Why is My Leg Hair Falling Out?
When people think of hair loss known as alopecia, they are likely thinking of losing strands of hair from their heads. This type of hair loss can be the most noticeable, but you can lose hair from any part of your body including your legs.
Hair loss often occurs with age in both men and women. However, if you find that you are losing a lot of hair on your legs, or if it happens suddenly, it can happen after seeing your doctor.
Causes of Hair Loss
Hair loss occurs when individual hairs separate from the follicles and the follicles fail to produce new hair.
As you get older, the hair on your feet can become thinner. This is especially true if your family has stopped shedding hair.
Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that is hereditary. With alopecia areata, your immune system attacks its own cells that contribute to hair growth. Alopecia arthritis usually affects the scalp between the patches. Alopecia Universalis is a condition in which the hair follicles are damaged. Anterolateral leg alopecia refers to the hair loss on your legs that occurs primarily in the front and outside.
Leg hair loss can be related to the following symptoms and conditions:
- Poor performance
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Diabetes, a risk factor for PAD
- Chronic rash from eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions
- Thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism
- Fungal infections
- Glandular infections of the hair
- Severe folliculitis
- Hormonal changes such as during pregnancy and menopause
Other possible causes of hair loss in your legs include:
- Malnutrition like iron, zinc and vitamin D.
- Steroid use
- High pressure
- Wear tight pants or socks
- Prescription drugs such as blood thinners
- Recent illness or major surgery
The causes of leg hair loss are numerous. If an underlying condition is causing hair loss in your legs, it is likely that it is causing hair loss in other parts of your body as well. Some exceptions are leg-specific conditions such as PAD on your feet or friction from the clothes you are wearing.
Leg hair loss in men and women
Leg hair loss can occur in both men and women. However, it is believed that anterolateral leg alopecia is more common in men. One study estimated that around 35 percent of older men have this trustworthy condition. Doctors aren’t sure about the exact causes and treatments for anthrax leg alopecia. Like other types of alopecia, it appears to be hereditary.
The exact cause of foot hair loss should be determined by your doctor. They will review your treatment history and do a blood test to see if the hair loss is due to malnutrition, low thyroid hormones, or other medical conditions.
Since most causes of leg hair loss are not isolated from your legs, your doctor will check for signs of hair loss in other parts of your body as well. You can even check for possible signs of rashes, infections, and skin conditions that can damage the hair on your feet.
Depending on the suspicious cause, your doctor may also refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in skin and hair conditions.
If your doctor suspects PAD, they may also check some risk factors, such as:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Treatment to reduce foot hair depends on the underlying cause. It can take several weeks for the hair to return.
Here are some possible treatments for hair loss on your feet:
Supplementary or dietary adjustment in the event of nutritional deficits
Corticosteroid injections for inflammation
Prescription Finasteride (alopecia) for alopecia areata
Hormone replacement treatment such as levothyroxine (Synthroid) for hypothyroidism
You should only use hair loss drug treatments, such as minoxidil (Rogain), if your doctor recommends it. It won’t work for your feet and it can make any of these underlying symptoms worse.
When should you see your doctor?
Chronic conditions can cause foot hair loss, but some of the underlying causes may require immediate medical attention. Contact your doctor now if you suddenly experience hair loss with the following symptoms:
- The rash
- Severe inflammation
- Skin that is cool to the touch
- Muscle damage
Hair loss is a complex disease. The low incidence of hair loss in your legs is temporarily related to stress, life changes, and other acute conditions. However, if the hair loss on your feet is large and chronic, it can happen at the time of your visit to the doctor.
What Causes Hair to Stop Growing on Legs?
Hair loss is often a normal and expected part of aging. As we age, hair naturally becomes thinner, and hormonal changes and genetic influences can damage hair, especially in men. However, the aging process does not explain excessive or abnormal hair loss; it is also known as alopecia. If the hair loss is specific to a particular area of the body – such as: B. the legs – a bad cause is a common cause. However, other known causes of illness, aion, gland damage, and friction are sometimes unknown. Contact your doctor for a new or sudden assessment of hair loss.
Friction and scars
Friction from jeans, tight socks, or even tight bike shorts can cause hair to fall out. Friction can inhibit hair growth over time or break the hair follicles near the skin. In this case, once the damage has stopped, the hair will be rearranged. Also, no hairs grow on the scar tissue. Burns, blemishes, or persistent eczema or cracked skin can damage the hair follicles and in that case prevent hair growth.
A common cause of hair loss in the legs is peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is caused by plaque build-up and narrowing of the blood vessels in the legs and arteries. Hair loss is due to the fact that the obstructed blood supply cannot provide the best nutrients for hair growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12 to 20 percent of adults over the age of 60 have PAD, a common condition among smokers and people with diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Other physical symptoms of PAD include smooth, glowing skin and cool skin temperature.
In the April-June 2014 issue of the International Journal of Trichology, anterolateral leg alopecia, the harmful cause of hair loss in the lower leg, is common in middle-aged and older men. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes round patches of hair loss, often up to a quarter the size, that can appear anywhere on the body. A more serious but rarer form of this condition, alopecia universalis, causes hair loss all over the body.
Some other diseases can stop hair growth, although this hair loss is not specific to most feet. For example, severe malnutrition caused by a thyroid or eating disorder can damage hair all over the body.
Some medications reduce hair loss and prevent hair growth – symptoms that usually go away when you stop taking the medication. Chemotherapy drugs target fast-growing cancer cells, and since hair cells also grow quickly, they can also fall victim to these drugs. People with cancer can lose not only the hair on their head, but also the hair on their eyebrows, eyelashes, and other parts of the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, other drugs that can cause hair loss anywhere include birth control pills, blood thinners, anabolic steroids, high doses of vitamin A, and drugs for high blood pressure, depression, gout, and heart problems.
Contact your doctor if you are experiencing rapid or significant hair loss. Sometimes hair loss does not require treatment, and once the cause is identified, hair can return in time. If your hair loss is due to poor performance or an illness, treating those conditions is a priority. Contact your doctor if your hair loss is associated with pain, itching, redness, or other unusual symptoms.
What causes hair loss on the legs?
The term hair loss treatment is alopecia and can affect any part of the body, including the legs.
Leg hair loss is also known as anterolateral leg alopecia. This is because it is visible on the front (anterior) and underside (side) of the lower legs. Another name for it is peronal alopecia.
Many people with alopecia areata don’t realize they have it. There should be nothing to worry about unless there are other symptoms.
However, some people may experience symptoms in addition to hair loss. This can sometimes indicate an underlying health condition that requires medical attention.
Read on to learn more about the various causes of hair loss on the legs, as well as how to treat this type of hair loss.
Hair loss in the legs can be caused by a number of specific factors, including some health problems. The following sections explain these possible causes in more detail.
Hair loss, which occurs as a side effect of medication, is known as drug-induced alopecia. This type of hair loss usually affects the scalp. However, it can affect other parts of the body, including the legs.
A 2014 study found that 42% of participants reported hair loss on their hands and feet after using the antifungal drug voriconazole. In most people, this hair grows back after they stop taking the medication.
Other drugs that can damage hair loss include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Those who are treated with thyroid problems
- Beta blockers
- Cholesterol lowering drugs
Alopecia areata is a self-defense system in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. It often develops on the scalp, but can cause hair to fall out anywhere, including the legs.
The disease affects approximately 8.6 million people in the United States, according to the National Alopecia Areas Foundation.
Scientists have not yet identified the exact cause of alopecia, but there appears to be a genetic factor.
Coronary heart desease
The legs may have a link between coronary artery disease (CHD) and alopecia. For example, a 2018 study found that men with CHD were more likely to experience hair loss if they didn’t have legs.
Men with CHD also began to lose leg hair earlier than men without CHD.
Some of the other possible symptoms of CHD are:
- Chest pain or angina
- Shortness of breath
- Light head
Diabetes can also damage the hair on the feet.
Over time, diabetic damage to blood vessels can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD). With PAD, a deposit of fat called plaque forms in the blood vessels in the foot. It disrupts blood circulation and leads to hair growth.
Other possible symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme fatigue
- Slow wound healing
- Garbage, pain, or numbness in your hands or feet
The thyroid plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of hair follicles. An abnormal thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can affect the normal cycle of hair growth. This can cause hair to fall out very quickly.
Hair usually flows from the scalp, but it can flow from other areas of the body, including the legs.
Although rare, some antithyroid drugs – such as carbamazepine and propyluracil – can also cause hair loss.
Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- Dry skin
- Memory problems
Some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:
- sleep disorders
- Racing heart
- Increased sweating
- Other possible causes
Some of the additional causes of hair loss are:
- Friction from thick clothing
- Infected hair follicles or folliculitis
- Malnutrition such as iron or zinc deficiency
- Hormonal changes occur due to pregnancy or menopause
- Recent illness or major surgery
Anterolateral leg alopecia is more common in men than women.
In fact, as the author of the 2014 case study notes, anterolateral leg alopecia can affect around 35% of men. Most men with this condition are middle-aged or older.
Anyone dealing with hair loss can see a doctor or dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin, hair, and nail care.
To diagnose the cause, a doctor or dermatologist will do the following:
- Make a full treatment history, paying special attention to how quickly the hair began to fall out and how long it lasted
- Examine the person’s skin, paying particular attention to other cases of foot and hair loss
- Examine the person’s hair for signs of breakage and other damage
If necessary, order a blood test
In treating hair loss on the legs, the first step is to identify the cause.
If the hair loss is damaged by the treatment, the doctor will treat the condition. If hair loss is damaged as a side effect of a particular drug, the doctor may reduce the dose or change the drug. In both cases, the hair begins to grow back after about 6 months.
Sometimes the hair loss is not accompanied by other symptoms. In this case, treatment is only needed if the person is concerned about hair loss.
It’s also worth noting that standard hair loss treatments don’t seem effective at treating hair loss on the legs.
Many people may even feel hair loss on their feet without realizing it. If there are no other symptoms, it is less likely to cause anxiety.
However, hair loss along with other symptoms can often be a sign of more serious health problems. Some of the conditions that can damage this hair type are thyroid problems, heart disease, and diabetes.
If people are concerned about hair loss, they should see a doctor. The doctor will work to diagnose and treat the problem.