UNDERSTANDING HAIR THINNING: CAUSES & TREATMENT

Hair loss is a natural process of hair rejuvenation. Hair loss Up to 100 hairs per day is usual and normal. However, more than this might indicate that you are shedding more hair than you should, leading to general hair thinning.37 

Contrary to common misconception, hair thinning does not always lead to baldness; it does, however, make your hair appear sparser in some areas of your head. Hair loss is also a profoundly personal experience. If you see more hair falling out than usual, clumps of hair shedding, or your hair appears to be significantly thinning, it could be an indication that something is wrong. Hair thinning can happen to both women and men. 38

The first step in addressing thinning hair is to figure out what's going on within your body that is causing those additional hairs to stick to your shoulders and brush. The causes of hair thinning include the following: lifestyle choices and/or medical concerns. Hair thinning can also be caused by certain genetic factors. 39

Causes of Hair Thinning:40

  • Lifestyle Choices & Hair Thinning: 41

    For example, when it comes to lifestyle choices, grooming the hair requires great care. Products that are too harsh, like sprays and gels, as well as color treatments, perms, and relaxers can contribute to hair thinning. Also, pulling your hair back into a ponytail can pull on your hair and cause it to break away from the follicles, resulting in thin areas over time.

    Lifestyle choices also include inadequate levels of iron, folic acid, and other minerals in your diet. Essentially, these minerals aid in the natural production of hair by follicles.42

    Not to mention stress! Too many stress hormones can damage new hairs in the process of growing.43

    The question is: Will hair regrow? And the answer is: Fortunately, yes! 

  • Medical Concerns & Hair Thinning: 44

    Skin conditions or illness related to vitamin D deficiency can cause hair thinning so might hormonal changes or a stop in birth control pills. Also, a loss in weight in a short period of time as well as a treatment for autoimmune disease or a weakness in the immunity system might cause hair thinning. 

    The question is again: Will hair regrow? And the answer is: If appropriate treatments are given, then  yes! 

Treatment for Hair Thinning

Depending on what caused the hair to thin in the first place, it may grow back. Regrowth may occur in those who have thinning hair owing to vitamin deficiencies, stress, pregnancy, and other non-genetic factors. It would be best to treat the hair thinning in order for the hair to healthily grow back. 

Some of the treatments (and home remedies!) may include the following: 

  1. Massage your scalp: Apply gentle pressure with your fingertips around your scalp when washing your hair to stimulate blood flow or use handheld scalp massager! 45
  2. Essential oils: Some persons with pattern baldness have had success with the use of lavender oil, among other essential oils.46
  3. Anti-thinning shampoo: Vitamins and amino acids are included in shampoos for thinning hair or hair loss to promote a healthier scalp.47
  4. Multivitamins: A blood test may help you identify the vitamins you need in case you are malnourished. Consult with your doctor to best choose a daily multivitamin. Healthy hair needs iron, folic acid, and zinc!48
  5. Other supplements: Folic acid, biotin, and omega-3 as well as omega-6 fatty acids could also help. However, do not forget to consult with your doctor first. 49
  6. Other prescriptions approved by the Food and Drug Administration: Spironolactone for women hair thinning, Finasteride for men hair thinning, and Corticosteroids. 50 51 52
  7. Minoxidil: Consider Regaine® as a product to improve hair growth as it is rich with Minoxidil. 53
  8. Micro-needling: Micro-needling is a tool used with hundreds of needles injected into the scalp. 54
  9. Platelet-rich plasma: This technique involves injecting plasma into the scalp to promote hair growth. 55
  10. You might also want to consider laser therapy, too! 56

When to Speak to a Doctor

The best way to attend to your thinning hairline is to first identify the cause and then find a suitable treatment. Remember to consult your doctor if you are concerned about recurrent hair loss or a receding hairline, or if you see unexpected patchy hair loss. 

References: 

  1. 37 https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding
  2. 38 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/thinning-hair-in-women-why-it-happens-and-what-helps-2020032719267
  3. 39 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21753-hair-loss
  4. 40 https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-642-02035-3_205
  5. 41 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/190616
  6. 42https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
  7. 43https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress-and-hair-loss/faq-20057820
  8. 44https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34553483/
  9. 45https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740347/
  10. 46 Oh, J. Y., Park, M. A., & Kim, Y. C. (2014). Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs. Toxicological research, 30(4), 297-304.
  11. 47https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12190640/
  12. 48https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-vitamins-supplements-and-products-for-healthier-hair/
  13. 49https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  14. 50 Rathnayake, D., & Sinclair, R. (2010). Innovative use of spironolactone as an antiandrogen in the treatment of female pattern hair loss. Dermatologic clinics, 28(3), 611-618.
  15. 51 Shapiro, J., & Kaufman, K. D. (2003, June). Use of finasteride in the treatment of men with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss). In Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings (Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 20-23). Elsevier.
  16. 52 Joly, P. (2006). The use of methotrexate alone or in combination with low doses of oral corticosteroids in the treatment of alopecia totalis or universalis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 55(4), 632-636.
  17. 53 Kovacevic, M., McCoy, J., Shapiro, J., Sinclair, R., Vaño‐Galvan, S., Goldust, M., ... & Goren, A. (2020). Novel “After Minoxidil” spray improves topical minoxidil compliance and hair style manageability. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 19(10), 2647-2649.
  18. 54https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746236/
  19. 55https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/plateletrich-plasma-prp-treatment
  20. 56https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944668/