By: Shea Lenniger
Contributing Writer for The Hair Society
Hair, like your skin and nails, undergoes a continuous cycle of growth and rest as you age. It is completely normal to lose up to 100 hairs each and every day, but anything more than that can be cause for concern. Thinning hair or balding can be a result of many factors, but there are methods to reverse hair loss and strengthen brittle and wispy hair.
Good old genetics could be at play in hair loss, as you might be genetically predisposed to thinning hair. This affects the hair’s growth cycle, meaning hair follicles become smaller, the growth phase becomes shorter, and hairs shed much faster than normal. While hereditary hair loss is most common in men, women can suffer from it as well.
Hair loss for men, known as male pattern baldness, commonly begins around age 30, however, it can present even earlier. It first becomes apparent with progressive thinning at one’s hairline, and later on, a bald spot at the crown of the head. While females typically don’t experience bald patches, they suffer from dramatic hair thinning or diffused hair loss. This hair loss can become apparent around age 40, and by age 50, most women will experience a certain degree of hair thinning.
Genetics is not the only cause of hair loss or thinning. Other factors such as stress, pregnancy, hormonal or nutritional deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, chemotherapy, or scalp traumas can cause temporary or complete hair loss. Stress and hormonal imbalances can trigger disruptive eating habits, scalp issues like dandruff can negatively impact the digestive system, which all directly impact hair health.
Losing hair can be shocking, distressing, embarrassing and can often take a toll on one’s self-esteem. Think of how many people get hair extensions or find ways to make their hair thicker and lusher. Believe it or not, hair can subconsciously symbolize attractiveness, desirability, and youthfulness. Losing hair can mean losing a bit of your identity and can be a serious issue if it’s related to health problems.
So what can be done for thinning hair? There are plenty of hair products and treatments out there, including prescription medication. This includes products that contain Minoxidil, known by many as Rogaine, foam or liquid which can be rubbed in the scalp to help increase the size of shrinking hair follicles. Propecia, generically known as Finasteride is a daily pill for men and in some cases women, that slows hair loss and promotes regrowth after a few months of use. While prescription treatments are effective, they typically don’t work as a long-term solution by themselves. Hair transplant surgery, stem cell therapy, and low-level laser therapy, on the other hand, help stimulate cell and hair regrowth. These procedures involve transplanting a patient’s healthy hair follicles to an area with hair loss. Non-surgical hair replacement is yet another option to address hair loss, especially when the before mentioned solutions are no longer an option.
While certain products, oils, or strange grooming methods promise hair regrowth or thicker hair, there are certain lifestyle changes that are guaranteed to promote healthier hair. This includes taking supplements also known as nutriceuticals to increase the levels of vitamins and minerals for your hair follicles. Look for supplements that include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Zinc and the amino acids L-Lysine and L-Methionine just to mention a few. In addition, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet will provide the nutrients for stronger, shinier hair. Suffering from dry and brittle strands? Avoid tight hairstyles like ponytails and topknots, which can put stress and tension on the hair follicles, this can cause hair loss referred to as traction alopecia. Making small changes like these can have dramatic results on your hair’s health, strength, and shine.
As your hair is constantly changing and growing, it’s crucial to keep up with new treatments, methods, and procedures to ensure healthy hair growth. Causes for hair thinning or loss differ from person to person, so one should seek out a professional consultation for individualized advice on their specific hair concerns. A specialist such as a trichologist can provide the best options for treatment based off of a patient’s lifestyle, concerns, and goals. Keeping up with new trends and treatments and discussing them with a professional will ensure the best results for you and your hair.