Your hair is thinning and you don’t know why. Naturally, you’re worried and eager to find out what’s causing the problem. It could be any number of reasons, and here we look at the most common causes of hair thinning in both women and men.
Which one you’ve got?
- Your diet
We all know the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet. Thinning hair is often a sign of protein malnutrition, biotin and niacin deficiency or lack of vitamin B12 and other minerals. If your body doesn’t get the minerals it needs from your diet, it diverts the minerals to support areas of the body that are essential for staying alive. That’s not your hair, which will go without much of the nourishment it needs.
- Your lifestyle
Experiencing a lot of stress? If so, your body will be releasing a lot of the hormone cortisol. If your stressful state is frequent or long lasting, your body prioritises the organs that are essential for life. Growing your hair comes low down on your body’s list, hence the thinning.
- Your genes
There’s a chance your hair thinning is hereditary. The reduction in the volume of your hair might ‘run in your family’ or be ‘in your genes’. This means some of your hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones which cause them to shrink, thereby producing shorter, finer hairs with each growth cycle.
- You’ve lost a lot weight quickly
Diets can cause you to lose more than just weight. If you shed 9kg or more in a short space of time, your body will click into stress mode. This triggers a process called telogen effluvium which sees your body go all-out to preserve itself. The result being your life-saving bodily functions get preference, leading to things like hair growth slowing down or stopping, resulting in thinning hair.
- You’re using too many treatments
Let’s start with perhaps the most common cause of thinning hair. All those dyes and perms, colour treatments and relaxers take their toll on your hair over time. Too much heat styling can cause thinning hair too, as the heat takes the moisture out of your hair, making each follicle easier to break.
- Your use of hair products
Ultra hold sprays and extreme hold gels burden your hair strands with extra weight, placing more stress on your follicles. They also coat the hair in chemicals that can impede the hair’s ability to grow.
- You’re blow drying too often
This not only causes loss of moisture, it also damages your scalp, especially if the dryer is aimed at the roots. The resulting follicle damage will affect the thickness of the hair that grows out of it.
- You’ve stopped taking birth control pills
Thinning hair can be down to differences in hormonal levels. When you stop taking contraceptive pills, hairs that should have fallen out but didn’t while taking the pills will finally fall away. The thinning is likely to be most noticeable across the top of your scalp.
- You’ve just had a baby
Pregnant women have high levels of oestrogen, so tend to lose less hair. But after they give birth, these levels return to normal which can cause post-natal hair loss. That’s because hairs that should have been lost during pregnancy leave the follicles at the same time.
- You’re having autoimmune disease treatment
Your treatment is likely to include corticosteroids which affect hormones that control hair growth. Perhaps you’re getting treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels). Whenever there’s a problem with your immune system, your body switches its focus to those organs that are essential for life. Meaning less blood supply, nutrients and minerals for your hair.
- You have a skin problem or infection
Many skin infections cause an uplift in the production of sebum which can inflame the scalp. This leads to itching. Scratching to relieve symptoms damages hair follicles, stopping hair from growing naturally, causing it to thin out.
- You’re experiencing hormonal changes
Hormonal changes based on oestrogen, androgen, and thyroid levels can all cause your hair to thin. And for women, menopause creates a low oestrogen state that can thin the hair follicles, giving the appearance of overall hair loss.
Thinning hair is sometimes confused with alopecia (hair loss), though the two can be linked, they are not necessarily the same thing. Alopecia can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. Along with genetic hair loss there are a range of other alopecia conditions affecting men and women.
With so many different potential causes to thinning hair, it’s easy to see why the condition is so widespread. It’s important to know you’re not alone. Plenty of people have thinning hair at any one time. If you lose an excessive amount of hair every day for three months or longer, it’s worth getting checked out.
Usually, hair thinning isn’t a condition that can be remedied by one solution alone. You’re likely to be advised to make changes to your overall health, focusing on your diet and scalp health. Vitamin and mineral supplements could also help, like Help Hair™ Protein Shake.
Whatever remedies you use, it’s important to remember that you won’t see an improvement in the thickness of your hair for at least six weeks, because of the hair growth cycle.
Overall, the advice if you’re noticing thinning hair is don’t get stressed, stay patient, get some help and make some lifestyle changes.