Thinning Hair: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Remedies

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Alopecia Areata, Guide | HairMD | June 1, 2021

What is Hair Thinning?

We lose about fifty to a hundred hairs per day, and that is perfectly normal. The lost hair follicles are replaced by new ones, but as people grow older, their hair may grow thinner and start to lose shine, volume, and strength. Gradually, new hair won’t grow from the hair follicles and the hair will start turning grey as well. Apart from the age factor, there are other reasons for thinning hair and loss.

Causes of Hair Thinning

Some of the possible hair thinning causes are mentioned as follows.

Male or female pattern hair loss

Thinning hair may be the onset of pattern baldness which is also called androgenetic alopecia. It is caused due to genes and hormones and affects both men and women. Although it frequently affects individuals as they age, it can also happen to teenagers. Generally, men will experience some form of hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia by 50 years of age or older. Women are more likely to experience this following menopause.
The pattern of hair thinning is different in men and women. Men experience thinning hair on top of the head which starts at the hairline to the back of the head while women experience hair thinning at the crown.

Alopecia areata

In this condition, the hair starts to thin and then falls out forming round patches on the scalp. Alopecia areata affects the hair on other parts of the body as well, such as the eyebrows and beard. The major reasons behind this condition are genes and environmental factors.
As the hair follicles are still alive in alopecia areata, there is a chance of growing them back. The treatment involves injecting corticosteroids into the scalp for up to six months.

Lifestyle habits

These are among the key reasons that cause hair thinning in people. Some of them include

  • Excessive use of hair colours, relaxers, perms, etc.
  • Using hair products like extreme-hold hair sprays and gels.
  • Hairstyles that pull the hair tightly can break it from the follicles leading to thin spots over time.

Diet

Protein is an important component of hair. Besides, micronutrients including vitamins and minerals are also essential for maintaining a proper hair follicle growth cycle. The deficiency of proteins and micronutrients can therefore lead to hair thinning. Maintaining good dietary habits and eating healthy and nutritious food can help to maintain strong hair as well as promote healthy hair growth. It can also help to prevent the signs of damaged hair, such as brittle hair shafts, dull and dry hair, dandruff, etc.

Vitamin D deficiency

The deficiency of vitamin D in the body has been linked to alopecia areata according to some studies. It stimulates the hair follicles and promotes hair growth. Hence, its deficiency may lead to hair loss and other symptoms as well.

Stress

Prolonged periods of stress can cause your hair to become thinner than usual. This condition is called telogen effluvium. However, the hair loss caused due to stress is not permanent, and as soon as the stress tends to fade away, people start regaining their normal volume of hair. It is recommended to consult healthcare professionals who can help to pass through times of stress and its effects. Talk therapy and behavioural therapy can work wonders to help individuals deal with stressful events and anxiety and take control of their lives.

Pregnancy

Some women do experience some hair thinning and loss during or after their pregnancy. Generally, the hair grows back to normal without needing any treatment.
Other less common causes of thinning hair including hair pulling due to trichotillomania, eating disorders, high fever, etc. One thing to note here is that thinning hair is not alopecia. Alopecia is a condition that leads to widespread hair loss. Although thinning hair may eventually lead to hair loss, they are two different entities.

How Is Hair Thinning Diagnosed?

Generally, your doctor or dermatologist will take a look at the pattern of your hair loss to diagnose the probable reason for thinning hair. They will ask you about your dietary habits, preexisting medical conditions, and a family history of medical conditions that could cause hair thinning.
They may also send a sample of your hair or scalp for further laboratory testing. Sometimes, hair thinning could occur as a consequence of autoimmune conditions. So, they might order certain blood tests as well.

Treatment Options for Hair Thinning

In most cases, prescription medications are the preferred course for hair thinning treatment. Two drugs that have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia are minoxidil and finasteride. Other than that, spironolactone may also be prescribed.

Minoxidil:

It can be directly applied to the areas of thinning hair. It is available in two percent and 5 percent treatments and have proven quite effective as a hair thinning treatment. Results of the medication can be seen in six months to a year.
Minoxidil as a solution for thinning hair is safe to use, but people taking the medication have to continue its use to prevent further hair loss. Rare side effects may include skin irritation, excessive hair growth, and contact dermatitis.

Finasteride:

Sold under the brand name ‘Propecia’, the finasteride has to be taken orally. It is a prescription drug. People who have tried minoxidil without any results can take finasteride 1 mg daily as suggested by their doctor. Some side effects that have been linked with finasteride are erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia, and decreased libido.

Spironolactone:

People with thinning hair related to androgen production may be prescribed spironolactone. This medication can treat thinning hair and hair loss related to hormonal fluctuations in women. However, a prior blood test is necessary.

Laser therapy:

Individuals who have hair loss due to their genetics or as a result of chemotherapy may benefit from laser therapy. Laser therapy, also called red light therapy, has shown some evidence of stimulating the epidermal stem cells and improving hair density.

Platelet-rich plasma:

The platelet-rich plasma treatment is used to stimulate hair growth in areas that have already been affected by hair loss. The platelets are extracted by running the blood through a centrifuge and then injected into the scalp.

Hair Thinning Home Remedies

Some of the remedies to improve hair quality and growth are mentioned as follows. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before starting out on any thinning hair home remedies.

Scalp massage:

This is probably one of the best and easiest home remedies for thinning hair and scalp health. While massaging, you can use your fingertips to apply pressure on the scalp to encourage blood flow.

Essential oils:

Primarily, essential oils are used in aromatherapy and medicines. Some have been used to treat hair thinning and baldness, such as lavender, rosemary, and thyme. More evidence backing their effectiveness is necessary, so try it after consulting a doctor or dermatologist.

Shampoos:

You can use anti-hair fall shampoos consisting of essential vitamins and amino acids as prescribed by your doctor to prevent itchy scalp and thinning hair.

Multivitamins:

Your doctor may perform a blood test to determine if you are deficient in any nutrients that could be causing thinning hair. A multivitamin may be recommended based on that. For thick and strong hair, iron, zinc, and folic acid are necessary.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids:

The body can’t make omega-3 and omega-6 on its own. They can be beneficial in fighting inflammation in the body, which can be an underlying cause for hair thinning or premature hair loss. Hence, plant-based oils and fish must be added to the diet or taken as supplements.

Yoga:

Practicing yoga can help to relieve stress and prevent hair thinning and loss as well. Some of the yoga poses that you can practice every day are camel pose, forward bend, fish pose, kneeling pose, etc.

When To Consult A Doctor?

In most cases, thinning hair is not linked with overall health problems. If a person is concerned about hair loss, or if it affects their mental well-being, they can see a doctor.
If a person loses a lot of hair with no known cause, they should see their doctor. This is especially important if they have recently made dietary changes or started taking supplements.
The doctor may recommend that a person sees a skin specialist, or dermatologist, to determine the best ways to treat thinning hair.

Why Choose HairMD?

At HairMd, we offer holistic treatment methods to the patients who visit us for their hair thinning and other hair issues. Our panel of dermatologists is well-experienced in accurately diagnosing the root cause of your hair loss and work with the team to come up with the best possible medication and treatment for helping you grow your hair back to full volume.

With our expertise and advanced treatment procedures, we have been able to offer a high success rate to all our patients in controlling hair fall, baldness, and other issues. We understand that losing hair could have devastating impacts on the self-esteem and self-image of an individual, and we strive to help our patients solve their hair problems through our customized and effective hair loss treatments.

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