There are things as heartbreaking as standing in front of the mirror and noticing thinning hair on your scalp. While it’s natural to lose 50-100 hairs a day, anything more than that could mean you’re in a tough spot.
What are the main causes of thinning hair?
There are a plethora of reasons for excess hair loss and thinning hair, including:
- Genetic or hereditary factors, such as androgenetic alopecia. In men, hair loss usually occurs on the top and front of the head. In females, the thinning occurs on the top and crown of the head.
- Recent delivery
- Old age
- Menopause or stopping birth control pills
- Autoimmune conditions such as alopecia areata, immune system deficiencies
- Significant weight loss in a short time
- Cicatricial alopecia
- Stress, depression
- Vitamin D, iron, folic acid, zinc, biotin deficiency
- Wearing tight hairstyles and using harsh hair products
- Colors or permanents
- Scalp psoriasis
Dietary deficiencies can also cause brittle hair shafts and dry scalp. It can make your hair look dull and lifeless and cause hair loss in children.
Hair thinning can also be due to acute reasons such as telogen effluvium, which is a type of non-scarring hair loss. While acute cases involve temporary hair loss and hair regrows after some time, chronic cases may have continuous hair loss.
What are the best treatments for thinning hair?
Here are some treatments:
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved medication proven to regrow hair. It is an over-the-counter medication that must be applied continuously. Any break in treatment protocols can lead to recurrent hair loss.
Minoxidil is available in liquid or foam form and is typically applied twice daily to the entire scalp. Scalp irritation, contact dermatitis, rapid heartbeat, and excessive hair growth on the face and neck are possible side effects.
Finasteride, popularly known as “Propecia”, was the first FDA-approved oral drug for male hair loss. It is only available by prescription and is generally not considered for pre-menopausal women. Women planning to start a family should avoid this drug due to side effects during pregnancy.
Generally, the 1 mg tablets should be taken daily. However, they come with a host of side effects, including erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia, and decreased libido.
It has also been shown to cause depression, ejaculation disorders and skin rashes. Taking Propecia for thinning hair should be a well-considered decision, but rates of side effects are rare.
3) Home remedies
Various home remedies have been passed down from generation to generation and may possibly help with thinning hair and excessive hair loss:
Massaging the scalp with your fingertips or with a handheld scalp massager can help promote blood circulation and promote hair growth.
Add the following essential oils while massaging your scalp:
- lavender oil
- rosemary oil
- thyme oil
- tulsi oil
- peppermint oil
- jojoba oil
- coconut oil
Always test the oil by applying it to your arms or legs to check for any allergic reactions.
4) Anti-thinning shampoos
They work in two ways. First of all, they give volume to the hair, making it denser and thicker. Second, they can help reduce hair loss.
If you suffer from conditions such as alopecia areata, prescription corticosteroids can stop your hair thinning by controlling inflammation of the hair follicle. They are either applied topically or injected directly into the scalp.
Note: Other treatments like dermarolling, ketoconazole, nizoral shampoo and PRP therapy are gaining popularity. Consult your dermatologist before trying them, however.
Smoking has also been linked to hair loss. If you are a smoker, quit immediately.
Can vitamins and minerals reduce hair thinning?
Hair is made up of a tough protein called keratin. A balanced diet high in complex carbohydrates, high in protein and adequate fats is necessary for proper hair growth.
Include the following vitamins and minerals in your diet:
- Iron – Green leafy vegetables, nuts, oats, tofu
- Zinc – oysters, red meat, poultry
- Folic acid – legumes, green leafy vegetables
- Biotin – nuts, egg yolks, organ meats, legumes
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – fish
- Selenium – Brazil nuts, chicken, fish, red meat
- Vitamin-D – fish, dairy, beef
Try to get enough sunlight throughout the day. You can also use multivitamins, fish oil supplements, and biotin supplements for additional support.
Follow the aforementioned diet and lifestyle tips to control hair thinning and promote hair growth. Always consult a dermatologist before starting any medication for your hair.