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

Dry Hair and Natural Hair

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

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.

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

  • 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. 

Written by Christina Bowler

We're a team of hair care enthusiast that have been in this industry for a very long time. Since 2019 we've been writing helpful articles to help you find the right tips, tricks, and products that you might want. Feel free to ask us questions on the contact page.

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