Symptoms of hair loss

The hair cycle follows a very precise pattern that is divided into three phases. However, this pattern can become disrupted, causing the hair to fall out. Depending on the type of hair loss, the hair cycle is modified differently. What are the various symptoms of each type of hair loss?

Occasional hair loss and androgenetic alopecia: very different conditions

Occasional hair loss 

Commonly known as occasional or seasonal hair loss, the scientific term for this condition is acute telogen effluvium. There are three different types of occasional hair loss, which could appear at any time, depending on your level of fatigue, daily stress, the season and the weather, your eating habits, or your hormonal balance. Its onset is sudden and lasts no more than six months. This alopecia is considered diffuse, meaning it is spread out evenly over the entire scalp. Once the triggering factor has been identified and eliminated, the final outcome is always positive, although it may take between 12 and 18 months for the hair to return to its original state. 

Androgenetic alopecia

The same cannot be said for this type of hormonal and hereditary hair loss. It is not rare for this hair loss to cause baldness in men. In fact, it is the most common form of alopecia, affecting 70% to 80% of men their lifetime*. Female androgenetic alopecia is also very common. Symptoms include hair loss lasting more than six months, characterized by loss localized on the temples and the top of the head.

Chronic telogen effluvium

This type of chronic hair loss causes hair to fall out sporadically over the course of six months or more. The condition is usually observed in middle-aged women who had healthy, thick and shiny hair originally. Possible causes include thyroid disorders, anorexia, iron deficiency and certain medications. Unlike with androgenetic alopecia, chronic hair loss is temporary and reversible. The symptoms to watch for are mild, diffuse hair loss lasting more than six months.

Anagen effluvium

This type of hair loss corresponds with a sudden loss of hair during the growth phase, following a disruption in the activity of hair follicle cells. Anagen effluvium has a quick onset, spanning from a few days to a few weeks. It manifests as diffuse alopecia, potentially affecting up to 80% of the hair. This type of hair loss is mainly observed following chemotherapy cancer treatments or exposure of the head and neck to radiation therapy.

Alopecia: symptoms and triggering factors

Androgenetic alopecia gets its name from its genetic component. Baldness is the most common form of androgenetic alopecia in men. It is part of the physiological aging process. An excess of male hormones alters the hair’s natural cycle by speeding up its growth and miniaturizing the follicles. This action puts strain on the scalp: the hair becomes thin until it stops growing altogether. It can begin at a young age, sometimes as young as 20 in men. In this case, localized alopecia is usually observed in certain areas, on the forehead and around the temples. 

This chronic and diffuse hair loss appears gradually. Usually beginning just after puberty, it gradually develops and really starts to set it between the ages of 30 and 40. Several warning signs may appear: mild but daily hair loss, dull hair, dandruff, itching of the scalp, oily hair and painful roots in some cases, etc.

When to worry about hair loss symptoms

Hair falling out in clumps, thin hair, and a diffuse loss of hair volume are just some of the more common symptoms that may indicate temporary or more severe hair loss. It is not so much the manifestation of these symptoms in itself but rather when they appear that provides the most information. By connecting the hair loss to an event in your life or daily routine, you will surely be able to identify the cause more easily. So, be sure to pay close attention...
  • Daily stress, anxiety, burnout, an emotional shock: these can impact the quality and appearance of your hair.
  • Have you changed your diet? Your hair loss may be directly linked to a mineral or vitamin deficiency.
  • Autumn is just around the corner, and you are losing your hair? You definitely have seasonal hair loss, caused by hormonal changes and a lack of light at this time of year.
  • Has your hair been falling out in clumps ever since you had your baby? You have a clear case of postpartum hair loss due to hormonal changes observed during this period. One-third, or even half, of women are affected**.
  • Are you subject to hormonal disorders? It is not uncommon for an excess (or lack) of hormones to cause various imbalances in the body, including hair loss. The same phenomenon occurs with metabolic disorders such as an iron deficiency. 
In either of the above-mentioned cases, in order to best analyze your hair loss symptoms, consult with your pharmacist and/or primary care physician and/or a dermatologist specializing in the scalp as soon as symptoms appear. While not all hair loss requires medicinal treatment, the priority is to identify the type of hair loss in order to treat it as effectively as possible. Hair loss is a common reason for consulting a dermatologist. 

* Source: Blume-Peytavi et al., 2011; Norwood, 1975
** Source: Grover and Khurana, 2013

Our care routines

My anti-occasional female hair loss routine (less than 6 months)

Action against occasional hair loss (caused by stress, fatigue, post-pregnancy, changing seasons, etc.)

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My anti-chronic female hair loss routine (over 6 months)

Action against chronic hair loss

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My male anti-hair loss routine

Action against chronic hair loss (> 6 months)

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