Our hair is an important part of our appearance and is an expression of our own unique style. It’s so important that it can greatly affect our self-image and confidence. Just think how having one “bad hair day” can make you feel. Now, imagine how you would feel if you lost all your hair.
Hair loss can be caused by a number of things such as normal aging, menopause, stress, alopecia, etc. Or, perhaps balding was predestined in your genetics since it can be hereditary. It’s important to be aware of the various causes so you can take steps to stop hair loss. Here are the top 10 causes of hair loss or thinning hair along with helpful solutions:
- Tight hairstyles like cornrows, dreadlocks, ponytails and braids can cause breakage or hair loss, which is known as traction alopecia. It is caused by chronic pulling of the hair, leading to gradual hair loss, mostly at the hairline.
Solution: Let your hair down, literally, and opt for more natural, looser hairstyles. Also, avoid using rubberbands on your hair because they cause breakage.
- Trichotillomania is the habitual, almost compulsive plucking or pulling of the hair on the head or body. Over time, this results in bald spots and scarring of the scalp, which can lead to permanent hair loss.
Solution: Stop pulling your hair out is the simple answer, but people who compulsively pull their hair out may need to seek counseling to work through deeper issues.
- Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can cause hair loss due to the thyroid gland not producing enough hair-related hormones. Hypothyroidism is the number one cause of patchy hair loss known as alopecia areata.
Solution: If you suspect you may have an underactive thyroid, you should see your doctor to be tested and receive treatment.
- Autoimmune conditions can lead to hair loss when the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy tissues, which can include your hair. When the immune system attacks hair follicles or other cells or tissues that are important for hair growth and maintenance, it can result in hair loss including cicatricial alopecia (a type of permanent hair loss) and telogen effluvium (which happens when the hair growth cycle is interrupted).
Solution: While there is no cure for alopecia areata, sometimes it can be successfully treated with prescription medications and topical products. There are also some cosmetic things that can be done such as wearing wigs or hair pieces, or using make-up to hide bald spots. Stress may be a factor in this condition, so reducing stress is also recommended.
- Infections such as ringworm can lead to hair loss. Ringworm is caused by a fungus. It is the leading infection that affects the scalp and hair. It causes itchy, red, scaly bald spots. Ringworm is contagious and can easily spread from person to person through direct contact, so if one person in the family is infected, the whole family should be checked for it.
Solution: Ringworm is treated with anti-fungal medication.
- Chemotherapy can cause gradual or extreme hair loss depending on the drugs used.
Solution: Thankfully, the hair usually grows back on its own after some time.
- Medications can cause hair loss as an unwanted side effect. Besides chemotherapy drugs, there are many other drugs that may cause hair to fall out. These include anti-thyroid medications, birth control pills, anti-convulsion drugs, anti-coagulants, beta-blockers, etc. These medications tend to cause rapid hair loss when unusually large numbers of hairs suddenly go from the growth phase to the resting phase, and then fall out.
Solution: New hair growth usually replaces the hairs that fell out.
- Vitamin & mineral deficiencies can cause hair loss because your body requires specialized nutrients for healthy hair growth and maintenance, and if you’re not getting enough of them, hair loss can result. It’s important to remember that getting the proper nutrition on the inside of your body is more important than any topical mousses or gels that you apply to the outside of your body, including your hair. Nutritional deficiencies can be caused by a crash diet, malnutrition, or a genetic or biological defect.
Solution: Eat a healthy diet and make sure you get your vitamins and minerals by taking a nutritional supplement such as Healthy Choice Naturals Hair, Skin and Nail Essentials. It supports your hair health from the inside-out by providing all the vitamins and nutrients that are required for lustrous, manageable hair, as well as youthful skin and strong nails. Its comprehensive all-natural formula includes: vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, plus folic acid, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, MSM, collagen, L-cysteine, Panthenol, horsetail extract, and inositol.
- Severe physical stress, such as having surgery, or severe psychological stress, such as having a death in the family, can affect the body in different ways, including causing hair loss. Severe stress can shock the body and flood it with various hormones and metabolites. This may cause hair to suddenly shed.
Solution: The lost hair is usually replaced with new hair growth without the need for treatment. However, it’s always a good idea to reduce and manage stress in your life by learning relaxation techniques, doing yoga, exercising, and taking time out from your busy schedule to meditate, read a book, do some gardening, or other activities you enjoy. Seek counseling if your issues with stress seem insurmountable.
- Male pattern baldness, known as androgenetic alopecia, is when the hair recedes in an “M” shape on the head, mainly affecting men. (Women don’t usually have receding hairlines.) This is usually a hereditary condition.
Solution: Many treatments are available, but they aren’t guaranteed to work and most of them only help slow hair loss, although some may help with hair regrowth.
Hair is an expression of our unique style and personality, and the appearance of our hair is closely linked with our self-image. So it’s comforting to know that there are simple things we can do to support natural hair growth and stop hair loss, such as improving our diet and taking health supplements to make sure we’re getting all the necessary nutrients to fortify and strengthen our hair from the inside-out.
Of course, you’ll also want to be extra gentle with your hair care and avoid any harsh products, hair dyes, and go easy on hair drying and styling tools (like curling irons and flat irons) that can damage your hair and cause hair loss.
Tips for Fine or Thinning Hair
Here are some additional tips to protect fine or thinning hair, add volume and stop hair loss:
- Try coloring your hair: Coloring your hair can add body and volume, but beware if you have ultra-fine hair as hair can easily be damaged from over-processing. For best results, have your hair colored by a professional hair stylist.
- Turn up the volume: Many “volumizing” hair products contain paraffin, or beeswax, which is bad for hair because it can build up and cause breakage. Choose products that won’t weigh your hair down, such as a mousse product. Apply mousse to the roots and then blow dry while applying tension with a large round brush to add volume. Then, finish with an anti-frizz and anti-humidity hairspray.
- Don’t over-shampoo: Shampooing every day is hard on your hair, and forget about the instructions that say to “shampoo, rinse and repeat.” Shampooing once every few days does the job. Shampooing robs your hair of natural oils and can leave it dry and brittle. Only shampoo when your hair is dirty, which for most people is every few days. It’s important to use a good moisturizing conditioner after shampooing.
- Choose a hairstyle designed for fine hair: You have to take extra precautions if you have finely textured or thinning hair. Be especially careful when applying any heat directly to your hair such as with blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons. Never use the highest temperature settings for heat styling tools. Also, avoid using curl-relaxing products because they contain harsh chemicals that can damage hair and cause further hair loss.
- Try getting a permanent body wave: As a last resort for thin hair, try getting a permanent body wave to add volume, but only if your hair is healthy and isn’t already damaged from over-processing. For best results, have it done by a professional stylist and avoid tight permanents because they can damage your hair and cause frizzy, unmanageable curls that you’ll be stuck with until your hair grows out.