Back to blog
February 6, 2023

What Causes Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be caused by various factors ranging from genetic to environmental. Check out this blog post to learn more about the main cause of hair loss.
Hair Loss

According to Mayo Clinic the most common cause of hair loss is caused by hereditary factors and age. Male and female pattern baldness are the most common types of hair loss and is inherited from one or both parents. 

Alternate causes can include hormonal changes or imbalances. Our hormones play a key role in hair growth and changes due to factors like pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and thyroid problems can contribute to hair loss. 

There are also certain medical conditions that can result in hair loss. Illnesses such as lupus, diabetes, and anemia can involve hair loss. Certain medications such as antidepressants, high blood pressure drugs, and blood thinners can also trigger hair loss. 

High stress levels or emotional shock can cause hair loss by triggering your hair follicles to enter the resting stage and fall out. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium and hair will typically grow back within three to six months without treatment. 

Another cause of hair loss includes traction alopecia. This is a result of certain hair styles that are creating constant tension or pulling on the roots. 

Environmental factors can also contribute to hair loss. Exposure to toxins, pollutants, and UV rays can cause hair loss over time. 

As we get older, our hair naturally begins to thin and the rate of new hair growth slows down. Scientists at Northwestern University recently made a discovery of the changes that happen at a cellular level leading to hair loss as we age.

Generally, it was thought that the stem cells responsible for hair growth would die in place with age- a process known as stem cell exhaustion. But what Dr. Yi had observed in the hair follicles of aging mice was that the stem cells responsible for growth had escaped from the structures that house them. The cells would change their shape and squeeze out of the holes in the follicle, return to their regular shape and move away.

This stem cell escape could be the reason behind why we lose hair as we get older.

But how do we fix that?

There are many potential treatments available for hair loss ranging from prescription medication to surgical procedures.

Some commonly prescribed medications for hair loss include finasteride and minoxidil. Finasteride is a pill that is specifically used to treat male pattern baldness whereas minoxidil is a solution that is applied to the scalp to treat both male and female pattern baldness. Minoxidil works by promoting blood flow to your hair follicles to stimulate growth. Finasteride works by stopping your body from producing a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for male pattern baldness. 

A popular hair loss treatment uses a patient's own blood plasma to promote hair growth. This is called Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. The platelets from the patient's blood are isolated and then injected back into the scalp. This delivers growth factors to the scalp and promotes hair growth. 

A new development in hair transplant technology focuses on the stem cells rather than the entire hair follicle. The hair transplant available today takes existing hair follicles from one area of the scalp and implants them to areas of concern.

This new method takes a skin sample from the patient, extract the stem cells from that sample, and then inject those stem cells back into the scalp in the areas of hair loss. Therefore repopulating the stem cells and encouraging hair regrowth.

Researchers have also shown that extracellular vesicles derived from dermal papilla can promote hair growth. Extracellular vesicles are small pouches of RNA that stem cells release into their surroundings to induce repair in other cells. Other stem cell derived components such as growth factors and exosomes have also been effective in promoting hair regrowth.

Scientists at Yokohama National University leveraged skin stem cells from mice and cultured them to generate fully functional hair follicles. The next step for the research team is to recreate the experiment with human cells. If they are successful, these lab grown follicles could be used to reverse hair loss.

The catch?

These regenerative treatments will leverage our own cells, which means that the treatment will only be as powerful as the cells that are being used. As we get older, our cells begin to accumulate damage, and become less effective. Ensuring you have a reserve of your best cells available would help you get ahead of the effects of aging and prepare you for the future of regenerative treatments. With Acorn’s innovative non-invasive adult cell banking solution, you’ll be able to do just that. Learn more here.

Acorn Biolabs