Why is Your Hair Thinning, and What Can You Do About It?
Society has been asking, “How to stop hair from falling out and thinning?” for centuries.
Ancient Egyptians, for example, would rub balding heads with a mixture of donkey hooves, dog paws, and dates. All ingredients were ground together and fried in oil.
Another bizarre remedy took place in Ireland around 1000 A.D. The ancient Celtics told patients to put mice into a jar and bury it beside a fire for one year.
These ancient anecdotes for hair loss are entertaining, but what about modern times?
In today’s world, the emphasis on one’s appearance is magnified by social media, dating apps, and our culture’s general emphasis on looks.
It’s no wonder why a receding hairline can be a great source of distress for so many people.
In fact, hair loss can result in feelings of anxiousness, helplessness, and discomfort in public. In addition, according to several studies, those experiencing hair falling out can trigger depression and anxiety, and they might be left asking for answers.
Why is my hair thinning?
Some reasons for a depleting hairline might be:
Did you know that losing hair can start when someone is a teenager? Your hairline is affected by your family’s genes. So hair loss may become an issue for you if it runs in the family.
Losing hair doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go bald, but it could mean that your tresses will become finer, softer, and shorter.
Hair loss is not exclusive to a person’s sex — it can affect both men and women. However, it can signify that a person is experiencing emotional strain and stress.
According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), stress can cause hair follicles to enter a resting phase, meaning they don’t produce new strands of hair.
Our hormones greatly impact our lives by regulating our moods and other bodily functions, such as hair growth (or loss).
A hormonal imbalance from significant events such as childbirth, menopause, or thyroid issues may cause hair to thin.
According to Dr. Neil Spiegel of the Osteopathic Center for Healing in Washington DC, your hairline and energy levels will benefit if you restore balance to your hormones. First, however, ensure you consult a doctor or trusted health practitioner to create a suitable treatment plan.
As we age, our hair follicles slow down and may even stop producing new hair entirely.
But not all is lost. The quicker you notice a dwindling hairline and seek qualified medical help, the more likely the treatment will be effective.
- Styles and products
Sadly, you could be causing your hair to thin at a more rapid pace. For example, harsh styling products filled with chemicals (such as some gels and hairsprays) can cause your locks to lack. Certain products can even permanently damage your follicles, so choose with care.
Furthermore, harsh treatments like coloring or perming your hair can cause it to fall out.
Another possible reason is tight hairstyles, like buns and ponytails, causing tension on your head. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) notes that people who often wear tightly pulled hairstyles can develop hair loss.
Hair loss doesn’t make you weird
Remember, though, that some hair loss is natural. Generally speaking, we lose about 50-100 hairs every day.
But if losing hair becomes a significant problem, first know that you’re not alone.
The American Hair Loss Association (AHLA) explains that more than half of women experience balding, and by 50, approximately 85 percent of men begin balding.
How to stop hair from falling out and thinning? The first step in answering this question is knowledge. Empower yourself to better understand the signs.
How can you tell if your hair is thinning?
- Your hair feels lighter. Albeit a subtle difference, you may notice your hair feels less heavy, or your ponytail may even look smaller.
- Your scalp shows more. You might not see too much of your scalp with slight shedding, but pay attention if you start to see it peek through regularly.
- Your forehead shows more. For many, especially men, a receding hairline becomes noticeable because one’s forehead appears to be bigger, because more of it can be seen.
- Your pillowcase has hair on it. Pay attention to your pillowcase. If there is more hair on it than normal, you might be shedding.
How to stop my hair from falling out and thinning?
- Consult a professional. If you notice your hair thinning and it brings you discomfort or has increased, get in touch with a health practitioner to discuss options. One practical, convenient, and affordable resource is:
- Ravkoo MD: This is one of four wellness modules that we offer on our digital health app called ravkoo Health. Ravkoo MD is designed to give patients access to affordable, online medical services and patients can book a consultation with a licensed doctor to discuss hair loss, prevention, and get treatment from the privacy of their own home.
- Try one of the medical treatments available:
Speak with your doctor about possible prescription options for hair loss. Some medical treatments include:
- Spironolactone (Aldactone): This medication is occasionally prescribed for people losing hair.
- Finasteride (Propecia): This comes as a daily pill generally prescribed to men.
- Corticosteroids: Some doctors prescribe this to treat conditions linked to inflammation (inflammatory conditions are believed to cause some types of hair loss).
- Loosen up. Male or female, you may have long hair, and instead of wearing it in tight styles, make sure your hair’s roots aren’t being pulled. To reduce pulling:
- Wear looser braids, ponytails, and buns.
- Reduce time in hair extensions and weaves.
- Change hairstyles often.
If you wear cornrows or braids, the American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests that a person change the style every two to three months to allow the scalp time to recover.
Above all, remember that your hairstyle will hurt and feel uncomfortable if too tight.
- Take a multivitamin. The health of your hair is tied to your body’s overall wellness. For example, malnourishment caused by an eating disorder or inadequate nutrition can mean that follicles stop producing hair.
If this occurs, you might want a try a blood test, as it will likely help your doctor recognize if the cause of hair loss is connected to a nutrient deficiency. Food for thought: healthy hair needs folic acid, iron, and zinc to grow strong and thick.
However, avoid taking too many vitamins, as a surplus of certain nutrients can do more harm than good (and, as always, consult a physician).
- Take omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine (NIH), hair loss can be linked to inflammation.
The good news is that omega- 3 supports your body in reducing inflammation, while omega- 6 benefits your skin’s overall health, which may positively impact your scalp.
Omega-3 is found in some seeds and fish, and omega-6 is found in plant-based oils. If you don’t regularly eat such foods, ask a health professional for a recommended supplement.
- Use anti-thinning shampoo. Anti-thinning shampoo works in a couple of ways. First, such products provide volume, so your hair appears thicker. These anti-thinning products are particularly helpful for those with naturally thin hair.
Also, shampoos to combat a balding head often contain vitamins and amino acids that promote scalp health. Follow all directions and ask your doctor about a prescription-strength shampoo to get the best results.
- Try an over-the-counter treatment. Minoxidil is a common choice to promote hair growth as it’s easy to find and over-the-counter.
When applied to the scalp, minoxidil is meant to stimulate growth. However, it must be taken consistently and for an extended period for the best results. If you notice skin irritation, discontinue use immediately.
How to fix thinning Hair Using Home Remedies
- Gently rub your scalp. As you wash your hair, gently massage your scalp to encourage circulation in the area.
You can also try using a scalp massager to get rid of dead skin cells. But, again, be sure to be gentle as the crown is sensitive.
- Use essential oils. These oils are derived from plants, and they’re utilized in aromatherapy. Some oils believed to improve hair health are:
- Lavender essential oil: In one study, researchers found that this oil sped up hair growth in animals, but it has not been scientifically shown to do the same for humans.
- Peppermint essential oil: A study found that peppermint oil increased the number of follicles and overall hair growth when used on mice.
- Rosemary essential oil: According to one study, researchers found that rosemary essential oil performed comparably to minoxidil as a hair-growth treatment but with less scalp irritation and itching.
- Ylang ylang essential oil: Did you know that a lack of sebum can cause hair to become brittle and break more easily? To avoid brittle hair, try ylang ylang essential oil, as it can reduce hair breakage.
To use the above ingredients, combine a couple of drops with a carrier oil and apply to the scalp, but be sure to stop using if you feel or see irritation of any kind.
How to stop hair from falling out and thinning with food?
Eating a well-rounded diet can promote hair health. Try foods like eggs, berries, fish, and nuts for a healthier hairline.
The below foods may prevent hair thinning:
- Eggs- Eggs are an excellent source of nutrients that aid hair growth, such as protein and biotin. A lack of these vital nutrients has been linked to thinning hair.
- Berries- Packed with antioxidants and vitamins, berries may encourage hair growth. Strawberries, for instance, are rich in vitamin C, which aids in iron and collagen production, two factors that may stimulate hair growth and health.
- Spinach- A deficiency in vitamin A and C can result in thinning hair, but Spinach is loaded with hair-healthy nutrients (such as folate, iron, and vitamins A and C).
- Fatty fish- salmon, mackerel, and herring are fantastic sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair density.
- Nuts- Nuts boast an array of vitamins, zinc, and essential fatty acids, which may facilitate hair growth and improve overall health.
- Sweet peppers- Rich sources of vitamins A and C, sweet peppers help hair to be healthy and may assist growth.
- Oysters- This seafood offers plenty of zinc, which aids in boosting hair growth and the repair cycle.
What to do if you notice thinning hair?
In an article for Cleveland Clinic, Wilma Bergfeld, MD, notes that patients should keep track of unique events in their life. For instance, rapid weight loss or stress could be triggers related to hair falling out. If your doctor understands what’s happening in your life, they can better help you.
Our hair follicles are one of the fastest turning-over cell lines, says Bergfeld. So naturally, imbalances in your body will impact those systems. Simply put, shedding hair can signify that something’s out of whack.
Does hair grow back once it’s lost?
If your hair is thinning because it runs in your family, take action and review hair loss treatments to prevent further loss.
Secondly, if your hair is thinning due to a health issue, it may grow back once you heal.
Lastly, a decrease in hair caused by a stressful event should grow back after the stress subsides.
The takeaway: How to fix thinning hair
If your hair is thinning, it’s normal to feel alarmed or upset. After all, our hair can be a large part of our outward identity.
Help and information are available to assist you. However, if you’re experiencing hair thinning or hair loss for the first time, take the first step and book an appointment with a doctor to detect or rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Preventative care is always worthwhile, so be sure to eat well and take care of your hair’s health daily.