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Pete Scott, MD Written by Erin D. Updated on 14 Jan 2024
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Diffuse Hair Loss: Causes, Treatments, Costs (2024)

Pete Scott, MD

This text was written according to the highest scientific standards and reviewed by medical experts. Find out more about our quality assurance.

Written by Erin D. Updated on 14 Jan 2024

Both men and women can be affected by diffuse hair loss. With this type of hair loss, the scalp shines through and the hair is no longer as full and healthy as before. Nevertheless, diffuse hair loss can be treated well. Read more about the symptoms, progression and treatment options here.

Most Important Findingssvg

Diagnosis Symptoms
Treatments Minoxidil, Hair Transplantation etc.
Costs 50 - 7,900 EUR

How do you recognize diffuse hair loss?

Diffuse hair loss is also known as Effluvium Diffusum or Alopecia Diffusa. You can recognize this special type of hair loss by the fact that the hair is no longer thick, but thinned and light. The hair often falls out all over the head so that the scalp is visible. However, it is rare for the hair to fall out completely.


Hair loss symptoms


Nevertheless, diffuse hair loss can cause significantly more hair to fall out per day than usual. Women in particular are increasingly affected by diffuse hair loss due to their hormone levels. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, a visit to the doctor is recommended. Here, questions tailored to the clinical picture are asked and possible causes are clarified.


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What are the causes of diffuse hair loss?

The causes of diffuse hair loss can be numerous. In order to determine these, a detailed examination by your doctor is advisable. Nevertheless, diffuse hair loss itself is not classified as a specific clinical picture, but rather as a symptom of an existing health problem. Below you will find an overview of the most common causes of diffuse hair loss:


Side Effects of Medication
There are numerous medications that can trigger diffuse hair loss as a side effect. The probability of this is low, but possible. Hair loss usually occurs two to four months after taking the medication. These medications include:

  • Antihypertensive, anticoagulant and antihypertensive drugs
  • Retinoids
  • Various antibiotics
  • Psychotropic drugs
  • Epilepsy drugs
  • Hormone-containing drugs
  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers
  • Chemotherapeutic drugs

If your doctor can attribute the diffuse hair loss to a medication, it is highly unlikely that the hair loss will be permanent. This does not apply to chemotherapy drugs, which can permanently damage the hair follicles. If you are taking a medication that can be replaced, this may be an option. However, this is only possible if you are not dependent on a specific active ingredient. Please also note that you should not stop taking your medication on your own.


Hormonal Changes

As hormones influence hair growth and hormonal fluctuations are part of the nature of the female body, women are particularly susceptible to diffuse hair loss. The hormone that plays a decisive role here is the sex hormone oestrogen.

Hair loss can occur at different stages of life, such as during puberty, after childbirth, during breastfeeding, when taking or stopping the contraceptive pill, when using a hormone coil or during the menopause due to changes in hormone levels. However, as hormone levels regulate themselves in most cases, there is no cause for concern. Once the hormones are back in balance, hair density should also return. However, the situation is different with hair loss due to the menopause: In this case, a thinning head of hair can remain permanently due to the drop in oestrogen levels. After medical clarification, treatment with minoxidil can be considered.


Thyroid Disease

Another factor that can influence the human hormone balance is an overactive or underactive thyroid gland or an autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Diffuse hair loss can also occur as a symptom here. However, if the thyroid disease is treated appropriately, the diffuse hair loss in this case is only temporary. Hair growth normalizes itself after a while. Thyroid disorders are often accompanied by a nutrient deficiency. A corresponding blood test by a doctor not only provides information about the function of the thyroid gland but also about the nutrient status.


Nutrient Deficiency

Hair requires a sufficient supply of proteins, vitamins, trace elements and other essential substances. Iron, zinc, selenium, amino acids, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, Biotin, in particular, are important for healthy hair and influence growth. Therefore, make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, nuts, olive oil and preferably plant-based protein. Vegetarians, vegans, athletes, people with gastrointestinal diseases and pregnant women in particular should pay attention to their nutrient intake. If there is a nutrient deficiency, the hair roots are no longer sufficiently supplied with nutrients. Hair may fall out as a result. If necessary and after consulting a doctor, a diagnosed nutrient deficiency can easily be treated with additional nutritional supplements.



Genetics cannot be held directly responsible for diffuse hair loss, as genetic hair loss is a disease in itself. However, diffuse hair loss and hereditary hair loss can occur at the same time.



To date, there have not been enough studies to scientifically prove the connection between stress and hair loss. Nevertheless, sufficient studies indicate that stress can have a negative effect on both the body and the mind. It is assumed that stress releases more pro-inflammatory substances that can promote hair loss.



Heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and thallium can cause diffuse hair loss. However, other physical symptoms occur more frequently than just hair loss.


Incorrect Hair Care

Chemical coloring can put a lot of strain on the hair, but does not directly lead to diffuse hair loss. Dyeing destroys the natural cuticle and care products can no longer be properly absorbed. Blood circulation to the scalp is also impaired, which means that the hair roots can no longer be properly supplied with nutrients. When buying care products, you should also look for a mild formula without chemical additives, as these can damage the hair.

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Diffuse Hair Loss in Men

The hair suddenly falls out more frequently, the hair looks very thin and the scalp shines through. These symptoms indicate diffuse hair loss. However, diffuse hair loss occurs much less frequently in men than in women. In addition, this type of hair loss does not lead to complete hair loss and is easy to treat once the cause has been diagnosed. The doctor can use a physical examination, a urine sample and certain blood values to look for deficiencies or malfunctions.


Typical male pattern hair loss: The norwood scale.

Diffuse Hair Loss in Women

The course and symptoms of diffuse hair loss in women are similar to those in men: the person affected suddenly loses more hair than usual, the scalp is visible and the hair is no longer as thick as before. The main reason for the increased susceptibility to diffuse hair loss in women can be the increased occurrence of hormonal fluctuations. This includes the menstrual cycle as well as a change in a certain phase of life, such as puberty or the menopause. Nevertheless, diffuse hair loss in women is also reversible in most cases.


Typical female pattern hair loss: The ludwig scale.

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Treatments for Diffuse Hair Loss

Due to the different causes of diffuse hair loss, treatment is largely dependent on the diagnosis. Diffuse hair loss can only be tackled and treated once the exact cause has been identified.

  • If your diffuse hair loss is the result of pregnancy, no treatment is necessary as the hair growth will normalize on its own.
  • If the doctor detects a nutrient deficiency, a change in diet or the intake of nutritional supplements will help. However, these should only be supplemented after consultation with a doctor.
  • If you are diagnosed with a hormonal disorder such as thyroid disease, special medication can help.
  • If the diffuse hair loss is caused by a medication, a different preparation can be tested.
  • Professional help is advisable for psychological reasons such as stress, an unhealthy lifestyle or eating disorders.


Regenerative Therapies

It can happen that either no cause for the diffuse hair loss can be found or the hair density does not return to its original form after treatment. In these cases, regenerative therapies can be used as support:

PRP treatment: The structure and appearance of the hair can be influenced and optimized with the help of special methods. These include the regenerative PRP treatment (platelet-rich plasma/platelet-rich plasma). The method is particularly suitable for women and men with thin and sparse hair and can also be used as a preventative measure. During the treatment, the body’s own blood is processed and the platelet-rich plasma is injected into the scalp. This can promote hair growth in the affected areas.

Low-level laser therapy: The aim of low-level laser therapy is to use a medical laser to increase blood flow to the scalp and thus improve the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles.


Therapies for Hereditary Hair Loss

If you suffer from hereditary hair loss, minoxidil, finasteride or a hair transplant can be considered:

Minoxidil: Taking the over-the-counter medication minoxidil dilates the blood vessels and ensures better blood flow to the scalp. Hair growth is stimulated. According to the Mayo Clinic, the medication works in around two-thirds of the test subjects when applied to the scalp daily. Scalp irritation and acne in the area of application are common side effects. Irregular heartbeat and blurred vision are rare.

Finasteride: The prescription-only finasteride, e.g. Propecia, is a very effective medication and prevents the formation of the hormone DHT, which is harmful to the hair root. In this way, hair loss can be slowed down and new hair growth promoted at the same time. According to the Mayo Clinic, the drug is most effective in test subjects under the age of 60. However, if hair loss is already well advanced, taking finasteride may not have much effect, as the drug mainly stops hair loss. Women are advised not to take the drug.

Hair Transplantation: In professional hair transplantation, hair is transplanted into the affected areas of the scalp. Nowadays, hair transplants are used in a sophisticated way and achieve a natural-looking result using the latest technology. There are various methods of hair transplantation. The advantage of all hair transplants is a lasting result without side effects.

Hai Transplant FUT or FUE

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The medications minoxidil and finastride can help to slow down or stop hair loss. However, the medication does not cause hair that has already fallen out to grow back.

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Compared to hereditary or circular hair loss, diffuse hair loss is rare. Nevertheless, women in particular can be susceptible to diffuse hair loss. However, as this type of hair loss usually occurs temporarily as a symptom of an existing problem, it usually disappears on its own after a while. In the case of persistent diffuse hair loss, various treatments can help after consultation with a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can diffuse hair loss be cured?

What to do about diffuse hair loss?

Does a hair transplant help with diffuse hair loss?



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