Thinning hair is an issue that’s faced by both men and women. In fact, according to the American Hair Loss Association, approximately 40% of hair loss experiences are incurred by women. Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat hair thinning. Check out the facts and ideas below if you want to learn exactly what causes your hair to thin and how to deal with this problem.
Unlike serious hair loss, hair thinning is much more gradual and usually does not result in complete baldness. While serious hair loss usually ends up with at least some exposed patches, thinning hair usually means hair remains all over the head, but there is less texture to the point where the scalp looks exposed beneath.
Causes of Thinning Hair
Like many medical conditions, thinning hair can be caused by a variety of factors. First, the myths:
- Hair loss is caused by shampoo.
- Hair loss is caused by age.
- You will definitely lose your hair if your mom or dad did.
All three of these reasons are often given out to explain hair loss, but they are far from being true. More often than not, these myths are generated by companies that want to sell an ineffective hair growth product, or by well-meaning older generations and/or misinformed individuals. We now know much more about what causes hair thinning, and it often has nothing to do with what we suspect.
The Genetics Game
If you find yourself asking, “Why is my hair thinning?” – don’t immediately blame your parents. Just because your mom or dad experienced hair loss doesn’t mean you will. However, it does seem to up your chances. Researches show that developing thin hair actually does have something to do with genetics. While you will not have guaranteed hair loss if your parents did, you will be genetically predisposed to it and have a stronger likelihood of thinning as early as your late teens or as delayed as your 40s or 50s.
Medications and Hair Thinning
Certain medications can cause hair to thin. For women, sometimes the hormones found in birth control pills can affect hair texture. If your hair is changing and you suspect your birth control, consult a doctor to see if you are sensitive to androgens. If your birth control contains a high amount of progesterone, you can be switched to a pill that doesn’t contain hair-loss triggering progestins.
The Stress Factor
Yes, it is true that hair loss can be caused by stress. However, it’s much harder to reach that point of distress than you may think. Hair loss from stress usually comes from physical strains like childbirth, menopause or prolonged, severe illnesses – so there’s likely not much you can do if you want to know how to stop thinning hair through stress reduction. On the bright side, you don’t need to worry about your morning commute causing hair loss.
Other Potential Reasons for Hair Loss
While not as common, hair can also thin due to the following:
- An excess of Vitamin A
- Lack of protein
- Autoimmune disorders
- Dramatic weight loss
- Over-processing your hair
Thinning Hair Treatments and Remedies
While nothing is a sure fix, there are some remedies and treatments available to try.
Vitamins and Natural Remedies for Thinning Hair
Vitamins and supplements are popular for a variety of physical issues, and hair loss is no exception. Here’s a basic list of vitamins and supplements touted as hair growth wonder drugs, and their actual proven clinical effectiveness:
- Apple – insufficient evidence
- Atlantic cedar – potentially effective
- Beta-sitisterol – insufficient evidence
- Biotin – insufficient evidence
- Coenxyme Q-10 – insufficient evidence
- Garlic – insufficient evidence
- Lavender – potentially effective
- Zinc – ineffective
Thus, vitamins for thinning hair aren’t always the best idea and might just be a money waster.
Thin Hair Medication
A lot of people experience hair loss and desire to seek out a medication that can help. One of the most common is Minoxidil that you may recognize by its more popular name – Rogaine. No prescription is needed for this and Minoxidil 5% is safe for women. The downside? It doesn’t work for everyone. About forty perfect of individuals (both men and women) experience new hair growth, while another forty percent find it works well to prevent future hair loss. Still, another 10-20% will not yield any effect at all.
Proscar and Aldactone can also sometimes be used. Thinning hair remedies are plentiful, and while drugs may be an option, for many it just isn’t very effective.
While surgery may seem like a quick and effective fix to thin hair, it definitely is something that requires thorough consideration. Hair transplant surgery involves removing strips of hair from the nape of the head and placing them in sections with thin to no hair. This can be a daunting task depending upon how much natural hair you have remaining, and can also be expensive. Recovery can also be a bit trying, as soreness and pain often occurs. If you would like to consider surgery as an option, make an appointment with a hair loss specialist to discuss options and cost. As one of the more pricey treatments, it is also one of the most effective treatments of hair loss if the benefits outweigh the risks for you.
The Best Products for Thinning Hair
Just like supplements, there is no magic bullet when it comes to the best shampoo for thinning hair, However, there are products you can try. These are all sold at beauty supply shops or online, and include shampoo, conditioner, keratin treatments and body building creams.
Home Remedies for Thinning Hair
There is a wide variety of home remedies that have been around for generations. Even men and women who aren’t experiencing hair loss utilize these at-home treatments to boost volume and sheen – both of which can conceal thinning hair.
Regular protein treatment can come in the form of raw eggs beat in a bowl and added to the length of hair for approximately 30 minutes. Some prefer to use one egg combined with a tablespoon of hair oil and two tablespoons of water. Mix it up and massage into the scalp. Repeat weekly.
Another old school favorite, olive oil definitely adds body to your hair. There’s speculation it can strengthen your locks, too, including the roots.
Pick these up at a health food store and soak 2-3 tablespoons in water overnight. Grind them to form a paste and apply to your hair and scalp. Leave in for 30 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. If you do this weekly, some studies show it can prevent scalp dryness.
Tough to find but potentially worth it if you can hunt it down, it may help with a healthy scalp and better hair growth. Mix a tablespoon of gooseberry with two tablespoons of coconut oil. Heat it up until it comes to a boil. Strain the oil and massage the mixture onto your scalp. Keep it in overnight and shampoo in the morning.
Castor oil has long been touted as a cure-all for many ailments, and hair loss seems to be no exception. Massage your scalp regularly with cold-pressed castor oil and potentially enjoy thicker hair. It is a very fatty kind of oil, which can protect your hair against falling follicles.
Hairstyles for Thinning Hair
Outside of the salon, you can learn how to make hair look thicker by switching your part. This will bring instant volume to hair that has flattened from remaining in the same position for too long. Also, avoid blow dryers – heat damages the hair shaft. The same goes for brushes – only brush when necessary, and avoid wire/metal combs.
Play with your hair to discover different styles that make hair look its thickest, but don’t pull hair back into ponytails or buns too often, as this can stress and strain hair follicles and aggravate the issue.
Finally, take advantage of the gorgeous hair accessories available for purchase. It’s an affordable way to conceal thinning hair. Try a hairband that covers the scalp, a beautiful scarf or even a hat. It might seem too simple and only a way to mask the problem, but on busy days, it is likely just what you need.
Going to the salon can actually help with thinning hair in women, although it really masks the issue rather than solving it. Nonetheless, it can make you feel like a million bucks and help you to focus on more important things in life.
Ask for a shorter, volumizing cut. Short cuts are gentler on thin hair. If you allow your hair to grow out long, it will start to separate in thin locks and expose regions of the scalp. Instead, go for a shorter length, while requesting layers. Many stylists are familiar with hairstyles for thinning hair, so don’t be afraid to have an open dialogue.
Hair color can also be helpful. According to Beverly Hills colorist Michael Canale, “Peroxide doubles the thickness of each strand. It swells the hair shaft…” Strategically placed highlights can detract from thin patches by making your hair closer to the color of your scalp.
Contrary to popular belief, hair extensions for thin hair may not be a good idea if you are experiencing hair loss. Rooted, naturally thin hair is fine, but those experiencing scalp exposure are not usually good candidates. However, if your hair is full at the crown but thinning only from the ear line downward, extensions are definitely an option. Celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves says that clip-ins are best and most affordable. And best of all, they are surprisingly simple to use.
When it comes to thinning hair in women, it can be a difficult journey both physically and emotionally. As females we are raised up to take pride in our hair’s appearance and unfortunately many of us place our worth in it. While every woman is beautiful in unique ways (regardless of hair texture), maintaining a full head of hair can do wonders for self-esteem. Take the steps toward testing some of these home remedies and easy solutions, or consult a medical professional if you still have concerns and find the DIY treatments to be ineffective. With today’s modern medicine and continual research, thinning hair is a subject that’s full of hope.