Thinning Hair? Here Are a Few Reasons. Plus: What to Do About it.
- Posted on: Jul 24 2016
Hair loss is one of the most emotionally-charged appearance issues anyone can experience. But while male hair loss is generally understood, and even expected, female hair loss rarely has just one straightforward cause. And considering how common it is – it will affect up to 60 percent of women at some point – it’s worth understanding how to tell the difference between a bad hair day and an underlying problem.
First, some hair loss is normal. Most people shed between 50- to 100- hairs a day. If you’re losing more than that, here are a few common causes to consider:
Your Hormones Are Shifting
Hormones play a central role in supporting hair growth, so it makes sense that hormonal dips or surges can wreak havoc on hair. If you’ve just experienced a major hormonal change – think childbirth or the onset of menopause – you might be seeing some thinning. That’s because the hormones that have been encouraging hair growth are in shorter supply. Another hormone-related reason your locks are lax could be hypothyroidism. Whatever the cause, if you suspect that your hair loss is dramatic, you should visit your doctor. Hormonal testing can help a professional determine if this is the underlying cause.
You’re Dieting, or Your Nutrition is Suffering
The adage that “you are what you eat” applies here too. Poor nutrition, or bad habits like excessive drinking or smoking that hinder your body’s ability to absorb and use important nutrients, will show up in your skin and hair. The same nutrients that support so many basic functions – like omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B, and protein – are essential for hair health. Short yourself on those and your hair will take the hit. And there’s some evidence to indicate that correcting your nutrition isn’t as simple as taking supplements to shore up those deficiencies. If a poor diet is to blame, excessive supplements can actually contribute to hair loss, according to a published study in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. Instead, start by overhauling your diet and introduce – but don’t depend on – a hair strengthening multivitamin with Biotin. A vitamin D deficiency can also be the root cause of hair loss. Routine vitamin screening by your dermatologist can uncover a deficiency.
It’s a Skin Issue
Most people don’t think of dermatology as something that relates to hair health, but the same issues that can cause problems like outbreaks and oily skin on your face, apply to your scalp. Dead skin cells or oil and product buildup can clog hair follicles just as easily as the pores on your nose, and that leads to an unhealthy growth environment. A hair follicle clogged with debris will produce weak, thin hair. Use a deep cleaning shampoo every few weeks to revitalize your scalp, and watch out for allergies. Allergic response to products – or commonly, black hair dye – is another skin issue that can go overlooked. If you use a lot of different products and notice hair thinning, it might be time to lay off the treatments and stick to a basic regime for a few months.
You’re Rough-Handling Your Hair
Years of frying your ends or dashing out the door in a ballerina bun will catch up with your hair a lot faster than you think. The average rate of growth is about half an inch a month for hair, so it doesn’t take long to damage what you’ve got. If you have a longer hair style, that means at least half of your hair is several months old or more. Applying daily heat, pulling your hair too tight, or regularly dying, bleaching or relaxing hair will break down the integrity of the hair strand, causing your locks to lose elasticity and take on a brittle appearance.
To combat hair loss and promote new hair growth, use a heat protectant and consider investing in a hair-plumping product system like ReGenesis (see our August promotion). NDDA also recommends a professional-strength hair vitamin called Viviscal. Ask your doctor which combination will give you the best result!
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