Women and men alike can both suffer from thinning hair. It can be embarrassing or distressing for some people, but there is no need to panic. There are many things that can cause it, some of which you can control.
If in doubt, we recommend contacting your doctor for a complete medical examination. It can be symptomatic of larger issues within your body and should not just be brushed aside.
What can cause hair thinning?
Vitamin deficiencies and a poor diet are the leading causes of hair thinning and loss. Your hair follicles are very metabolically demanding. This means that any kind of malnutrition in your diet will cause their functionality to decline.
In particular, undereating in terms of calories and protein can lead to thinning hair. In women, thinning hair is commonly caused by anemia (low iron levels). Vitamins B12 and D deficiencies have also been linked to hair loss.
The takeaway: eat better. ‘You are what you eat’ is a cliche for a reason and this applies to your hair.
As a bonus, there are foods you can use to help your hair other than eating them. The hair section is full of this advice but one of my favorites is using honey for your hair. Partly because the results are pretty quick, partly because I have a sweet tooth.
Stress of any kind has massive physical implications on your body. This could be as a result of burnout, accidents, medications, or just day-to-day life. Hair loss as a result of stress is known as acute telogen effluvium. This is seen in both men and women. It is often rectified by reducing and managing your stress levels.
Thyroid problems can also have an impact on your hair. Both overactive and underactive thyroids can lead to your hair thinning. This is because your thyroid gland regulates your hormone levels and a disruption in their production affects the hair follicle development.
This may also mean that if your hair falls out, your follicles cannot produce new hairs.
Aging and genetics also play a large role in hair thinning. In men, male pattern baldness is a common cause of hair loss. This is a genetic condition but can also be as a result of a DHT (dihydrotestosterone) over-sensitivity.
Female pattern hair loss is most commonly seen post-menopause. This is because the estrogen levels in their bodies have dropped, meaning that there is more free testosterone.
In younger women, hair loss is indicative of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Alopecia is a medical condition that causes your hair to thin and eventually causes complete hair loss. In post-menopausal women, the most common type is frontal fibrosing alopecia. This can be slowed and even halted with the use of correct medication.
If you have long hair, the way you are caring for it could be causing damage. If you regularly tie it up when wet this can really destroy individual strands.
When hair fibers are wet, they can stretch a lot further than normal. Tying your hair in a tight ponytail when wet puts too much strain on the fibers which can cause them to snap or pull out of your scalp.
We also recommend not washing your hair every day. This can cause the strands to become weaker and much more fragile. The hairs will dry out much faster than is healthy, and the strands will become brittle, eventually leading to hair loss.
How can I protect my hair?
We do not recommend tying it up too tightly if it is long enough to do so. Reduce the strain on your hair follicles by letting your hair hang down or by tying it up loosely.
It is also a good idea to regularly condition your hair. This helps it to remain hydrated, which in turn, increases its strength. You can also apply coconut oil liberally to your hair. This is believed to protect against UV light exposure.
We do not recommend using heat or chemicals on your hair too often. This causes irreversible damage to the fibers, making them more prone to breakage. If you do wish to use heat, we recommend applying a heat-protective spray to minimize the damage that is caused.
If you haven’t already got a routine in place, start hydrating your hair at home. Easy to do and it can have a great impact on your hair.
How can I make my hair thicker?
This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to improve the appearance of your hair is to get it cut frequently. For those people with longer hair, around every 6 weeks is a good frequency. This will remove any split ends and give your hair the appearance of being bouncy and fuller.
If you suspect malnutrition is the issue, you may want to consider incorporating some supplements into your diet. It is a good idea to ask your doctor for a blood test first, to see whether you are actually deficient in anything. Biotin, zinc, and niacin are some of the most important minerals for healthy hair growth.
Collagen is also a good thing to include in your diet for thicker, healthier hair.
You should not wash your hair too often if you want to prevent hair thinning. This helps to keep the natural oils in your hair which protect it against breakage. The more often that you wash your hair, the more oil your scalp will produce, making it appear greasier. We recommend washing it 1-2 times a week.
There are many different types of shampoo for hair thinning and hair loss available commercially. These are known as follicle stimulating shampoos and contain a peptide complex. This is believed to help strengthen the hair follicles and help with healthy hair growth.
It may also be worth switching to a shampoo that is free from parabens and sulfates. These dry out the hair and can lead to the development or worsening of skin problems.
You can also opt to use Rogaine as a topical lotion for your scalp. The primary ingredient in this is minoxidil, which is a vasodilator. This means that the size of the hair follicle will increase and helps to keep hair in the stage of active growth for a prolonged period.
Many people swear by aloe vera as a home hair regrowth treatment. It contains proteolytic enzymes, which help to break larger proteins into small polypeptides.
This helps to hydrate your scalp, heal damaged cells, and stimulate hair growth out of formerly dormant follicles.
Aloe vera also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.