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Hair loss is a natural process which occurs daily. On average, we lose around 50 – 100 hairs per day, and whilst this is perfectly normal, excessive hair loss could be a sign that something isn’t right, and you should see your GP if you are displaying any unusual symptoms. 
You should visit the doctor if: 
 
• There is a sudden amount of excessive hair loss 
• You start to develop bald patches 
• You start losing hair in clumps 
• Your head is itching/burning 
• You are worried about the amount of hair loss 
 
Temporary hair loss can be caused by a variety of different factors, most commonly through illness, stress, cancer treatment, weight loss or an iron deficiency. Although permanent hair loss through male and female pattern balding is usually caused by hereditary factors. 
 
Hormonal changes 
 
Experiencing hormonal changes can bring on temporary hair loss. These changes can be caused through factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid issues. 
 
Medical conditions 
 
Some medical conditions can also bring about hair loss, especially autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata. However, scalp infections such as ringworm can also bring on hair loss, and a common hair pulling disorder known as trichotillomania causes mild to severe hair loss. 
 
Medications and supplements 
 
Hair loss is also a common side effect or particular drugs, such as those designed to fight cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and gout. If you have received radiation therapy to your head, your hair may not grow back the same as it did before. 
 
A stressful event 
 
A stressful event, bought on by either physical or emotional trauma, can in turn lead to hair loss or thinning for a few months. 
 
Hairstyles and products 
 
Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull and tighten your hair back, such as cornrows, plaits or pigtails can lead to hair loss or thinning because of the amount of stress you are putting our hair follicles under. This is known as traction alopecia. Using hot oils for scalp treatments can cause inflammation of the hair follicles, leading to accelerated hair loss, and if the follicles scar over, this could be permanent. 
 
Preventing hair loss 
 
Male and female pattern baldness is a hereditary and permanent form of baldness, which is not preventable. However, the types of hair loss discussed prior are preventable and treatable; these tips should help you if you are suffering from hair loss, or are just worried about developing it. 
 
• Stop smoking. Smoking has a direct correlation to premature balding, especially with men. 
• Avoid playing or pulling on your hair too much, as this encourages the hair to fall out. 
• Protect your hair from direct sunlight or other sources of UV light. 
• Using a cooling cap whilst being treated with chemotherapy can reduce the risk of hair loss 
• Avoid wearing your hair in tight hairstyles, such as ponytails or in a bun. 
• Treat hair gently whilst washing and brushing. 
 
 
Sudden or excessive hair loss can cause a lot of distress for many people. Whilst this is a common problem, temporary hair loss is preventable, and can be achieved with relative ease. Treating your hair and body with care can be very beneficial to your overall well-being, as well as your scalps. There are solutions for this problem, so if you are worried about a sudden amount of hair loss, please contact either your GP or your dermatologist to see what further advice they can give you on the matter. 
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