Before you can know how to best address the issue of hair loss, you need to know if you’re actually experiencing it. From the moment you suspect something amiss, it is a good idea to keep watch for certain signs and symptoms. Major ones are as follows:

Gradual thinning of hair at the top “ This is the type of hair loss that occurs most often. With men, hair typically starts to recede from the forehead in a line pattern that looks like the letter “m”. Women usually keep their hairline but experience a widening of their part on their head.

Patchy or circular bald areas “ Another sign is the appearance of coin-sized bald spots. This form of hair loss typically only occurs on the scalp, but may also become apparent in eyebrows and beards. In certain situations, one skin may feel itchy prior to the hair falling out.

Hair suddenly loosening “ This is the sign that people are most likely to notice first. While combing their hair over the sink, washing it in the shower, or just tugging on it, they may notice more strands falling out than usual “ even coming out in small clumps. While it usually just happens during a normal routine, the situation may also be caused by an emotional or physical shock. It usually leads to hair thinning rather than bald patches.

Total-body hair loss “ Certain medical treatments (for example, chemotherapy for cancer) can result on full-body hair loss, although sufferers are usually prepared in advance, and the hair typically returns.

If you think what you see is cause for deep concern “ particularly if the thinning or baldness is sudden and/or abundant “ you may want to see your doctor, as it may be a sign of an underlying medical issue. But as you will see further on in this book, for benign, naturally-occurring forms of hair loss, medical treatment is just one of many options you may use to confront the problem. Before we get to that, we take a look at top causes of this issue.