Hair loss is something that can afflict anyone at any age and for a variety of reasons. If you have noticed a sudden increase in the amount of hair that appears on your shower floor, drains, or your brush and not just in the places it usually grows, it could be a sign that you are dealing with excess hair loss. Sometimes called alopecia, hair loss can affect different areas of the body but seems to target women more often than men.
Hair loss on legs is something that many people will experience at some point in their lives. There are many possible causes for this type of hair loss and finding out which one applies to you will help you combat it and hopefully reverse the effects. Listed below are factors that can cause hair loss on your legs.
Genetics are responsible for your hair type and colour, but they also play a role in your overall hair health and the likelihood of experiencing hair loss. If hair loss runs in your family, you may be more susceptible to it than someone who doesn’t have that genetic predisposition. If you have hair loss on your mother’s side of the family, it is most likely due to genetics. However, if you have hair loss on your father’s side of the family, it could also be due to genetics but it could also be due to male pattern baldness.
Female hormones are responsible for stimulating hair growth, including the hair on your legs. When levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair loss can occur. A sudden increase in androgen or testosterone can also cause a drop in estrogen and progesterone, resulting in hair loss on your legs and other body parts. Hormonal imbalance can be caused by several different things, including breastfeeding, menopause, or even taking certain medications. If you’re experiencing sudden hair loss on your legs, a hormone imbalance should be considered as a potential cause.
An unhealthy diet or physical, mental, or emotional stress may contribute to hair loss if your diet is regularly low in certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like iron.
Stress can manifest in many different ways, and hair loss can be one of the side effects. If you have recently undergone major life changes, such as a death in the family, divorce, or problems at work, you may notice that you’ve started shedding more hair than usual. Stress can also cause an increase in the production of androgen, which can lead to hair loss on your legs and other parts of your body.
If you are experiencing hair loss, consider ways to reduce your overall stress levels.
Friction & Scarring
Friction caused by friction against your skin, such as a knee brace, tight socks or jeans, can lead to hair loss on your legs. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and will usually grow back once the source of friction has been eliminated. You may also notice hair loss on your legs if you have an injury to the area or have a skin condition, such as psoriasis. Scars that are located on the lower leg may also cause hair loss. If you have recently undergone surgery or suffered an injury, watch out for hair loss as a possible side effect.
Poor blood circulation in the legs, known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), may cause hair loss. Plaque build-up and constricted arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet restrict blood flow and result in poor blood circulation, which results in hair loss. Hair loss occurs as a result of impaired circulation because hair doesn't receive the nutrients it requires for growth.
Between 12 and 20 per cent of adults over 60 have PAD, a condition more prevalent in smokers and those with diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PAD can cause other physical symptoms such as shiny, smooth skin and a cooler skin temperature.
It is estimated that poor circulation is responsible for approximately 41% of all cases of hair loss, including hair loss on legs. You can help improve circulation by getting regular exercise, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and avoiding high heels or other shoes that don’t provide good support to your feet.
The most common cause of hair loss on the limbs is dermatitis, a skin condition that causes inflammation and irritation. Psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, eczema, and seborrhea are all dermatitis conditions that cause patches of flaky, irritated skin. Dermatitis refers to an immune response in the skin that causes inflammation and irritation. Certain types of dermatitis can cause itchy, red patches to appear on the skin, including eczema and seborrhea.
Keratosis pilaris is an inflammatory condition of the skin and hair follicles, whereas psoriasis is an immune disorder that attacks healthy tissue. In addition to damaging hair follicles and epithelial cells, severe burns or injuries may also be incapable of supporting hair regrowth.
Long-term use of steroids, particularly the ones that bodybuilders take, which contain testosterone and other muscle-building substances, can cause extensive hair loss on the arms and legs. Body hair loss is also a side effect of steroid use, though predominantly for women.
Some medical conditions, such as anaemia, can cause hair loss on your legs and other parts of your body. If you have an iron deficiency, you may notice patches of baldness or even complete hair loss in some areas, including your lower legs. Thyroid issues, lupus, and other autoimmune disorders can also cause hair loss on your legs.
The common cause of anterolateral leg alopecia in middle-aged and elderly men is leg hair loss that appears harmless. Alopecia areata is a condition where round patches of hair loss up to the size of a quarter appear anywhere on the body. Alopecia universalis is a more severe and infrequent condition that results in hair loss all over the body.
In men with CHD, hair loss on the legs appears to be linked to coronary heart disease (CHD). Men without CHD also began to lose leg hair at an early age, but leg hair loss was more common in men with CHD.
Diabetes can also cause hair loss in the legs. Long-term diabetes-related damage to the blood vessels can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). Plaque, a fatty deposit, builds up inside the blood vessels of the legs, interfering with blood flow and consequently hair growth.
The thyroid gland plays a huge role in the hair follicles’ growth and maintenance. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can interfere with the normal hair growth process, causing hairs to drop out prematurely. Hair loss may occur in addition to the scalp, on the legs or in other locations. Carbimazole and propylthiouracil, two antithyroid drugs, may cause hair loss in rare cases.
If you have recently been diagnosed with a medical condition, talk to your doctor about the best way to treat it. In some cases, hair loss may be a sign of a more serious health issue. If you have noticed hair loss on your legs or other parts of your body, consult with your doctor to rule out more serious causes.
Certain medications can cause hair loss on your legs and throughout your body. Hair loss is a known side effect of certain types of chemotherapy and some types of blood pressure medications. If you have recently started taking a new medication, check to see if it can cause hair loss. If you have recently begun experiencing hair loss on your legs, ask your doctor about alternative medications that don’t have this side effect.
Birth control pills, anabolic steroids, blood thinners, high-dose vitamin A, and drugs used to treat high blood pressure, depression, gout, and heart issues can all contribute to widespread hair loss.
If you have noticed a significant amount of hair loss, see your physician. There may be no need for treatment if the hair loss is gradual, but if the reason is identified, the hair may grow back.
Poor circulation or an illness might be the cause of your hair loss. Seek immediate medical attention if your hair loss is related to any pain, itching, redness, or other strange symptoms. Your doctor can help you manage these conditions.
Your doctor should identify the specific reason for hair loss on your legs. Your medical history and blood tests may reveal whether your hair loss is caused by nutritional deficiencies, insufficient thyroid hormone, or other conditions.
Because leg hair loss is usually a symptom of a larger condition, your doctor will examine your whole body for other hair loss symptoms. They may also look for signs of infections, rashes and skin conditions that might be responsible for leg hair loss.
Doctors or dermatologists will diagnose the cause by:
• Taking note of the duration and pace of hair loss, as well as other medical issues that might be linked to hair loss.
• Looking carefully at the patient’s skin, particularly the legs and other areas with hair loss.
• Looking for signs of breakage and other damage in the individual's hair.
• Ordering blood tests if necessary
Your doctor may also refer you to a skin and hair condition specialist if he suspects a skin or hair condition. PAD can be detected by your physician if certain risk factors are present:
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
Hair loss on the legs must be treated based on the cause.
A doctor will treat the medical condition causing hair loss, or if a particular drug is the cause, the doctor may reduce the dose or switch medications. After about six months, hair typically begins to grow again in these situations.
There are instances when leg hair loss is not unaccompanied by other symptoms. In these cases, treatment may not be necessary unless the individual is bothered by the hair loss. It is also worth mentioning that leg hair loss does not seem to respond to standard hair loss treatments.
Treatments that could help prevent hair loss on legs include:
• Taking supplements or making dietary changes to correct nutritional imbalances.
• Treating inflammation with corticosteroid injections.
• Alopecia areata can be treated with finasteride (Propecia).
• Hormone replacement treatments like Levothyroxine (Synthroid) for hypothyroidism.
Hair loss on legs can be caused by a variety of factors. However, these factors can be treated in different ways. It’s important to identify the cause of your hair loss in order to take the best possible action to reverse the effects. If you have noticed a sudden increase in the amount of hair that appears on your shower floor, drains, or your brush and not just in the places it usually grows, it could be a sign that you are dealing with excess hair loss. It would beneficial for you to seek advice or diagnosis for a doctor or dermatologist and then you can get the right treatment for you.
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