Why is your hair thinning?
Your hair becomes thinner as you age, but you can take action to stop the thinning process.
Let's start with the facts. Whether you like it or not, hair loss is a reality experienced
by both men and women as we age. You might not have the hairline you had back when you were in your twenties, but you certainly have some tricks up your sleeves to halt the hair loss.
You may have heard that shedding between 50 to 100 hairs a day is considered
normal. However, if the quantity exceeds the average range, the medical term for
this is telogen effluvium. It occurs in men and women due to factors such as poor
nutrition, illness, and genetics. According to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up 40% of all hair loss sufferers.
As reported by the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million American women
experience hereditary hair loss compared to 50 million American men. Here are other reasons for hair loss with age:
Yo Yo dieting
Illnesses like the autoimmune disorder (alopecia areata)
Chemical treatments, hair dyes, styling tools
Genetic disposition - As reported by the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million American women experience hereditary hair loss compared to 50 million American men.
The terms hair loss and hair thinning may be used interchangeably. However, it is
essential to note that you may not be losing your hair but maybe experiencing
accelerated thinning. It means that your hair is still there, but it has become shorter,
thinner, and or to the point that the naked eye cannot see it. Ultimately,
some of these hairs just stop growing.
How to Deal with Hair Thinning?
You can salvage your thinning hair by getting rid of your bad (hair) habits and
adopting new (good) ones. According to dermatologists, the three areas you need to
work on include your hair cut, styling choices, and maintenance routine. Here's what
you can do to deal with your thinning hair:
Eat healthily: Foods like eggs, fatty fish, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, seeds, and nuts contain nutrients that are great for maintaining hair health. Make sure you incorporate them into your diet.
Supplements: You can also take FDA-approved supplements for better hair quality.
Hair Care: Shampoo your hair regularly but not every day. Shampooing keeps your scalp and hair clean, and therefore, healthy. It helps your hair grow at its best rate and prevents thinning. How often you should shampoo your hair varies from person to person, depending on your scalp's oiliness. Generally, most people should shampoo at least every other day to prevent the buildup of oils and pollutants on their scalp. This buildup can cause inflammation, which hinders hair growth and dandruff, that leads to itching, scratching, and consequently, hair breakage.
Trim frequently: If you think avoiding trimming your hair will help it grow longer, think again. It can damage your hair and lead to breakage so make sure to trim every 6 - 8 weeks. This practice – called dusting by stylists helps to keep your hair thick and healthy.
Consider Treatments: Did you know that there are two types of hair loss? They are called scarring and non-scarring hair loss. Scarring occurs due to long-term wearing of hair extensions, tight braids, or hair disorders, and the damage is irreversible. Non-scarring hair loss is treatable and occurs due to thyroid problems or low iron intake. The treatment options available for non-scarring hair loss include Minoxidil, prescription drugs, laser therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment and hair transplants.
Start with a healthy breakfast: It may surprise you to hear that a healthy breakfast is essential for maintaining healthy hair. What you eat at breakfast is used to fuel your body's vital systems. If you skip your breakfast or don't eat enough nutrients, your hair system does not get the nutrition it needs. As a result, your hair loses its quality and becomes weak and damaged
Aggressive shampooing: If you have brittle or dry hair, shampooing too often can cause hair breakage, especially if your shampoo has a drying effect. If your hair is weak, dry, or brittle, you should use a moisturizing shampoo with a good conditioner to avoid hair breakage that can cause thinning hair.
Brushing vigorously: The secret to having healthy hair is to be gentle with it. It starts with brushing it gently. So, the next time you comb your hair, try to detangle it with a wide-tooth comb and be extra gentle when it is wet because it is more vulnerable to breakage. Don't brush your hair excessively; always start at the bottom and slowly make your way upward when brushing and try to pull on your hair as less as possible. Selecting the right hairbrush is essential because you use it daily, which means thata wrong choice can cause severe damage. Contrary to popular belief, the famous boar-bristle brushes are not the most hair-friendly option. The metal brushes are also not recommended because they can get too heated up during styling. The best option is a brush with rounded plastic prongs with preferably a plastic base with a vent.
Excessive heat: Too much heat can be harsh for your hair and lead to hair breakage and weakening your scalp. It can cause damage to the cuticle on the hair's outermost layer. So, don't overuse styling tools like curling irons, flat irons, hot rollers, and hair dryers, and avoid keeping them at the hottest setting.
Pulling hair tightly: Tying your hair in braids, buns and ponytails may damage hair. The tight pull can harm your hair follicle and lead to traction alopecia. In this condition, you get scarring and thinning at the hairline. You should use hair-friendly clips or ties such as soft scrunchies and keep alternating between different styles so that you avoid pulling the same sections of your hair. It would help if you also got haircuts covering up the areas where your hair is thinning the most.
Over-bleaching: Using a high-lift hair color can make your hair fiber plumper and fuller, but bleaching damages the cuticle of your hair. It makes your hair susceptible to breakage and thinning. Avoid bleaching your hair or try to do it less often.
Styling Products: Some hair styling products can be very harsh for your hair. Hair gels or sprays contain alcohol, which leaves your hair dry and brittle. Several straightening products may scar your hair follicles and lead to hair loss. If these products are not removed properly from your hair, their residue can make your hair fall out or break while brushing your hair.
Playing with your hair: Some people have a habit of scratching their head, twirling their hair around their fingers, or pulling at their hair when they are angry or nervous. These habits can lead to hair loss in the long run.
Smoking: Research suggests a link between smoking and poor hair health. Smoking causes low blood circulation to your extremities, including your scalp, which affects hair follicle's growth.
Sun protection: Even a lack of sun protection or too much sunlight can harm your hair cuticle and fiber, making it more vulnerable to breakage. .
If your hair is getting thinner, your body might be trying to tell you something about your health. Managing stress, balancing hormones, maintaining a healthy diet, taking appropriate supplements and implementing healthy hair care might make a difference in your hair. As you age, think about what your hair is telling you about your overall health.