What Side Does Hair Loss Come From: Understanding Directional Thinning

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Hair loss patterns can provide clues about potential causes. While it typically begins slowly, paying attention to which areas of the scalp are first affected can help discern underlying triggers.

What side does hair loss come from?

Most forms of hair thinning begin symmetrically on the top of the scalp, either from the frontal hairline backward or evenly all over the top.

Male/female pattern hair loss

The most common cause of diffuse thinning, androgenetic alopecia impacts either sex and causes loss from the frontal hairline receding in men or diffuse thinning over the top and sides in women. This type emerges symmetrically on both sides of the scalp.

Telogen effluvium

Temporary shedding triggered by shocks to the body like childbirth, surgery, crash dieting or illness leads to simultaneous hair fallout uniformly over the entire scalp within 3 months of the inciting event.

Alopecia areata

An autoimmune disorder resulting in smooth, coin-sized bald patches can start on any area of the head, including behind the ears or back, and may spread to involve both or just one side over time.

Traction alopecia

Scarring hair loss along the hairline edges and sides of the scalp stems from tight hairstyles like braids, extensions or ponytails that excessively pull single hairs out symmetrically over the long term.

Other location-specific patterns

Rarer causes may begin unilaterally, such as central centrifugal scarring alopecia mostly impacting black women on the crown or trichotillomania, inducing irregular small bunches of hairs along the sides or back.

Onset asymmetrically on just one side usually points to a localized issue like a benign scalp cyst needing removal by a dermatologist.

Seeking evaluation and treatment

If concerned about non-symmetric thinning or rapid onset of small patches, having a physician examine the scalp helps identify if further diagnostics or prescription interventions may be warranted.

In general, hair loss emerging symmetrically along the hairline scalp edges or uniformly over the top is more likely following patterned genetic thinning trends.

Understanding where shedding originates from provides clues to discovering its root cause and addressing it appropriately for regrowth success.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.