Thinning of the hair, not only men!
Thinning of the hair is usually only associated with men. However that’s not always the case. It can also affect woman, whether it’s temporary or permanent. We understand that thinning hair and/or hair loss can be a worrying, traumatic and depressing experience. This month I want to help you understand what some of the causes are and give you some advice and suggestions for a variety of successful solutions for the many suffering!
I often have ladies worried about the hair falling out while shampooing, during blow drying and brushing. It could be thinning all over, a centre parting which gradually widens, distinct baldness at the crown of the head or a more sparse front hairline.
Don’t freak out though! We lose between 60 -100 hair a day on average. This is just hair going through it’s cycles of growing resting and falling out. Approximately only 85% of our hair is growing, and the remainder is resting. That’s why we often leave behind a trail of hair.
There are many causes for hair loss. They could be medical conditions as well as several lifestyle factors. Here are some common and not so common reasons why.
- Hormonal imbalance – (menopause, thyroid problems, some types of contraceptive pill).
- After childbirth – Often women notice their hair seems fuller during pregnancy, which is due to high levels of hormones that keep resting hairs from falling out as they normally would. After childbirth when hormone levels return to the norm those strands fall out quickly. This means a surprising amount of hair loss.
- Genetics/Heredity – Androgenic or androgentic alopecia is basically the female version of male pattern baldness.
- Cancer treatment- Hair loss is often an unfortunate side effect of chemotherapy. To kill the cancer cells, the medication can sometimes harm hair follicles, triggering dramatic hair loss. But the damage is almost always short-lived. Once the therapy is finished, hair usually grows back.
- Alopecia Areata – Causes hair to fall out in startling patches. Our immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles. In most cases the damage is not permanent. The missing patches usually grow back in 6 months to a year. In rare cases, people may lose all hair on scalp and body (Alopecia Totalis).
- Ageing – a natural part of ageing is a decreased blood supply to the follicles not too mention UV and free radical damage.
- Anaemia- As many as 1 in 10 women from the ages of 20-49 suffer from this iron deficiency.
- Crash dieting, poor nutrition and processed foods – High levels of animal fats, overconsumption of vitamin A and deficiencies in biotin, iron, protein and zinc can reduce vital amino acids and vitamin absorption needed for hair growth.
- Stress – Physical or emotional stress can cause sudden shedding, referred to more scientifically as “Telogen Effluvium”; a particular trauma can shock and therefore disturb the cycle of hair growth. Pushing it into the shedding phase. You’re likely to notice this effect months after trauma but will see regrowth as your body recovers.
- Tight hair styles- Cornrows or tight ponytails can irritate the scalp and cause traction alopecia leading to permanent hair loss. Even putting rollers in too tight can lead to this condition over time.
- Product build and/or flaky scalps. This can block the hair follicles causing obstruction and inflammation leading to poor hair growth.
What we can do about it?
Well, as there are at least 50 specific causes of hair loss, the success of treatment depends very much on the exact cause. In some cases, once the problem has been addressed, the hair regress perfectly healthily. At other times, thus just won’t be possible. Accurate diagnosis is key so a visit to your GP and/or a trichologist is strongly recommended.
As hair loss and thinning cannot always be fully rectified, we can learn to manage the situation. Here are tried and tested ideas to encourage re growth. And also add volume and cover up existing patches.
At Hair Professional in Maidstone we use Nioxin, which works to reduce hair breakage, make hair less fine and most importantly improve the scalp environment to give you thicker, fuller looking hair. As well as kits to go home with, we also offer in salon treatment called Scalp Renew Dermabrasion Service. This accelerates the scalp surface skin regeneration by up to 34% and removes build-up around follicle sites. I use Nioxin at home I can’t recommend it enough. It’s not actually that my hair has been thinning but we all want healthy fuller luscious locks and I love the menthol fresh feeling of it.
There are also many more specialised intensive home care treatments. Another option we offer is L’Oreal’s Serioxyl which 83% of woman agree gives denser-looking hair. The specific treatments that go alongside the shampoo and conditioning kits aim to kick start lazy follicles into action.
When styling you hair, less aggressive heat is certainly better as heated rollers, straighteners and tongs will increase breakage, making hair appear thinner.
My favourite volumizing product is Redken’s ‘Cerafill Maximise dense fx’! It is a hair diameter thickening treatment that plumps up the hair adding a lot of volume with a lightweight formula.
There are certain cuts, colours and styles that eliminate the appearance of thinning hair. For the best look I would suggest steering away from extremes, as too many layers will accentuate the thinness. Too long layers or just hair that’s too long will also have a negative affect because of the weight of the hair. There are some really great cute and fashionable styles for woman with fine, thin and thinning hair, such as Michelle Williams pixie cut it. Mid length bobs are a great choice which is also very on trend at the moment as they remove the heaviness from longer hair and add bounce. Side partings are great to camouflage the thinness on top and also changing parting often brings a nice bit of volume as back as hair tends to lie flatter when its use to repeatedly being in the same place. You could add face framing layers too.
With colouring, I would often stay away from extremes. Adding some highlights or lowlights will give the illusion of thickness by creating visual texture.
What about supplements?
Well, on the basis that they are very unlikely to do any harm, if you suspect your diet or lifestyle may be at fault, they are definitely worth a go.
Two of the best known supplement programmes for hair loss are the Philip Kingsley Trichothereapy Tricho Complex or the Viviscal Professional Hair Growth Programme. Remember though that it may take 6 months before you can see a real difference and it’s no substitute for eating well. Protein is important considering hair is made of 90 per cent protein; hair needs the consumption of at least 240g a day and vegetarians need to be especially careful.
When coping with significant hair loss adjusting can be challenging. If thin areas are very obvious you could consider hairpieces or scarfs. There really are some fantastic quality wigs and hairpieces with such natural colours, even beautiful balayages. And here at hair Professional we offer mynewhair which is advice, information and support for people experiencing medical hair loss. Anthea herself almost always wears hairpieces…she has a whole drawer full!
I hope this blog has help you feel more comfortable with you hair whether you’ve experienced a handful of hair loss a day or more extreme patterns.
If you are worried about thinning hair or visible patches please give us a call on 01622 677657 to arrange an appointment with one of our professional team.