Facts Checked By Freewill Beauty Experts - Written by Rithi Choudhury (Journalist) on 2nd Nov 2020
Thinning Hair Resulting In Thinning Confidence? Read About The Causes and Treatments
Do you need to add a layer or a twist to your hair when you secure them into a ponytail or perhaps a top knot? Maybe your hair is not as lush as it used to be.
The thinning of hair volume is a primary cosmetic concern not just among men but also women. It is usually marked with a receding hairline in men, whereas it is generally concentrated on the crown in women. Wherever it is, hair thinning is annoying, and no one wants that.
If you are someone who has been plagued with massive hair fall and subsequent thinning of hair, then consider today a lucky day for you to click on the right article.
Thinning Hair 101
The life of hair has three stages - growing, resting, and shedding. During the growth phase, hair usually grows for 2-6 years, and then it ceases to mature for several months. It is known as the resting phase. Eventually, in the shedding stage, they fall out.
When the hair's growth phase is reduced, the hair follicles produce smaller, thinner, and less visible hairs, leading to thinning hair. The shorter growth phase, also known as the anagen phase, gives way to the resting stage much faster where the affected hair follicles stop producing new hair altogether, resulting in loss of hair volume.
Causes For Thinning Hair
The reason why hair falls out abnormally and loses its volume, which is also referred to as thinning hair, can be attributed to numerous reasons.
- Genetic Factors: Androgenetic alopecia, which is commonly known as male pattern baldness, surprisingly is not just limited to men, but women too can go through it. This condition is marked by permanent hair loss from the scalp and subsequent baldness or bald patches.
Hair loss occurs in this condition because of increased androgens' increased levels in the hair follicles (tiny openings under the scalp through which hair grows). Androgens are hormones that help regulate hair growth. But when androgen levels in the hair follicles increase, the growth stage of hair is considerably reduced. On top of that, there is also a delay in the growth of new hair to replace the falling hair.
- Inflamed Scalp: Inflammatory scalp conditions like eczema, psoriasis, folliculitis affects the hair follicles, which weakens the roots of the hair and makes one susceptible to hair thinning and hair fall.
- Hypothyroidism: Overproduction of thyroid is also a cause for hair loss. Hair loss caused by thyroid disease becomes apparent several months after thyroid disease onset due to the long hair cycle. Hair loss may follow the treatment of hypothyroidism, and often, the medications are blamed.
- Autoimmune Hair Loss: Alopecia areata is a condition where the immune system suddenly starts attacking the hair follicles resulting in hair loss, which leaves behind bald patches. Alopecia areata causes discrete, often circular, areas of hair loss. It is temporary & does not progress in most cases, but unfortunately, it can cause significant baldness.
Hair loss is not limited to the scalp, but also the hair on the eyebrows, face, eyelashes can be affected. As of yet, there is no cure for this condition. However, some treatments help in regrowing the hair and also preventing future hair loss.
- Childbirth: Pregnancy is a time where the body goes through several hormonal changes. The estrogen levels rise during pregnancy, and it results in more hair during the growing stage.
But after the delivery, the levels of estrogen drop, classes, and all the hair that grew during pregnancy fall out. This condition is known as telogen effluvium. But with time, the excessive hair shedding ceases, as long as there are no other factors causing hair to fall out.
- Birth Control Pills: Birth control pills make changes to the estrogen hormone in the body, and therefore, they have a role to play in hair fall.
- Oral Retinoids: Oral retinoids like Accutane are often prescribed as a form of acne treatment. Studies have shown that excessive vitamin A, primarily through dietary supplements, causes hair loss.
- Oxidative Stress: Oxidative stress leads to inferior hair quality and also hair loss. Our body produces free radicals as part of its metabolism. These free radicals initiate a chain of chemical reactions (oxidation), which can help fight infections and germs.
But an excess of these free radicals can have adverse effects like cellular damage, premature aging, hair loss, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer. These free radicals are unpaired (free electrons) and unstable, so they try to take electrons from the cells. As a result, they alter the DNA, damage proteins, fatty tissue, and stimulate cellular damage. Free radicals also enter the body through smoke (cigarettes), pollution, exposure to radiation, certain chemicals, etc.
- Surgery: The body undergoes a lot of physical and mental stress during and after surgery. The pressure causes all hair follicles to go into their resting phase, and hair growth temporarily ceases. It is another possible reason behind hair thinning.
- Nutritional Deficiency: Healthy hair comes from within. A low diet lacking essential vitamins and nutrients like Vitamin D, Vitamin E, iron, zinc, etc., can cause hair fall. Make sure you get sufficient nutrients from your diet, and if necessary, consult a physician for dietary supplements.
Did You Know:
Vitamin D plays a vital role in stimulating hair follicles. Iron assists/helps in the production of hemoglobin, which delivers oxygen to the hair follicles. Zinc helps in the growth and repair of hair tissue. Therefore a deficiency in these nutrients results in weak, brittle, thin hair that falls quickly.
These are some of the factors for thinning hair. It is always advisable to see a professional for precise diagnosis and get the right treatment rather than self-diagnosis.
How To Regrow Hair - Combat Thinning Hair!
If your hair is thinning out due to genetic factors or autoimmune diseases, then simple home treatment will not suffice. You would need clinical treatment and medications. You can follow some simple steps and ingredients you can include to make your hair thicker and more robust for other characteristics.
- Sulphur: Onions are a rich source of the third most abundant mineral in our body, sulfur. Sulfur is an essential component of 'keratin,' the structural protein that makes up our hair, skin, and nails. It is why onion juice, when applied on the scalp, can be useful in promoting hair growth.
- Shea Butter: Shea butter is rich in essential fatty acids, Vitamin A and E. It helps in relieving scalp irritation as a result of dryness. It also moisturizes and smooths dry hair being emollient.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a versatile ingredient when it comes to hair health. It enhances the scalp's health by forming a protective barrier, promoting hair growth, and nourishing the scalp, which yields healthy hair and hydrates the hair.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is probably the best oil for the hair as it can penetrate deep into the hair cortex. It also helps prevent protein loss from the hair. Applying some coconut oil on your hair creates a protective coating that seals in moisture and protects the hair from uneven swelling that leads to frizziness. Studies also show coconut oil to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Thus it helps in treating scalp eczema, scalp psoriasis, dandruff, and lice.
- Sweet Almond Oil: Sweet almond oil is very rich in vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant scavenges free radicals and forms a protective carrier on the scalp to prevent moisture loss. Apart from vitamin E, sweet almond oil is also rich in essential minerals for the hair-like magnesium that helps prevent hair breakage.
- Amla (Indian Gooseberry): Amla or Indian Gooseberry is a rich source of iron and Vitamin C. Therefore, it promotes healthy blood circulation to the scalp, combats oxidative stress, and keeps gray hair at bay. You can use fresh amla juice in conjunction with other natural ingredients or reap amla benefits in the form of amla oil.
Hair Growth Supplements
Hair supplements should be taken if you are not getting them in the right quantities through your diet. The vitamins essential for healthy hair are A, C, D, E. But when taking hair supplements, it is necessary not to go overboard. More does not mean better.
- Omega-3 Capsules: Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in food sources like salmon, salmon oil, cod liver oil, flax seeds, etc. are essential for maintaining skin, nail, and hair health. Omega 3 Fatty acid is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. By combating oxidative stress, it helps in the prevention of hair loss and thus ensures healthy, thick, and luscious hair.
- Biotin: Biotin, also called vitamin H, vitamin B7, or vitamin B8, is an essential water-soluble nutrient belonging to the B-complex vitamin group. Biotin helps synthesize amino acids that produce the Keratin (protein making up our skin, hair, and nails). Therefore it is believed to be beneficial for hair growth and maintaining healthy hair.