Using Hot Styling Tools
Scorching temps damage the proteins that make up your hair and its protective cuticle. Once the cuticle is damaged, the moisture balance is disrupted and your hair is more prone to breakage, says Dr. Bauman.
Save your strands: Limit your hot tool usageeven your blowdryerto two or three times a week, and start with the coolest setting possible. Always apply a heat-protection spray, which creates a thermal barrier to reduce friction. Here are 4 tips for less damaging heat styling.
First What Causes Hair Loss Or Thinning In General
There are many different types of hair loss and a multitudeof factors that can contribute to the issue. The hair loss thats seen post-COVID-19 is usually telogen effluvium, a condition in which hair sheds in response to a stressor. Telogen effluviumthe most common type of generalized hair lossis not only triggered by viruses, it can also be a side effect of certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal abnormalities, and stressful events .
Androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata are other common forms of hair loss, but they both show up differently than the general shedding seen in telogen effluvium. Androgenic alopecia typically manifests as hairline recession or thinning on the crown, specifically. This is the most common cause of localized hair loss and is often referred to as male or female pattern baldness, Craig Ziering, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon, and hair restoration specialist, tells SELF. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 50 million people assigned male at birth and 30 million people assigned female at birth in the U.S. experience this type of hair loss, which is largely genetic, although hormones also play a role.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What is the cause of my hair loss?
- How many strands of hair am I losing per day?
- What type of hair loss do I have?
- Will my hair loss be permanent?
- Whats the best treatment for me?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hair loss may cause you distress whether it happens because of genetics, a disease, or even stress. Know that there are some treatments you can try, and expert dermatologists are there to help you. Your hair loss may be able to be reversed. See your healthcare provider as soon as you notice something wrong because the sooner you start treatment, the better.
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The Different Types Of Hair Loss: Genetic And Reactive
Genetic hair loss:
Theres a chance youre genetically predisposed to hair thinning, which means you may see a progressive, gradual reduction in hair volume. In these instances, certain hair follicles are sensitive to male hormones and this sensitivity causes follicles to gradually shrink and produce slightly finer and shorter hairs with each passing hair growth cycle. Explains Anabel Kingsley.
Reactive hair loss:
This means your hair loss is the result of a trigger. Excessive daily hair shedding is not reliant on having a genetic predisposition, it occurs as the result of an internal imbalance or upset, such as a nutritional deficiency, severe stress, crash dieting or an illness says Anabel Kingsley.
Not Washing Hair Often Enough
Now that dry shampoo is a staple in most of our beauty arsenals, its easier than ever to skip a few days between washing. Convenient? Yes. But not so great for your hair: A buildup of product or excessive dandruff on the scalp has been shown to clog hair follicles, and if its bad enough, it can be difficult for hair to grow, says Dr. Day.
Save your strands: There’s nothing wrong with skipping shampoo for a day. But if it becomes a habit, product residue, dirt, and oil can clog pores in the scalp. Be sure to wash your hair every two days, especially if youre sweating or using lots of products. To prevent excessive dryness, switch to a sulfate-free shampoo like LOreal Paris Ever Strong Thickening Shampoo .
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Taking Oral Birth Control Pills
If youre one of the many women who are sensitive to hair shedding or thinning due to hormonal changes, the wrong oral birth control can weaken your hair. A pill that contains androgens can cause hair loss for someone whos androgen sensitive and doesnt know it, says Dr. Bauman.
Save your strands: Switch to low-androgen index birth control pills like norgestimate , norethindrone , desogestrel , or ethynodiol diacetate . If you want to know whether you have an androgen sensitivity, a hair restoration physician can perform a quick cheek-swab genetic test.
Changes In Birth Control
Going off hormonal birth control or changing to a different type of hormonal contraception can also cause hormone-induced shedding. “Whether you’re just starting it, discontinuing it, or changing brands, your body can react by causing the hair to go into an increased shedding mode,” Dr. Fusco says.
This is another form of telogen effluvium, which means that its usually temporary. You can rely on volumizing products and styling tricks while you wait for your hair to regain its fullness.
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Solution: Speak To A Doctor
It is worth consulting your doctor for guidance if you are struggling to identify the reason for hair thinning or if your hair loss is becoming substantial. That way you can not only discuss your general health and identify your stress and hormone levels, but also receive expert advice on whether something more serious is to blame.
Are There Complications/side Effects Of Treatment
Minoxidil may irritate your scalp and cause dryness, scaling, itching and/or redness. See your dermatologist if this happens.
With Minoxidil you might also see hair growing in other places other than your scalp . Wash your face after you apply Minoxidil and make sure you avoid other areas when you apply it.
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The Hair Growth Cycle Explained
You need to have a general understanding of the hair growth cycle in order to visualize how your ends become thin. The hair growth cycle is a 3-phase process. It starts with anagen, moves to catagen, and ends with telogen.
Anagen is the growing phase of the hair growth cycle that typically lasts 4-7 years. Some people have longer anagen phases, which is why they can grow longer hair than others. During anagen, your hair is obviously growing and will continue to lengthen unless you cut it.
Catagen is a transitional phase. Once the hair follicle stops growing, it transitions into this short, two-week phase, where it prepares to move into telogen.
Telogen is the resting phase, where the bulb begins to detach from the follicle and prepares to fall out. This phase lasts around three months or 120 days. Intriguingly, most people will experience a temporary hair loss condition called telogen effluvium. In this condition, a stressful event forces a significant portion of their hair into telogen, where it then sheds after 3 months. A normal amount of shedding is between 50-100 hairs a day, but people with telogen effluvium can lose up to 300 strands per day.
Hair Loss Due To Medications
Hair loss is a side effect of a number of medications taken for common health problems. Blood-thinning medications, oral contraceptives, drugs for depression, NSAIDs, and beta and calcium channel blockers can all lead to thinning hair or baldness. Too much vitamin A and vitamin A-based drugs called retinoids can cause hair loss as well. Some chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer are known to cause total hair loss as they work to destroy cancer cells. Just as hair usually grows back after chemo, it should also grow back once you stop taking any medication that causes hair loss.
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Stress Can Cause Temporary Hair Shedding
Even if you never developed a fever or COVID-19, you may still see hair shedding. Emotional stress can also force more hairs than normal into the shedding phase. And who isnt feeling more stressed and anxious during the pandemic?
Again, the hair shedding begins about two to three months after the stress starts.
While seeing your hair fall out in clumps can add to your stress, its important to try to de-stress. Only when the stress ends will the excessive hair shedding stop.
Where Is The Hair Loss
If you are noticing a receding hairline or loss specifically in the crown area, these can be signs of balding. A more random pattern or evenly spread loss of hair is usually an indicator of hair thinning.
If your hair seems to be falling out in patches, you could have alopecia, a condition that causes a person to lose patches of hair. Consult a doctor if you think this to be the case.
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Does Thinning Out Hair Damage It
This is a big question, and its one that many folks ask. People worry if thinning out their hair might damage it. The answer isnt so black and white.
For example, those who decide to use chemicals to thin their hair could cause damage if they dont follow the directions perfectly.
It doesnt end there either. Those who work with a stylist that doesnt know what their doing could suffer damage. If the stylist cuts too close to the edge or makes other mistakes you learned about, then youll experience damage.
Now, if everything is done right, then your hair is going to look perfect, and there will be no damage. This is the reason choosing the right hairstylist is of the utmost importance if you value your hair and dont want to see any damage.
These are some pros and cons linked to thinning out your hair plus so much more. Ask all the questions you need to ask before deciding on this.
Signs Of Menopausal Hair Loss And Thinning Hair
Everyone loses hair every day, but there are a few signs to look out for which indicate your hair is thinning or you are losing more than before. These include:
- You find that youre having to clean your hairbrush more frequently
- More hair is trapped in the shower drain than there used to be
- You may find that theres more on your pillow or your clothes, or that you seem to be picking up a lot more hair when youre hoovering
- You find more hair on your pillow, clothing, around the house, in the hoover
- If youve got long hair, you notice that your ponytail is getting thinner
- Your hair is not growing as long as it used to
- You might find that youre getting a lot of split ends as well
- You might find that your parting is getting a bit wide, so especially if you have dark hair, you can see more of the scalp
- You may also find that it gets thinner around the crown of your head and your temples
- Your hair is flatter, with less body and fullness to it.
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Autoimmune Diseases That Affect Hair
Alopecia areata is often associated with an autoimmune disease, so it’s thought that some forms of hair loss can be caused by one of these medical conditions or is at least somehow related to it. Diabetes and lupus are two autoimmune diseases that can result in hair loss. This type of hair loss may not always be reversible it may sometimes be permanent. But medications and hair restoration surgeries may help compensate for any hair loss.
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.
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Whats Hair Loss In Women
Hair loss in women is just that when a woman experiences unexpected, heavy loss of hair. Generally, humans shed between 50 and 100 single hairs per day. Hair shedding is part of a natural balance some hairs fall out while others grow in. When the balance is interrupted when hair falls out and less hair grows in hair loss happens. Hair loss is different than hair shedding. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia.
Hair grows on almost all of your skin surfaces not the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, lips or eyelids. Light, fine, short hair is called vellus hair. Terminal/androgenic hair is thicker, darker and longer.
Solution: Control The Heat
“I highly recommend everyone uses heated hair tools that have a temperature gauge, so you can lower it,” says Moodie. “This will cause less stress to the hair shaft.” Ghds Helios Hairdryer and Dyson’s Supersonic are two great examples, while avoiding going over the same section of hair with a temperature-controlled pair of straighteners or curling iron can help minimise the damage too. You should also double the protection by using a heat defence spray and towel dry your hair gently but thoroughly before picking up your tools to minimise the time spent using them.
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Who Gets Alopecia Areata
Anyone can have alopecia areata. Men and women get it equally, and it affects all racial and ethnic groups. The onset can be at any age, but most people get it in their teens, twenties, or thirties. When it occurs in children younger than age 10, it tends to be more extensive and progressive.
If you have a close family member with the disease, you may have a higher risk of getting it, but for many people, there is no family history. Scientists have linked a number of genes to the disease, which suggests that genetics play a role in alopecia areata. Many of the genes they have found are important for the functioning of the immune system.
People with certain autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis, thyroid disease, or vitiligo, are more likely to get alopecia areata, as are those with allergic conditions such as hay fever.
It is possible that emotional stress or an illness can bring on alopecia areata in people who are at risk, but in most cases, there is no obvious trigger.
You Have An Underlying Illness
Periods of prolonged or severe illness can affect your hair. As with extreme stress and extreme diets, this also comes down to the body preserving its energy balance and shutting down non-essential functions in order to battle the illness more effectively, Berg says. In fact, physicians have used an inspection of the fingernails and hair quality as part of standard examinations of overall health for many years. Changes in these features provide some clues about the length and severity of illness. Other diseases, such as diabetes and lupus, also can cause hair loss. Covid-19 and hair loss are also linked. The temporary shedding, telogen effluvium, is due to high levels of stress and also occurs with other significant illnesses or surgery.
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What Is Hair Thinning
Before we begin, its important to understand the life cycle of a hair follicle. Our hair grows in four phases: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. Anagen is when the hair follicle is growing catagen is a transition phase when the hair stops growing and separates from the follicle during telegen, the roots prepare for new hair finally, exogen is when hair strands fall off and new ones start to grow. Hair loss is when the strands fall off during exogen but are not replaced by new ones.
Hair thinning, meanwhile, is when the strands get thinner or less dense. Studies show that men are prone to receding hairlines while women are more likely to experience a thinning hairline. Despite the uncertain nature of hair thinning, there are hair thinning remedies that can help. These remedies will be discussed eventually.
Loving Your Hair In All Its Forms
Like wrinkles or sagging skin, hair thinning is a normal part of growing older. Our 50-year-old bodies will never exactly resemble our 20-year-old bodies, and frankly, thats okay. If you want to use products or medications to combat the changes, go for it.
But you could also try rocking a shorter cut, experimenting with wigs or extensions, or embracing the thin hair life. Because at the end of the day, whats happening on top of your head is far less important than whats happening inside of it.
If you do choose to combat menopausal hair loss, make sure your solutions address the root cause for noticeable, long-lasting improvements.
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