What causes hair abnormalities and what should I do about it?

Symptom Database

Have you ever noticed any abnormalities in your hair growth or experienced hair disorders? If so, you may be wondering what causes these hair abnormalities and what you can do about them. In this article, we will explore the various causes of hair abnormalities, common and rare types of hair abnormalities, and the available treatments for these conditions.

Understanding Hair Abnormalities

Hair abnormalities refer to any deviations from normal hair growth patterns or conditions that affect the scalp. These abnormalities can manifest in different ways, such as abnormal hair growth, hair loss, or changes in hair texture and appearance. They can occur in both children and adults, and some may have a genetic component.

Common Hair Abnormalities

There are several common hair abnormalities that many people experience. These include:

  • Excessive hair shedding
  • Thinning hair
  • Brittle or dry hair
  • Split ends
  • Scalp conditions like dandruff or scalp psoriasis

These common hair abnormalities can be caused by various factors, including hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and improper hair care practices.

Rare Hair Abnormalities

While rare, there are also some hair abnormalities that occur less frequently. These include:

  • Alopecia areata: an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss
  • Trichotillomania: a psychological disorder where individuals have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair
  • Traction alopecia: hair loss caused by excessive tension or pulling on the hair
  • Hypertrichosis: excessive hair growth in areas where it is not typically present

These rare hair abnormalities often require specialized treatment and management approaches, and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance.

Causes of Hair Abnormalities

The causes of hair abnormalities can vary depending on the specific condition. Some common causes include:

  • Hormonal imbalances: Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as those experienced during pregnancy or menopause, can lead to hair abnormalities.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Inadequate intake of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and proteins can affect hair growth and health.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle and contribute to hair abnormalities.
  • Genetics: Some hair abnormalities have a genetic component and can be inherited from parents.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions like thyroid disorders or autoimmune diseases can cause hair abnormalities.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to harsh chemicals, excessive heat, or pollution can damage the hair and lead to abnormalities.

Symptoms of Hair Abnormalities

The symptoms of hair abnormalities can vary depending on the specific condition. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Excessive hair shedding or hair loss
  • Changes in hair texture or appearance
  • Scalp itching or irritation
  • Visible bald patches or thinning areas
  • Brittle or dry hair

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for Hair Abnormalities

The treatment for hair abnormalities depends on the specific condition and its underlying cause. Some common treatment options include:

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as minoxidil or finasteride, may be prescribed to promote hair growth or manage underlying medical conditions.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your diet, reducing stress levels, and adopting proper hair care practices can help improve hair health.
  • Topical treatments: Specialized shampoos, conditioners, or scalp treatments may be recommended to address specific scalp conditions or abnormalities.
  • Hair transplant or restoration procedures: In cases of severe hair loss or baldness, surgical procedures like hair transplantation may be considered.

It is important to note that not all hair abnormalities can be cured, especially those with a genetic component. However, proper management and treatment can help improve the condition and minimize its impact on your daily life.


Hair abnormalities can be distressing and affect one’s self-esteem. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatments for these conditions is crucial in managing and addressing them effectively. If you are experiencing any hair abnormalities, it is recommended to seek professional advice to determine the underlying cause and develop a personalized treatment plan. Remember, taking care of your overall health and adopting proper hair care practices can contribute to maintaining healthy hair and preventing future abnormalities.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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