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Why Is My Hair Dry and Falling Out?

author image Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.
Why Is My Hair Dry and Falling Out?
Dry hair and hair loss can typically be corrected.

Most people want a full, healthy head of hair and hair loss can be a traumatic experience. Discovering the cause of the problem can help to reverse or prevent further hair loss. Dry hair is another undesired but common problem for both women and men, and can lead to hair loss. There are several reasons hair may be dry or start to fall out.

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Poor Hair Care

Poor hair care may result in dry or thinning hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, good hair care practices that can help to keep hair healthy include avoiding excessive heat or harsh styling products, avoiding excessive sun exposure, using conditioner after every shampoo, shampooing less frequently, avoiding tight pony tails or braids, limiting perms and hair color and avoiding harsh combing or brushing when hair is wet.

Older Age

The process of aging, combined with genetics, can cause hair loss that may not be preventable. Balding, or alopecia, typically affects more men than women. According to Medline Plus, pattern baldness affects about 25 percent of men by age 30 and approximately two thirds of men by age 60. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to help to correct or prevent further hair loss. Wigs, hair extensions and surgical hair transplants also are available to help to diminish the appearance of baldness.


Emotional or physical stress can cause 50 percent to 75 percent of hair to fall out, according to Medline Plus. Hair loss due to stress, may fall out in clumps or large handfuls. Stress may be caused by a death in the family, severe illness or major surgery. Following a period of stress, hair should eventually grow back.


Nutrient deficiencies, weight loss and eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia can lead to dry hair or hair loss. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a deficiency in protein or iron may lead to hair loss and consuming an excess of vitamin A can cause the same result. Hair loss and dry hair due to malnutrition can be corrected with proper diet and supplementation to correct nutrient deficiencies.

Hormone Changes

A decrease in estrogen levels that typically occurs during menopause or after having a baby can increase hair loss. This type of hair loss due to hormone changes should be temporary and hair will typically resume a normal hair growth pattern within six months to two years according to Medline Plus.

Medical Conditions

The presence of certain diseases can affect hair growth and texture. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that can cause dry hair and hair loss. Other medical conditions that can lead to hair loss include lupus, syphilis, ringworm of the scalp, certain types of tumors and radiation therapy to treat cancer. Taking certain medications may also contribute to hair loss.

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