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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Possible Causes of Hair Loss

August 2021 | Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Hair loss can occur for many reasons. Some of these may include: 

  • Age is a common cause not only for men but for women, too.

  • Alopecia is an autoimmune condition (condition in which the body's immune system attacks another site in the body) that is more common in people with Down syndrome. A brief description of alopecia is available in our Resource Library. Additional therapies (not mentioned in the brief description) that are being studied include immunotherapy medications. A study at the University of Colorado opens in new window is researching these medications in people with Down syndrome.

  • Nutritional deficiencies such as iron, biotin, zinc, or protein.

  • Hairstyles that pull on the hair too tightly.

  • Fungal infections.

  • Thyroid disease, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

  • Elevated androgens (a type of hormone that is found in men and women).

  • Toxic substances such as chemotherapy and some other medications.

  • Trichotillomania, hair loss from repeated urges to pull or twist the hair until it breaks off. 

  • Stress


The Cleveland Clinic opens in new window and the American Academy of Dermatology opens in new window both have nice summaries of causes of hair loss. We recommend an evaluation by a primary care provider or dermatologist to review the possible causes and develop a plan of treatment for hair loss.

Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

View Resource Library


Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.