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When Hair Gets Thinner Towards The Root, or ‘Exclamation Mark’ Hair

exclamation mark hair hair loss autoimmune disorderKnown in the industry as ‘exclamation mark hair,’ strands of hair that get thinner further towards the root can be a sign of various things and are often found at sites of hair loss on the scalp. They should be investigated based on the fact that normal hair should have a uniform thickness from start to finish.

Autoimmune Causes

The first condition that this type of hair might be indicative of is alopecia areata. This autoimmune disease results in patchy hair loss on the scalp, and happens when follicles prematurely and suddenly enter the telogen, or resting phase of their cycle on account of the body attacking its own anagen hair follicles. Belgravia have found that high strength minoxidil cream can be very effective at treating alopecia areata, providing that the condition has not become too widespread.

Another hair loss causing autoimmune disorder that exclamation mark hair can be a symptom of is Lupus, a rare chronic disease characterised by inflammation of organ systems, due to antibodies being produced against one’s own cells and tissues. Sadly, it is unlikely that a medical hair loss treatment will work for Lupus. Other autoimmune disorders (or disorders that scientists believe could have an autoimmune cause) for which this type of hair thinning can be a symptom are vitiligo and ulcerative colitis.

Other Possibilities

Some other causes of exclamation mark hair that are easier to address include allergies. Visiting your GP if you believe that you have undiagnosed allergies is always a good idea in order to establish the best cause of treatment. The hair loss should cease once the allergy is being treated, and hair regrowth should begin in the proceeding months.

The type of hair loss treatment available to you depends on what is causing your hair loss. In men 95%  of hair loss cases are due to male pattern balding, a genetic condition that needs addressing via a comprehensive treatment programme in order to prevent baldness. However, for women, it’s more likely that other factors such as hormonal imbalance, stress and illness are the causes.

If you’re noticing exclamation mark hair and hair loss, a hair loss specialist would be able to advise you on the best course of action. For men, a hair loss treatment plan containing minoxidil as well as the DHT blocker Propecia is known to be highly effective.

For women, minoxidil is the only suitable medication for treating hair loss that has been licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA. Minoxidil can often be used whilst the cause of the hair loss itself is being determined. Belgravia patients not only benefit from diagnosis, information and advice, the medical-based home use treatment plans also contain an array of treatment boosters, ensuring that hair is kept in the best condition possible whilst you undergo treatment.

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When hair loss can be dangerous

Hair loss and thyroid conditions

The Belgravia Centre—————————————————————————————————–

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. We offer clinically proven treatments for hair loss, as part of comprehensive treatment programmes offered by our hair loss specialists. Our in-house pharmacies produce high-strength medications for hair loss that contain medically proven ingredients and are available at no other clinic worldwide. Treatment programmes are available by visiting the centres or for home-use, anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our hair loss success stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of hair regrowth that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 0800 077 6666 for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


6th March, 2018 at 12:04 am


Could thinning strands towards to root also be a sign of diffuse thinning?

6th March, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Jax, diffuse thinning causes hairs to fall out from all over the scalp, it does not cause any changes to the actual shape of the hairs. We hope this helps.

27th May, 2018 at 10:06 am


some of my shedded hairs are noticeably thinner toward the root, they get thinner around 6-10 cm from root. is that considered an exclamation mark hair? or do exclamation mark hairs get thinner in closer proximity to the root? also, could you please detail what sort of allergies can cause this? thank you

29th May, 2018 at 1:04 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Rachel, exclamation point hairs tend to thin in closer proximity to the scalp than what you describe. It is a key feature in diagnoses of autoimmune disorders which cause hair loss (Alopecia Areata) and, though allergies are known to trigger Alopecia Areata - hence their association with exclamation mark hairs - the specific allergies and causes are as yet unconfirmed. It is suspected that allergies to dust mites can cause the condition and, given Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease and people affected by one immune-related disorder are more likely to experience others, issues such as coeliac disease (autoimmune gluten intolerance), and atopic conditions including hayfever and asthma may also be present in people with Alopecia, however whether they are the actual cause remains unknown. This is an extremely active area of research so it is hoped that more will be known about the mechanisms of autoimmune alopecia in the future, but for now it remains a fairly enigmatic condition. However, it is worth noting that this hair shape has also been found in cases of trichotillomania so, whilst it is most commonly associated with Alopecia Areata, that is not the only form of hairloss it pertains to.

29th May, 2018 at 10:22 pm


Thank you for the informative answer Sarah. Do you know of any other reason/explenation to the shedding of hairs shaped as I described? Thanks again

30th May, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Sarah Belgravia

Hi Rachel, according to our specialists abnormalities of the hair shaft can occur in cases of stress where it places a strain on the body, notably where there are nutritional deficiencies or trauma. If the shedding is of concern, we would recommend having a consultation either in person at one of our City of London or Central London hair loss clinics, or by using our online consultation form. This is a free of charge, no-obligation service and may help to provide you with a diagnosis and treatment recommendations where applicable.

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