How to Stop your Hair from Thinning
So, you think you have a problem, and your hair is falling out? What gives? You’ve probably asked yourself this question numerous times. Maybe you’re downright youthful—in your 20’s or 30’s without any genetic inkling that you’d start losing your hair at this age. Or maybe you’re in your 40’s or 50’s and simply want to slow the natural hair thinning that often comes with the aging process. In this article, we’re going to look at the most effective solutions to stop the thinning of your hair, so that lustrous locks and a thicker mane can be your happy reality.
To be clear, thinning hair is different from major hair loss. Hair thinning is not the same as alopecia, which is major hair loss. Hair thinning is the topic of this particular article. When your hair begins to thin, it can be classified as moderate hair loss, and it happens bit by bit, slowly, and over a period of time. And just remember. Losing a minute amount of hair daily is totally normal. Your hairbrush naturally collects hair each time you use it. And sometimes, you’ll see grey hair fall out on its own. I know I have strands of white/grey hair that tend to fall out here and there. It’s nothing I worry about. And if you lose a little hair each day, you shouldn’t worry either.
Habits to avoid
When it comes to the thinning of hair, there are a few lifestyle choices you’ll want to stop doing. The first has to do with the use of chemicals. If you regularly get your hair treated with relaxers, perms, or various coloring treatments, you’ll want to stop. That is, if you’re serious about stopping the thinning of your hair. You’ll also want to stop using chemical-laden products on your hair, as they can cause hair thinning, too. If you use conventional hair spray, hair gels, hair creams, artificial hair color, and the like, stop now. There are natural alternatives out there that don’t cause hair thinning.
Another habit to stop is wearing your hair up in a ponytail or bun that’s too tight. Sometimes this tugging on the hair leads to slight hair loss as it pulls at the hair follicles, thereby causing potential spots of sparse hair. And perhaps the most important habit to get rid of is unwanted stress. If your stress levels are out of control, chances are, you’re noticing strands of hair falling out. Stress leads to hair thinning because of the elevated cortisol levels that ensue with excess stress. In excess, cortisol might inhibit new hairs from growing from hair follicles, thus contributing to hair thinning.
Other factors that cause the thinning of hair
Sometimes, your genes are the primary cause of unwanted hair loss. Did your mom or dad experience premature hair thinning? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll follow suit, as genetics are the most common reason for hair loss. And, there’s nothing you can do about your genes. Although there is something called epigenetics, which typically means our lifestyle habits trump our predestined genetic makeup. There are plenty of solutions you can take for hair thinning to override your genes, which we’ll cover below.
If you’ve recently given birth, you may experience hair thinning due to dramatic hormonal shifts that naturally take place during and after pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for a woman to lose minimal amounts of hair, only to get it back some months after giving birth. In fact, there’s even a scientific name for this kind of hair loss. In medical circles it’s known as telogen effluvium. And it typically gets better on its own, with time.
Anytime you experience hormonal shifts, there’s a chance for some hair loss. If you’re in the throes of perimenopause, you’re a prime candidate for hair thinning.
You’ve lost an extreme amount of weight
Losing a lot of weight in a relatively short amount of time can also lead to hair thinning. This is the case due to the hormones that usually become imbalanced when there’s significant weight loss in a relatively short period of time. If this is you, don’t worry, you’ll get your thick mane back once your weight stabilizes. Aim to lose weight gradually—little by little, over time.
Scalp issues and skin issues are often linked. Certain disorders of the skin can lead to hair thinning. And scalp disorders can lead to skin rashes. Psoriasis, for example, is one such issue. It’s also an autoimmune disorder. Many autoimmune disorders cause hair thinning and/or hair loss.
Your immune system is deficient
Those experiencing immune deficiencies are more likely to experience hair thinning. Boost your immune system by eating a nutrient-dense diet that spans the colors of the rainbow. Get outside, bask in the sun, and exercise daily.
You’re going through treatment for an autoimmune disorder
If you’re currently in the throes of treatment for an autoimmune disorder, you’re at greater risk for hair thinning. Many autoimmune diseases are linked to hair thinning and hair loss. The most common are: lupus, Hashimoto’s disease, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, Graves’ disease, and alopecia areata, which is the most common autoimmune disorder leading to hair loss—major hair loss, that is.
You have an eating disorder
Those with eating disorders may also experience hair thinning and hair loss. Dry and thinning hair, for example, is a typical symptom of anorexia. Those who suffer from bulimia may also experience hair thinning. These are serious conditions which beg medical attention.
You pull your hair
Many of us have nervous ticks like biting our nails or pulling at our hair. The latter can lead to hair thinning. If this is something you’re familiar with, do your best to relax. Yoga, pranayama (deep breathing techniques), and meditation greatly reduce stress. So does swimming and exercising in nature.
You have hypothyroidism
Your thyroid needs to be balanced to ensure the health of your hair. If your thyroid is underactive, and failing to release the necessary amount of thyroid hormones, then you have hypothyroidism, and there’s a good chance you’ll experience some hair thinning or hair loss. You can balance your thyroid in a number of ways, or seek medical guidance to do the trick.
Minerals to take
Certain vitamins and minerals are really good for your hair. And if you’re deficient in any of these, you’ll want to make sure you supplement. So, make sure you’re getting enough of the following nutrients:
Folic acid’s a B vitamin that’s believed to support the generation of new cells in your hair. This vitamin may help the hair follicles in your scalp generate hair growth. So, if you’ve got spots that seem to be gradually balding, you may want to take a folic acid supplement, or a multivitamin that contains folic acid. While there’s not enough scientific evidence that proves folic acid to be a sure thing when it comes to preventing hair loss and thickening hair, it doesn’t hurt to take a supplement, especially if you suspect you may be deficient.
Also known as vitamin B7, biotin may help with hair growth. This water-soluble nutrient is also known as vitamin H, for hair. Most people aren’t deficient in biotin. But, it does pay to eat foods that have ample amounts of this hair-healthy nutrient. The best food sources for biotin are various nuts, lentils, and liver. Note: if you’re taking a B5 supplement, you won’t want to take biotin, as the two cancel out each other.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are so good for so many things. Their health benefits are truly endless. One such benefit has to do with the health of our hair. These essential fatty acids are said to promote hair growth and hair thickness.
Additional natural remedies for hair thinning
Some of the most effective solutions for moderate hair loss can be done by yourself and in the comfort of your own home. Here they are:
Aromatherapy for hair thinning
Essential oils, the aromatherapeutic essence of plants, have so many health benefits, including those for your hair. Some of the best essential oils to use for healthy hair are:
- Lavender essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Thyme essential oil
- Lemongrass essential oil
If you’re wondering how to use essential oils, you can certainly purchase high-quality natural hair products which contain them. Or, you can make your own. One simple way to use them is to simply mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil with a tablespoon of a good carrier oil like coconut oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and even extra-virgin olive oil. Just massage your scalp with this aromatic blend, and let it sit for 10 minutes before shampooing.
Scalp massage for hair thinning
Can a scalp massage actually prevent your hair from thinning? Some research suggests that regular scalp massages can lead to thicker hair. One such study, published in the journal Eplasty, suggests that a standardized scalp massage could result in hair thickness. Another study, published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy, suggests the same. Whenever you wash your hair, simply give yourself a nice scalp massage in the process. A little self-care daily goes a long way!
Multivitamins for hair thinning
If you want to stop (or prevent) hair thinning, or you simply want healthy, lustrous hair, then you have to maintain overall good health. Taking a daily multivitamin, one that’s made from whole foods, is one such way of doing so. Healthy hair demands a body that’s full of nutrition, rather than one that’s nutrient deficient. Multivitamins that contain iron, zinc, and folic acid will support the health of your hair, and possibly prevent your hair from thinning in spots.
Vitamin A for healthy hair
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for hair growth. This study suggests that vitamin A, and its derivatives (retinoids) supports the healthy production of sebum, thus helping your scalp retain its hair. The best way to consume vitamin A is by eating whole foods that contain this essential nutrient. Foods with high amounts of vitamin A include: sweet potatoes, spinach, and sweet peppers. And if you’re wondering what foods you should eat to increase the growth of your hair, here’s a short list:
Best foods for hair growth
- Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries
- Nuts and seeds like Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts
- Red meat (which should be eaten in moderation)
- Coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and avocado oil
- Beans and legumes
Eat adequate amounts of protein
If you’re not eating enough protein, you’re going to be more apt to experience hair thinning. Why? Because a protein known as keratin comprises your hair follicles. Many people who experience hair thinning and various degrees of hair loss are deficient in amino acids, which make up protein. While it’s not a proven fact that protein deficiency leads to the thinning of your hair, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take this naturally preventative measure and pay attention to your protein intake. And while you’re at it, I recommend eating all types of protein, rather than just one kind. Eat everything from fatty fish like salmon, to nuts, seeds, chicken, eggs, and various beans and legumes. Not only will your hair love you for it, so will the rest of your body.
Eat plenty of iron
Iron deficiency can lead to hair thinning. And severe anemia typically leads to major hair loss. If you think you should be consuming more iron, take that multivitamin, and most importantly, get your iron from whole food sources, which include: prunes, figs, apricots, tofu, beans and lentils, oysters, liver, chicken, and lean red meats.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to prevent hair thinning. Change your lifestyle (for the better) and let your locks grow long and lustrous!