Stages of Hair Loss: Understanding the Process


Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a common condition that affects both men and women. It can be caused by various factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices. Understanding the stages of hair loss is essential in diagnosing and treating the condition effectively. In this article, we will discuss the different stages of hair loss and provide detailed information on each stage.

1. Stage 1: Normal Hair Growth

At the initial stage, known as the anagen phase, hair follicles are actively producing new hair strands. The growth rate is approximately half an inch per month, and this phase typically lasts for around 2-3 years. During this stage, individuals experience normal hair thickness and density.

2. Stage 2: Thinning and Miniaturization

In the second stage, known as the catagen phase, the hair follicles start to shrink and detach from the blood supply. This results in thinning of the hair strands and reduced hair density. The miniaturization process occurs gradually, and the hair becomes weaker and finer. At this stage, individuals may notice increased hair shedding and a decrease in hair volume.

2.1 Causes of Thinning and Miniaturization

The primary cause of thinning and miniaturization is a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is derived from testosterone and can bind to the hair follicles, causing them to shrink and produce thinner hair strands. Genetic factors play a significant role in the sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT.

2.2 Signs and Symptoms

Signs of thinning and miniaturization include a widening part line, increased visibility of the scalp, and reduced hair volume. Individuals may also notice excessive hair shedding during washing or brushing.

Natural Hair Growth Cycle: Explainer Video On Anagen, Catagen & Telogen Phases

Hair Loss Explained – Animation

3. Stage 3: Visible Hair Loss

In the third stage, known as the telogen phase, the hair follicles enter a resting state. This phase lasts for about 3 months before the old hair strands shed, making way for new hair growth. During this stage, individuals experience more noticeable hair loss, with thinning areas on the scalp becoming more prominent.

3.1 Causes of Visible Hair Loss

Various factors can contribute to visible hair loss, including stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, certain medications, and underlying medical conditions such as thyroid disorders or autoimmune diseases.

3.2 Signs and Symptoms

The signs of visible hair loss include a receding hairline, thinning crown, and widening of the part line. The scalp becomes more visible, and individuals may notice clumps of hair falling out during daily activities.

4. Stage 4: Severe Hair Loss

In the fourth stage, known as the exogen phase, the hair follicles are in a dormant state, and hair loss becomes more severe. At this stage, individuals may have extensive areas of baldness on the scalp, with only a few remaining hair strands. Hair regrowth becomes challenging without medical intervention.

4.1 Causes of Severe Hair Loss

Severe hair loss can be caused by a combination of genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle choices. Chronic medical conditions, such as alopecia areata or scarring alopecia, can also lead to severe hair loss.

4.2 Signs and Symptoms

Signs of severe hair loss include large bald patches on the scalp, complete baldness, and sparse hair growth. Individuals may experience self-esteem and confidence issues due to the noticeable hair loss.

5. Stage 5: Complete Baldness

In the fifth stage, known as the resting phase or the end stage, individuals experience complete baldness. The hair follicles are no longer producing new hair strands, and the scalp appears smooth and shiny.

5.1 Causes of Complete Baldness

Complete baldness can result from long-term hair loss conditions, such as androgenetic alopecia or scarring alopecia. Genetic factors and hormonal imbalances are often the underlying causes of complete baldness.

5.2 Signs and Symptoms

The main sign of complete baldness is the absence of hair on the scalp. Individuals may also experience a loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair.

6. Stage 6: Total Hair Loss

In the sixth stage, individuals experience total hair loss not only on the scalp but also on other areas of the body. This stage is rare and usually associated with severe medical conditions or treatments such as chemotherapy.

6.1 Causes of Total Hair Loss

Total hair loss, also known as alopecia universalis, can be caused by autoimmune disorders, genetic factors, or severe medical treatments that affect hair follicle function.

6.2 Signs and Symptoms

Signs of total hair loss include the absence of hair on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and body hair. The condition can have a significant impact on an individual’s appearance and self-image.

7. Stage 7: Regrowth or Permanent Hair Loss

In the seventh stage, individuals may experience either regrowth of hair or permanent hair loss, depending on the underlying cause and treatment options. It is crucial to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plans.

7.1 Causes of Regrowth or Permanent Hair Loss

Regrowth or permanent hair loss can be influenced by various factors, including the effectiveness of treatment methods, individual response to medications, and the underlying cause of hair loss.

7.2 Signs and Symptoms

Signs of regrowth include the appearance of new hair strands and increased hair density. Permanent hair loss is characterized by the absence of regrowth despite treatment attempts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can hair loss be reversed?

    Yes, depending on the cause and stage of hair loss, it is possible to reverse or slow down the progression of hair loss through various treatment options such as medications, hair transplant surgery, or lifestyle modifications.

  2. Is hair loss permanent?

    In some cases, hair loss can be permanent, especially in advanced stages where the hair follicles are severely damaged. However, with advancements in medical treatments, it is possible to achieve significant hair regrowth even in cases of long-term hair loss.

  3. Can stress cause hair loss?

    Yes, stress can contribute to hair loss by disrupting the normal hair growth cycle. Extreme stress can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, leading to excessive hair shedding. Managing stress levels and practicing relaxation techniques can help prevent stress-induced hair loss.

  4. Are there any natural remedies for hair loss?

    While natural remedies such as essential oils, herbal supplements, and scalp massages may promote hair health, their effectiveness in treating hair loss varies. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and guidance on suitable treatment options.

  5. Can wearing hats or using hair products cause hair loss?

    Wearing hats or using hair products generally does not cause hair loss unless they are excessively tight or contain harsh chemicals that damage the hair follicles. It is important to choose hair products that are suitable for your hair type and avoid any practices that may lead to hair breakage or scalp irritation.

  6. Is hair loss hereditary?

    Yes, hair loss can be hereditary, particularly male and female pattern baldness. These conditions are influenced by genetic factors and hormonal imbalances, making individuals more susceptible to hair loss as they age.

  7. When should I seek medical help for hair loss?

    If you notice excessive hair shedding, thinning areas on the scalp, or any concerning changes in your hair growth pattern, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. They can assess your condition, determine the underlying cause of hair loss, and recommend appropriate treatment options.


Understanding the stages of hair loss is crucial in managing and treating the condition effectively. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of each stage, individuals can seek timely medical intervention and explore suitable treatment options. It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals for accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plans to address hair loss comprehensively.

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