Why Is My Hair Falling Out
The vast majority of the time, thinning hair results from male pattern hair loss . Male pattern baldness is linked to male sex hormones , specifically DHT .
Androgens contribute to adult male characteristics, such as muscle mass and a deeper voice, though theyre essential hormones in women as well. For reasons researchers dont entirely understand, although DHT is essential for the growth of body hair, it can attack hair follicles on the scalp and cause them to shrink, a process called follicular miniaturization. This process causes the follicle to produce shorter, thinner hairs.
In some cases, male pattern baldness can start earlysome studies show that it affects up to 16% of men between 1829. But its way more common in older men, with the likelihood increasing with age. White men are most affected, with 50% of men showing signs of balding by age 50
Less common reasons for thinning hair include:
Stop Heat Styling As Often
Because heat styling puts extra stress on thinning hair, Syfu says to give the hot tools a break so you won’t accidentally exacerbate breakage and hair loss. When you do reach for your curling iron, make sure that you always use a heat protectant to prevent frying your hair and making the situation worse.
Hair Loss Trigger: Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata causes hair to fall out in big patches. The culprit is your own immune system, which attacks healthy hair follicles by mistake. In most cases, the damage isnât permanent. The missing locks should grow back in 6 months to a year. Some people lose all the hair on their scalp and body, but thatâs rare.
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Your Hair Takes Longer To Grow
The hair on your scalp grows about six inches a year, which means youll gain about an inch of new hair every couple of months.
Right now, there arent any scientific studies that show that male pattern baldness affects the speed at which your hair grows.
However, since male pattern baldness can affect your hair count , you may find that it takes a little longer for your hair to grow back to its usual look after a short haircut.
You may also notice that your hair never seems to grow quite as thick as it used to — an issue thats caused by DHT-related damage to your hair follicles.
What Does Thinning Hair Look Like
Hair loss can affect men of all ages. As such, its important to know the signs of thinning hair so that you can tackle the problem as it develops. Hair loss in men typically begins around the forehead and on top of the head. Therefore, many men experience a receding hairline as part of the early stages of their hair loss. To determine whether your hairline is receding, try comparing your current hair to a photo from two years ago. Thinning hair on top of the head, on the other hand, can be identified by regularly parting your hair down the middle and seeing how much scalp is revealed.
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A Change In Your Hairline
The most obvious of the stages of hair loss is a noticeable change in your hairline that you can clearly see.
Baldness often begins in the hairline, with the flat or mildly receded hairline you previously had turned into a more obvious M-shaped hairline basically, bald with hair on sides.
For most people, this begins with hair thinning at the crown of the head and temples, and often starts with thinning hair rather than total hair loss.
If you can compare two photos taken years apart and see a clear balding hairline or that your hairline has clearly receded, its an obvious sign that youre suffering from hair loss.
One important thing to be aware of is that lighting conditions can affect the appearance of your hairline.
Hair may appear thinner in bright downlighting .
This makes it important to compare photos with similar lighting conditions, not one photo taken in natural light and another taken in bright artificial light.
If youre really concerned about hair loss, you can photograph your hairline or the top of your head every few months in the same lighting conditions to see if your hairline is receding.
Over the course of a year or two, you should be able to determine whether or not youre losing hair around your hairline.
If you notice hair loss, its important that you take action as soon as possible to prevent it from getting worse. You may not be able to stop hair loss completely, but there are things you can do to slow it down and stop it from getting worse.
Thinning Hair In Women: Why It Happens And What Helps
Many people think of hair loss as a male problem, but it also affects at least a third of women. But unlike men, women typically experience thinning hair without going bald, and there can be a number of different underlying causes for the problem.
Some are associated with inflammation in the body. Some are female-pattern hair loss, says Dr. Deborah Scott, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic at Brigham and Womens Hospital. But the good news is that in many cases this hair loss can be stabilized with treatment, and it may be reversible. When its not, there are a number of new cosmetic approaches that can help.
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What Are The Types Of Hair Loss
There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium: This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle .
- Telogen effluvium: This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss /baldness: This type is the most common. Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
Cosmetic Options For Hair Loss
When medical treatments fall short, women can also consider cosmetic options to make up for lost hair, such as wearing a wig. At the other end of the spectrum is hair transplantation, a surgical procedure that moves active follicles from the back of the scalp to areas where the hair is thinning. Once transplanted, the hair grows normally.
Hair transplantation is typically performed as an outpatient surgical procedure. In appropriate patients, it can be extremely successful, but it wont work for everyone, says Dr. Scott. One drawback is the expense: it can cost thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance. The procedure also requires recovery time. And it may not be appropriate for women who have diffuse thinning across the whole scalp. Its more effective in treating smaller, more defined areas of balding.
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Your Hairline Is Receding Or You See More Of Your Scalp
A receding hairline is a classic sign of male pattern baldness. Unfortunately, its also a sign that many guys ignore until it gets quite severe, either because they dont notice it developing or just because it isnt particularly pleasant to acknowledge.
You might notice that your hairline is beginning to recede when some hairstyles expose more of your forehead than youre used to seeing.
Alternatively, you might spot your hairline taking on an M-shape when youre washing or drying your hair , or notice a little more scalp showing in back of your head.
Receding hairlines often start around your temples. Over time, the pattern usually worsens until your hairline is lower in the center than it is at the sides. About 25 percent of men ages from 40 to 55 have this type of hairline, according to an article published in the book, Male Androgenetic Alopecia.
Like a receding hairline, overall hair thinning is common, with about 31 percent of men aged 40 to 55 displaying some signs of vertex baldness, according to the same article published in the book, Male Androgenetic Alopecia.
This happens because of hair thinning that occurs across your scalp, even if your hairline hasnt changed in the meantime.
For some men, this type of hair loss occurs at the crown, or vertex of the scalp — the area thats right at the top of your head. You might notice that your skin is visible through this hair when you look at the back of your head in the mirror.
Changes In Hair Quality And Texture
Dr. Ilyas shared one sign that could signal hair issues before you even begin to notice increased shedding.
One of the earliest signs of hair thinning, even before it actually sheds, is a change in the quality and texture of the hair, she said. This is an important concept and stage to understand as it occurs prior to the actual shedding of the hair.
For example, you might notice the following changes in your hair:
- Finer texture
- More prone to tangling
- More easily broken
Some patients will describe it as a change in the overall quality of their hair, said Dr. Ilyas. They may find themselves using more products to compensate for how difficult their hair becomes to manage, or they may even find themselves opting for shorter hairstyles to avoid tangling and to add volume.
For best results, only opt for hair care products that are free of harsh or potentially toxic ingredients. For instance, the GRO Revitalizing Shampoo & Conditioner Kit contains two gentle, nourishing, chemical-free formulas that feature our proprietary vegan keratin, which physically bonds to each strand to promote strong, shiny hair.
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What Causes Hair To Thin
Any number of lifestyle factors, genetics, recent life events , or medical conditions can cause your hair to thin.
Lifestyle factors could include using certain hair products, wearing your hair up too tightly, experiencing high stress levels, or not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals in your diet.
People who have immune system deficiencies could also have thinning hair.
Losing Hair With General Anesthesia And Surgery Is Temporary
If you had major surgery and experienced excessive loss of hair about three months later, the anesthesia combined with the surgery itself may be to blame for your hair falling out. This is because general anesthesia and major surgery put your body under physical stress, which can alter the life cycle of the hairs on your head, and cause excessive loss of hair that shows up several months later. Still, hair loss related to major surgery is temporary, and your hair will grow back over time.
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How Does Hair Grow
Your scalp is home to about 100,000 hairs. Each one has its own life cycle. A follicle produces a single hair that grows at a rate of half an inch per month. It hangs in there for 2 to 6 years, then stops for about a month. When the next cycle starts up, that hair falls out. At any given time, most of your locks are in the growth phase.
The First Few Things You Should Do When You Notice Your Hair Is Thinning
The next section will discuss how hair thinning can be treated.
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Wash Your Hair With The Right Products
Be conscious of the shampoos and conditioners you use.
âUnlike traditional shampoos and conditioners, volumizing products expand the diameter of each individual hair shaft, which is the best way to plump limp locks,â said Scott Yance, owner of Scottfree Salon in Milwaukee. After styling, plump your ends by pinching small sections of hair and rubbing it together. Just this small move can help give the illusion of fullness.â
And donât forget to wash! Thin hair should be washed every day, as oils tend to build up more quickly in finer hair. The oils can weigh the hair down and give it an even thinner appearance, said style director Jerome Lordet from Pierre Michel Salon in New York City. âFor shorter hair lacking body, there are hair-building fibers and powders that can be used to add texture.â
Women with finer hair should avoid the following terms when shopping for products: smoothing, moisturizing or silkening.
About 80 million people in the U.S. are struggling with hereditary hair loss, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
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Male Or Female Pattern Hair Loss
It affects around 50 million males and 30 million females in the United States. Approximately of all people will experience it at some point.
The condition can occur at any age but is more common among:
- males aged 50 years or older
- females during menopause
- people with a close relative who has androgenetic alopecia
In males, hair thinning tends to occur from the hairline to the back of the head and resembles an M shape. In females, it tends to affect the crown of the head.
Early treatment can often slow or stop hair loss.
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How To Handle Major Hair Loss
It can be a challenge. If thin areas are easy to spot, consider a weave, a hairpiece, a scarf, or a hat. Good-quality wigs are more comfortable than ever — and they rarely have bad hair days. If hair loss affects your job or social life or makes you not want to leave the house, talk with a counselor.
Your Scalp Is More Visible
When you’re young and your hair is healthy, you probably never saw your scalp unless you shaved your head. Once you begin to see your scalp just by looking in the mirror, its likely youve begun to lose a lot of hair from the top of your head. Once this starts, you’ll likely continue to lose more and more hair until you start to develop noticeable bald spots.
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How Can I Prevent Hair Loss
There are a few things you can do to minimize hair loss:
- Keep hairstyles loose. If you regularly style your hair into braids, buns, or ponytails, try to keep them loose so they dont put too much pressure on your hair.
- Avoid touching your hair. As much as possible, try not to pull, twist, or rub your hair.
- Pat hair dry. After washing, use a towel to gently pat your hair dry. Avoid rubbing your hair with the towel or twisting it within the towel.
- Aim for a nutrient-rich balanced diet. Try to incorporate plenty of iron and protein into snacks and meals.
Styling products and tools are also common culprits in hair loss. Examples of products or tools that can affect hair loss include:
- blow dryers
Treating Hair Loss: Medicine
Minoxidil is approved by the FDA for female pattern hair loss. It can slow or stop it in most women and may help hair grow back. But the benefits go away when you stop using it. Corticosteroids can help regrow hair for women with alopecia areata. And if the cause is an underlying medical problem or poor nutrition, your locks should grow back on their own once things are under control.
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Excessive Hair Loss After Showering Or Brushing
Its normal to lose hair when you shower, brush or comb.
On average, people lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, meaning that the four to five hairs you notice in your hands after shampooing your hair aren’t anything to be concerned about.
However, if you start to notice an excessive amount of hair shedding throughout the day, theres a risk that it could be the result of male pattern baldness.
Before you panic, its important to know that temporary, sudden hair loss can happen and that shedding a lot of hair for a day or two isnt necessarily a cause for alarm.
Less alarming yet common causes of hair loss range from high fevers to psychological stress to side effects of medication.
This type of hair loss is usually temporary, meaning youll notice a larger number of hairs in your hands and on your brush for anywhere from one to six months .
You might also notice loose hairs on your pillow in the morning.
If you notice a large amount of hair loss every day for a long time, you should seek medical advice.
After all, it may not take as long as youd think for a modest amount of daily hair loss from a full head of hair to turn into a receding hairline or a visible balding crown.
We also answer the question: “Does hard water cause hair loss?” in our article if you’d like to learn more.