Is Dry Hair a Sign of Hair Loss?

girl with dry hair

Thinning hair or hair loss can be a concern for many people, but especially for women. A man can shave his head, and it can be considered just another style while a bald woman is not something we typically see, not without assuming she is sick. Knowing what dry hair means and whether it is a sign of hair loss can be a major concern for many women. 

Is dry hair a sign of hair loss? In short, yes, dry hair can be a sign of hair loss, but that is not the simple answer. Dry hair does not lead to hair loss; neither does your hair being naturally more dry mean you will experience hair loss. That said, hair does tend to dry out before it falls out, no matter the cause of the hair falling out. 

Between hairstyles and chemicals, hot hair styling tools, and certain medications, there can be a number of reasons that someone can experience hair loss.

I want to go over why dry hair can mean hair loss and some of the circumstances that can lead to it. I also want to go over some of the most common reasons that we lose out hair as well. 

Dry Hair and Natural Hair Loss

On average, humans lose about 120 hairs per day. This is normal and can be confused with hair loss, but it is not the same thing. Like most things in nature, we shed and regrow, in our case, and that of many mammals, it is our hair that is shed and regrown.

We see this quite often in our pets. Dogs and cats will typically shed twice a year, and though annoying, it is normal. 

Humans go through the same thing where we shed our dead hair and regrow more. It may feel a little disconcerting to brush your hair when you get up and realize that there is a lot of hair collected there, but this is just how nature works.

We see something similar with plants in nature as well, most notably in trees. Their leaves die, shed and regrow in a new season. 

When hair dies, whether human or canine, the hair will dry out before it falls out. It may not seem as obvious in dogs simply because we are not as vain about their appearance as we are our own and that is not said to be mean either, it is simply a fact.

We care about our appearance, which means we pay more attention to it. Compared to a dog, yes, we are vain creatures. 

Does this mean that dry hair is the cause of hair loss? No, it is just part of the process as the hair follicles die, the individual strand will dry out, then fall out.

This process can be caused by some of our behaviors, but that does not mean that you are suffering from hair loss, nor does it mean that you are going bald. 

hair breakage

Hair Routines Dry Out Your Hair

Chemicals like hair dye and perms can obviously dry out our hair, and this is a known and common side effect of these types of salon treatments. It is so common that shampoos and conditioners are all part of the hair care line to treat this type of hair damage. 

What many people may not realize is that by using a little hair spray every day or curling your hair with a curling iron can also damage your hair in the same way that many salon treatments can.

Most hair spray contains alcohol (which can make it flammable as well), which can dry out skin and hair. This can also lead to a dry scalp and dandruff if care is not taken. 

The heat from blow dryers and especially from curling irons can also dry the hair and can cause brittle hair or even hair loss, in extreme instances.

As heat is applied, it can cause more and more of the hair shaft to become fragile enough that a little tugging can break it. This tugging, in the form or brushing your hair, can lead to a thinning of the hair. 

How to Tell if Your Hair is Damaged

When your hair routines are causing hair loss or dry hair, one of the best ways to treat it is to give it a little TLC and give it a break.

If you can manage to just throw your hair into a braid or a loose bun on the weekends, this will help to mitigate the damage. As will going a few days without washing it. This gives the hair time to absorb the natural protective oils. 

  • Dullness

Your hair can always look dull because of too much sun or other environmental exposure.
Try to use some conditioner to smooth and soften out your hair.

  • Breakage

If you notice that your hair is going through a rough breakage try to switch your products or get some treatment. Most of the time you can see that your hair is very dry it needs natural oils.

  • Texture

If you ever run your fingers through your hair and notice some bubbles it could mean that your hair is damaged.  While you can do protein treatments to temporarily fill in those gaps its not always a good move.

  • Split Ends

If you notice that right after a trim, your ends start to split it could be that your hair is pretty fragile and not as healthy.  Generally speaking on average people notice that after 1 or 2 months their will start split.

However, if your hair is weak you’ll notice it way faster and should take action to fix it. If you have really healthy hair you should be getting around 2 or 3 cuts a year.

Medical Treatments

Various medical treatments or medications can have a side effect of causing either dry hair or even hair loss. While this may not be a common side effect with most medications, it is a possibility with some of them. Some of them may even surprise you. 

According to the site Good RX, there are a number of medications that can cause hair loss as a side effect. I have included a few of them here, but a more expansive list of common medications can be found on their site. 


Probably one of the most commonly known medical treatments that can result in hair loss is cancer treatments, more specifically, chemotherapy. This is due to the medication attacking the cells in the human body, and hair follicles are typically an unintended target of the medication. Usually, once treatment is complete, the hair will grow back. 

Cholesterol Medication

While most people associate both high cholesterol and hair loss are inevitabilities of growing older, they may have a connection, depending on what medication you are taking. If you are taking a medication known as a “statin,” then you may also be experiencing hair loss as a result of the medication, not due to your age, and this can be a concern for some people. 

The medications Lipitor and Zocor are both known to have hair loss as a side effect of the medication. The good news is that a third medication, Crestor, does not list hair loss as a side effect, and you can take to your doctor about a change if hair loss is being caused by your medication. Only your doctor can determine if changing your medication is right for you. 

Acne Medication

Certain acne medications can also cause hair loss as well, which can be more of a concern for teens than for the older generation as teens are typically a victim more often than older adults. Two different acne medications are known to have hair loss as a side effects are Absorica and Accutane. 

Hair loss, unfortunately, is a pretty common and well-known side effect of these medications, and you should not have to choose between having pimples and hair or clear skin without hair. If you suffer from hair loss while taking these medications, maybe a trip to your dermatologist might be an option to consider rather than losing hair at a young age. 

Blood Pressure Medication

Certain blood pressure medication can also cause hair loss. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure and experiencing hair loss, then taking a look at your medication may be able to save your hair while also maintaining your lower blood pressure. 

A class of medications known as ACE inhibitors are the guilty party in this case. Examples of these types of meds are captopril and lisinopril. While both are known to have a side effect of hair loss, it is a small risk affecting approximately about 1 in 100 patients being treated with the medications. 

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