7 Sneaky Reasons Your Hair Is Falling Out

Updated: Feb. 19, 2021

Hair shedding is natural. You lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. But if you notice larger clumps of your mane missing, there might be a bigger problem at hand.

You’re not eating enough protein

If you have hair falling out, here’s another reason to load up on protein at every meal: It helps to create your hair. When you suffer a deficiency of protein, your body may shut down hair growth and you can see hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Women should be getting at least 46 grams of protein per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Neva Cochran, RD, a registered dietitian in Dallas, Texas recommends that your protein intake come from a variety of food sources, not just meat. Adding half a cup of pinto beans to your next dinner gets you an extra 11 grams of protein.

baked sweet potatoes

You’re not getting enough iron

For vegetarians, or people trying to limit their meat intake, becoming iron deficient is a real concern, and a diet lacking in iron may lead to hair loss. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should get 18 mg of iron per day, and women 51 and older should get 8 mg per day, according to the National Institutes of Health. But don’t run to the drugstore for supplements so quickly: Cochran does not recommend taking an iron supplement without having a proven iron deficiency diagnosed by a doctor. Instead, add iron-rich foods to your diet. These foods include sweet potatoes, soybeans, squash, lentils, and spinach. Find out the 16 reasons your hair is falling out.

woman sitting at desk with head in hand

You’re coping with a high-stress situation

Feeling anxiety about your performance review or your annual doctor visit is unlikely to cause chunks of your hair to fall out. But intensely stressful situations—think: life-threatening medical diagnosis, the death of a loved one—can trigger hair falling out even weeks after the initial event. “Extreme stress can cause hair loss six weeks to three months after a stressful event,” says Elizabeth B. Houshmand, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Dallas, Texas. The good news is that for most hair will grow back normally once stress is reduced, although it may take up to a year.. Learn the other at-home trick doctors recommend for thinning hair.

woman straightening hair
Chakrapong Worathat / EyeEm/Getty Images

You use heat stylers

Guilty of using hot tools for sleek, shiny hair, or straightening chemicals or oils to tame your locks? Your hair might look good for the moment, but in the long run, you’re damaging it—and raising your risk of hair falling out. “Very high heat from blow dryers and the like can lead to breakage,” Dr. Houshmand says. Pulling at your hair with a styler puts pressure on the folic, and may lead to hair loss. Instead try to air dry and never use hot tools on wet hair. You can also try one of these home remedies for damaged hair.

woman holding a baby

You just gave birth

Every expectant mama knows all too well: Your body goes through countless changes during pregnancy. Most importantly, your estrogen levels are altered, which, among other things, causes your hair not to shed during the nine months you’re preggo. But once you give birth, you begin to lose all the hair that you should have lost during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Plus, new mom stress can contribute to hair loss. When it’s your first kid and you’re unprepared, it may seem like you are going through some kind of crazy hair-pocalypse. Unfortunately, there is no quick solution for this kind of hair loss. You just need to know that it will eventually grow back. The seasons might affect your hair, too; this is the time of year people lose the most hair.

hair brush with lots of hair in it

You have a thyroid problem

Your thyroid is responsible for helping to regulate important body functions like your menstrual cycle, heart rate, and body temperature. A problem with this vital gland can affect many aspects of your health, including your hair, according to Dr. Houshmand. If you are experiencing abnormal hair loss, talk with your doctor to check your thyroid to check if it’s over active or under active. Don’t miss these other secrets your hair can reveal about your health.


You started a new medication

Certain drugs, including blood pressure medication, can lead to hair falling out, according to Dr. Houshmand. To find out if your daily pill causes hair shedding, read over the drug label warnings (yes, the same ones you tend to gloss over or even just throw out). But don’t stop any medication without consulting with your doctor first.

If you have scabbing or pus with your hair loss, see your doctor. It may be a sign of a more serious condition.