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Resources

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 can be found in our Resource Library at this link. Additional therapies (not mentioned in the brief description) that are being studied include immunotherapy medications. A study at the University of Colorado 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.

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

  • Toxic substances such as chemotherapy and some other medications.

  • Trichotillomania is hair loss from repeated urges to pull or twist the hair until it breaks off. More information can be found at this link.

The Cleveland Clinic and the American Academy of Dermatology 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.

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.

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