wouldn’t be caused by a single bad day and would require more significant ongoing stress, such as grieving period over a loved one, high-stress full-time work, and of course, emotional turmoil over the pandemic and quarantine. It can take approximately three months before this type of hair loss begins to happen.

A common sign of these causes for hair loss can be found by its acute nature. It happens very fast and very noticeably. Hair loss during this period can be around 200 hairs a day – that’s double the usual, if not more. Those who suffer from stress hair loss will often see the hair come out in the shower, their pillowcase, and their brush.

The bright side is that this type of hair loss is also usually temporary. As long as the cause of stress has been resolved, the associated hair loss should cease within roughly six months and then begin to grow back slowly.

Intense Hair Care

Hair that has become overprocessed can become damage, break easily, and be one of the causes of hair loss. This can include hair that has been subjected to the following:

  • Dyes
  • Bleach
  • Heated excessively
  • Permed
  • Relaxed
  • Extreme-hold hair spray
  • Over gelled
  • Harsh shampoos

This can be one of the leading female hair loss causes, as they are more likely to use these products. Overprocessed hair often feels very dry to the touch, breaks easily, and can be hard to style and maintain. Hairstyling problems like cowlicks and flyaways are frequent, and depending on your hair texture and length, it may just feel like the hair is flat and hanging dead on your head.

The brittle nature of the hair causing breakage is of particular concern, as it can leave patches of hair breakage. Further, if the scalp is burned during intense treatments like bleaching, the hair follicles can fall out from the scalp, which causes hair loss and baldness in the affected area.


You may be wondering what causes hair loss in women. Besides the above-mentioned, childbirth may be linked to causes hair loss. After their baby is born, many new mothers commonly experience hair loss at noticeable levels. This is because, during pregnancy, hormone changes stimulate hair growth, and this causes hair to be fuller and stronger.

Within a few months after giving birth, the hormone levels begin to fall and return to normal levels. When this happens, the hair begins to shed to its normal growth and thickness pre-pregnancy. This can give the illusion of extreme hair loss, but these types of hair loss causes are usually just a temporary transition period.


Among the many terrible long-term symptoms that Covid-19 brings, it can also be behind hair loss causes. Months after contracting Covid, people began reporting noticeable hair loss, often in clumps at a time. While there’s no substantial evidence as to why this may be, hair loss can occur after illnesses like fevers and may be linked to that.

Additionally, contracting Covid can be scary, especially during the stages when less was known about the virus. As such, researchers suspect the heightened stress during the period of contracting Covid may be one of the causes of hair loss in women and men alike.

Psychological Effects of Hair Loss

Hair loss is not a condition that physically harms you. However, its psychological effects can be intense to those who suffer from it.

Hair loss can be associated as a prominent visual indicator of our body’s aging. This can be particularly disturbing to those who are younger and may begin to lose hair in their youth.

It is common for hair loss sufferers to feel insecure about their appearance, worrying about how others may perceive them. A common fear is of appearing older or with “weak” genes.

Furthermore, our minds can often blow insecurities out of proportion, like when you get a pimple, and you feel it’s growing bigger by the second. This is true of hair loss as well, making us feel our balding area is far more noticeable than it is, like a glowing target on our scalp.

In extreme cases, these insecurities can result in stress, anxiety, and depression. Unfortunately, as we’ve previously mentioned, long periods of high stress and anxiety also cause hair loss, so constantly fretting about it can worsen the condition.

How We Can Help

Whatever your causes for hair loss, we can help. At our clinic, we offer several types of hair transplant in Toronto. Here are the two main types of procedures that we offer.

FUT Hair Transplant

In a Follicular Unit Transplant, a strip is taken of the scalp, usually the back of the head, where healthy follicles grow in an inconspicuous place. The strip is then applied to the designated area.

A benefit of this method is that it provides a higher amount of grafts, and the survival rate of the transplanted hair is usually around 86%.

One drawback of this method is that it can leave a linear scar, so those who wear their hair short may not favour this method, unlike those with longer hair like in most female hair transplant procedures.

FUE Hair Transplant 

FUE hair transplant uses ARTAS transplant technology to permanently restores balding by restoring a hair’s thickness and volume. But unlike the FUT hair transplant method that requires strips of the scalp to be removed, the FUE ARTAS method uses a robotic micro-rotatory punch to take healthy follicles and place them into the designated area.

Using this robot technology, we are able to perform this transplant in a far less invasive way than traditional transplants, making for a quicker, safer, less painful surgery that also causes minimal scarring afterwards. Despite these benefits, an ARTAS hair transplant in Toronto does have a slight drawback over a FUT transplant, in that the survival rate of the hair is 61.4%.

What about Rogaine?

If you’ve been researching hair loss causes, you have probably seen Rogaine pop up in treatments. Rogaine is a hair growth product leading the markets for over ten years due to its easy accessibility at local pharmacies and reported effectiveness. But there are some drawbacks to using Rogaine.

For starters, it can take anywhere between four to six months before you begin seeing gradual results, and it’s not an effective treatment for everyone. This means you will need to dedicate your time and money for almost half a year before you even know if the treatment is worth continuing.

Secondly, Rogaine mostly only works to treat the top and crown of the head and is not an ideal solution to receding hairlines or male pattern baldness. It can also come with side effects, including weight gain, chest paints, scalp irritation, and unwanted facial hair growth.

Lastly, Rogaine is a product. Like most products, it stops working when you stop using it, and hair loss will proceed once you do. It is also reported that the scalp can develop an immunity to Rogaine over time and thus stop working even after you continue it.

Whether you decide between FUE vs FUT, receiving a hair transplant is a much more permanent solution, lasting years if not permanently before needing another procedure.

Schedule a consultation

Our surgeons at Toronto Plastic Surgeons specialize in several hair restoration methods for both men and women. You can trust us to perform your procedures with high integrity and precision.

If you’re ready to start treating your hair loss or even want to talk more about what causes hair loss, we can help you. Please schedule a consultation online or call 647-723-3739 to speak with one of our experts. Our experienced team will help you set up a meeting to help you determine the best treatment.

Posted by:

Dr. Thomas Bell, MD

Dr. Thomas Bell has been one of Canada’s most renowned cosmetic surgeons for 35 years. He prides his excellence on the harmonious balance of vision, aesthetic appearance, and patient care.

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