Medical News Today: What causes hair loss on the legs?

Certain factors, including some health conditions, can cause hair loss on the legs. The sections below discuss these potential causes in more detail.


a man feeling his leg to check for hair loss. Share on Pinterest
Certain medications may be the cause of hair loss on the legs.

Hair loss that 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 also affect other parts of the body, including the legs.

One 2014 study found that 42% of participants reported hair loss on their arms and legs after using the antifungal medication voriconazole. For most people, this hair grew back after they stopped taking the medication.

Other medications that might cause hair loss include:


Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. It most often develops on the scalp, but it can cause hair loss anywhere, including on the legs.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, the condition affects around 6.8 million people in the United States.

Scientists have not yet identified the exact cause of alopecia, but there does seem to be a genetic component.

Coronary heart disease

There may be a link between coronary heart disease (CHD) and alopecia on the legs. For example, one 2018 study found that hair loss on the legs was more common in men with CHD than in those without.

Men with CHD also started losing leg hair at an earlier age than men without CHD.

Some other potential symptoms of CHD include:

  • chest pain or angina
  • breathlessness
  • lightheadedness


Diabetes can also cause hair loss on the legs.

Over time, diabetes-related damage to the blood vessels can result in peripheral artery disease (PAD). In PAD, a fatty deposit called plaque builds up in the blood vessels inside the legs. This interferes with blood flow and, consequently, hair growth.

Other potential symptoms of diabetes include:

  • frequent urination
  • excessive thirst
  • extreme fatigue
  • slower wound healing
  • tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet

Thyroid problems

The thyroid gland plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of hair follicles. Having an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can affect the normal cycle of hair growth. This can result in hairs shedding too early.

Hairs commonly shed from the scalp, but they may also shed from other areas of the body, including the legs.

Though rare, some antithyroid medications — such as carbimazole and propylthiouracil — can also cause hair loss.

Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • racing heart
  • increased sweating
  • anxiety
  • tremors

Other potential causes

Some additional causes of hair loss on the legs include:

  • friction due to wearing tight clothing
  • infected hair follicles, or folliculitis
  • nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of iron or zinc
  • hormone changes due to pregnancy or menopause
  • recent illness or major surgery

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