Why Your Natural Hair Is Thinning And How To Stop It
February 04, 2019
It started with noticing more shedding than usual while you were washing your hair in the shower. You shrugged it off as excessive shedding from wearing your natural curls in a protective style like Bantu knots for too long. You realized it was serious when you noticed balding on your edges and noticeable thin spots in your hair while styling. Your thick, natural hair has transformed into thin, fragile hair. These are all signs there may be something wrong with your hair care routine or signs of a deeper health issue. While making this realization can be depressing and intimidating, there is no time to stress yourself out. Acting fast to figure out the problem and addressing any underlining health issues is where your focus should be. For those that need help figuring out where to start, this blog is specifically tailored to guide you through this problem. Here are some reasons why your natural hair is thinning and some ways to help stop it and restore your natural hair.
Why Is My Hair Thinning And How To Stop It
Hair loss, or hair thinning, is more common than wed think, affecting approximately 30 million women in the United States alonethats roughly one in four of us. Yet, despite these numbers, it seems a lot of us are unsure why hair loss and hair thinning happen in the first place.But, do not worry. Weve spoken with dermatologists and hair experts to talk us through some of the reasons for hair loss and some potential solutions that could prevent further hair loss and hair thinning. All it takes is making a few minor adjustments to some of your everyday habits or creating awareness around the issue to find out which solutions work for you.
Infections That Cause Hair Loss
A number of infections and illnesses can lead to hair loss. An infection that causes a high fever, a fungal skin infection, and bacterial infections like syphilis can all be responsible for balding or thinning hair. Treating the underlying infection can restore hair growth and prevent future hair loss. So your first step is to seek medical attention for the primary health problem.
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Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutrients Are Processed Less Efficiently
As women age their bodies begin to process nutrients less efficiently. Many vitamins and minerals are necessary for hair growth. Iron and Vitamin C are good examples of this.
Iron deficiency has been linked to hair loss in several studies. As the body ages, it can become more difficult for it to obtain the iron it needs from foods. The deficiency can then lead to thinner hair. Interestingly, a Vitamin C deficiency can contribute to the iron deficiency. This is because, without enough Vitamin C, the absorption of iron from foods such as red meat becomes more difficult.
There are a great number of nutrients that play a part in thinning hair in older women. In addition to iron and Vitamin C, getting enough magnesium, B vitamins, selenium, niacin and zinc is important. Some deficiencies can be helped with a diet change or nutritional supplements. Nutrafol is a supplement that contains Vitamin C, Selenium and Zinc â among other things.
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Traumatic Hair Styling And Inflammation
So far, we have discussed non-scarring types of hair loss, where the hair follicles are still alive and hair can regrow. This is in contrast to scarring hair loss, where hair follicles are destroyed and hair cannot regrow.
Inflammation is the ultimate cause of scarring hair loss. The scalp might appear red. Common symptoms include itching, burning, and pain. Infections and certain inflammatory skin conditions can cause hair follicle destruction. Traumatic hair styling practices like heat styling, chemical hair treatments, and tight hairstyles can also cause scarring hair loss.
With hair loss caused by inflammation, you want to stop the inflammation in time to prevent irreversible damage. Most often, dermatologists will do this with specific medications, depending on the cause and how bad the hair loss has gotten. Unfortunately, many people delay seeking treatment and end up with permanent scarring. Cortisone injections, along with topical minoxidil, can stimulate some hair growth. If the scarring is extensive, a hair transplant might be an option.
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Bad Habits That Make Your Hair Thinner
Even if youre trying to lose inches from your middle, chances are you never want to hear the word thin in reference to your hair. But if youve been shedding more than usual, its not too late save your strands.
Many aspects of our lifestylefrom what we eat to how we style our hairaffect the strength of hair fibers, says Alan Baumann, MD, a Boca Raton-based hair transplant surgeon and physician specializing in hair loss. And thats good news: Thicker hair is just about making a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle. Here, the 10 worst strand saboteurs, and how to get them out of your routine for good.
She Was Losing Fistfuls Of Hair What Was Causing It
Sudden hair loss may seem alarming, but it may be caused by a temporary stress and grow back.
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A woman in my knitting group recently asked if any of us knew where she could buy a gray wig. Though she seemed to have an ample head of hair, she reported that shed been losing fistfuls every time she brushed or washed it. Obviously very upset about what was happening, she said she didnt want to wait until she was bald to find a substitute for her naturally gray hair.
She also wondered why, suddenly, this was happening and how it could be stopped. The dermatologist she consulted asked some telling questions and suggested the likely cause. Three months earlier, my friend had undergone surgery for colon cancer and, as if that werent enough of a stress, she had developed a serious postoperative infection.
The delayed result, a form of diffuse hair loss called telogen effluvium, was causing her hair to fall out in frightening clumps. The good news was that absent another physical or psychological insult, within a year she most likely will have regained her normal head of hair and can donate the wig she bought to a gray-haired woman about to undergo chemotherapy.
Other possible causes of diffuse telogen hair loss include an overactive or underactive thyroid, with normal hair growth restored once the hormonal abnormality is corrected. Various chronic or inflammatory disorders, autoimmune diseases or chronic infections may also cause diffuse telogen hair loss.
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How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
And Here’s What You Can Do To Fix It:
Ok, so now you know what triggering the hair loss, here’s how to deal with it…
Recognise the problem
Hair loss doesn’t happen fast, our strands grow in cycles, which means it can take up to 3 months for hair to fall out after a trigger has caused it. “If you notice excessive daily hair shedding for longer than 3 months, see a trichologist or your GP, there could be an underlying factor that needs to be addressed”, Anabel advises. “Very importantly, try not to panic. Telogen effluvium is almost always self-eliminating and hair will start to grow back as usual once any internal imbalance is put right”.
Change up your diet
1) Get More Protein
“Hair is made of protein, making adequate daily intake of protein rich foods essential. Include at least a palm sized portion of protein at breakfast and lunch .” Anabel recommends.
2) Complex carbohydrates are essential
“They provide our hair with the energy it needs to grow. Snack on a healthy carbohydrates if longer than four hours is left between meals as energy available to hair cells drops after this amount of time.”
That being said, Anabel explained that if you are losing your hair because of something other than diet, like stress or an illness, changing what you eat will not remedy it.
Take a supplement
Anabel recommends looking out for the following ingredients: Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and the essential amino acids, L-Lysine and L-Methionine.
Head message = more than self-care
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Is My Hair Loss Normal
Whether it’s from combing or shampooing , every woman loses a bit of hair on a daily basis. “On average, women lose 100 hairs per day some people lose more and other less,” Shah said.
If a bit more hair is coming out for a few months after a stressful event for instance, a death in the family or major surgery it’s totally normal and usually corrects itself, according to Parks. Also normal? Increased hair loss in the winter or hair loss due to scratching and an inflamed scalp. This type of issue can easily be treated with products like Ducray Kertyol PSO Shampoo. Thinning hair as you get older is also normal.
So, at what point does normal hair loss turn into a cause for concern? If you’re losing more than 100 hairs per day or finding bald patches on your scalp, you should probably consult your dermatologist.
“As a rule, you should always notify a doctor if you believe something is wrong with your body or your health in general. If you notice bald patches the size of small coins, you should notify your doctor or dermatologist,” Sherwood said.
Can I Bleach Purple Hair
Bleach will lighten your hair to bust the purple pigment out. But its much more damaging to hair, and unlike your semi-permanent purple dye, bleach permanently changes the color of your hair. You can try a bleach wash or bleach bath at home, which is a less-damaging method that still lightens your hair.
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How To Prevent Hair Loss
If youre genetically predisposed to hair loss, it’s not always preventable. But certain types of hair loss are avoidable take traction alopecia, for instance.
Traction alopecia, which is primarily due to a pulling force , is potentially preventable if the hair is not subjected to this pulling force, Shah said. That means you should try to keep your hair loose and avoid constricting styles like tight braids for long periods of time.
Eating a well-balanced diet and keeping your stress levels in check can also ease hair loss. Kinglsey recommends anti-androgenic scalp drops for those with a genetic predisposition to follicle sensitivity.
Your Diet Needs Changing
You are what you eat is the oldest saying in the book, but it’s also totally true when you’re not putting the good stuff into your body, the outside will reflect it. Hair loss caused by nutritional deficiencies usually applies to extremely restrictive diets or simply diets where you’re eating enough, but not of the right things. Hair is made of protein, so it needs plenty of that to thrive, and it doesn’t hurt to top up on omega 3s, vitamins A, D and E, and zinc as well. Fish, vegetables, eggs, nuts and lean meats like chicken are a great place to start.
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Styling Could Be Harder Or Easier
I took for granted how easily my natural hair texture styled. It held curls without any spray, and I could put it in a braid or a bun and instantly get texture and movement without any heat, but once I thinned it out? Not so much. It was harder to style, and when I did get a style, it fell flat much quicker. However, it’s not always the same for everyone. “For some people who have extremely thick, course hair it can make styling easier, or at least cut down on blow dry time,” Streicher says. “But sometimes over thinning can change the shape of the haircut making styling more difficult.”
Losing Your Hair Can Be Another Consequence Of The Pandemic
Doctors are seeing a huge increase in patients who have been shedding abnormal amounts of hair, and they believe it is related to stress associated with the coronavirus.
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Annrene Rowe was getting ready to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary this summer when she noticed a bald spot on her scalp. In the following days, her thick shoulder-length hair started falling out in clumps, bunching up in the shower drain.
I was crying hysterically, said Mrs. Rowe, 67, of Anna Maria, Fla.
Mrs. Rowe, who was hospitalized for 12 days in April with symptoms of the coronavirus, soon found strikingly similar stories in online groups of Covid-19 survivors. Many said that several months after contracting the virus, they began shedding startling amounts of hair.
Doctors say they too are seeing many more patients with hair loss, a phenomenon they believe is indeed related to the coronavirus pandemic, affecting both people who had the virus and those who never became sick.
In normal times, some people shed noticeable amounts of hair after a profoundly stressful experience such as an illness, major surgery or emotional trauma.
Some of them had Covid, but not all of them, she said. Its the stress of the situation. They were apart from their families, they worked for many hours.
The Mental Health Toll of Covid-19
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If Your Hairs Suddenly Feeling Thinner Heres What Could Be Going On
While it’s odd to think of yourself shedding hair in the summertime, it’s a reality for many of usespecially those who live in a place that experiences big temperature swings this time of year.
What’s going on? “When you have a major environmental change, so like right now when the temperature’s going from the 50s to the 90s in a day, that sudden change can shift more of your hair into what’s called the telogen phase,” says Adam Friedman, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University.
Friedman explains that this telogen hair phase is also known as the “death” phase, and it’s completely normal. In fact, around 20% of your hair is in this death phase at any given time. That means it has stopped growing, and will soon fall out. “A healthy woman loses 150 to 175 hairs a day, while men lose a little less,” Friedman says. Meanwhile, you’re always making new hair.
But when the seasons transition and the weather goes through violent temperature swings, those shifts can place mild stress on your body. “That stress can force some of your hair from the growth or anagen phase into that telogen phase,” Friedman explains.
First of all, your hair won’t fall out immediately or all at once. It will take a couple months for the phase shift to result in hair loss. So while your body may have felt the temperature-induced stress in April and May, you may not notice your increased rate of hair loss until July or August, Friedman says.