5 Ways to Deal With Thinning Hair

By on December 13, 2013

Just like all the other parts of our body, our hair also changes as we age. In addition to experiencing extra dryness, breakage, pesky new textures and unruly grays, you may also begin to experience thinning hair as the years pile on.

If getting older is the cause for your sparser strands, you can usually remedy the condition easily by using an anti-aging shampoo system that’s specially formulated to battle mild thinning and hair loss.

However, hair loss has many other causes, and for women, it can be an emotionally draining and painful experience to go through.

The following are five ways for women to deal with thinning hair, based on what may be the cause. Please note, this article is informative only. Consult your doctor ASAP if you notice sudden or major hair loss. It could be a sign of more serious condition, such as an autoimmune or thyroid disorder.

The medical term for excessive or abnormal hair loss is Alopecia. There are many factors that can contribute to this condition in women, from stress and lower estrogen levels due to childbirth, to hereditary genes or a serious illness, as mentioned above. Here, we are going to deal with the simpler causes—ones that can usually be reversed by lifestyle changes and over-the-counter hair care treatments.

1. Stress

We’ve all heard that stress can make your hair turn gray, but did you know that it can also be a key culprit for hair loss, as well?

An average, a healthy head of hair contains about 120,000-150,000 strands, and sheds about 100 a day, according to WebMD. If you’re undergoing a significantly stressful situation, something worrisome enough to keep you up at night or cause appetite loss, you may experience a shift in your hormones. And this shift can lead to a thinning out of your hair.

What You Can Do: Chill out, if possible. Ask yourself if your situation is really as serious as you are making it out to be in your mind. Sometimes talking with friends, family, or even a therapist can help you access the true nature of your dilemma and lower your levels of worry. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing a legitimately tough time (such as a death in the family or a divorce) in which case, a visit to the doctor or dermatologist might help you get a handle on your hormone shifts or scalp situation.

You should also treat yourself to some calming “me time” when possible. Run a bath, put on some relaxing music and try using a shampoo formulated for thinning hair.

2. Dry Scalp and Dandruff

A dry, itchy scalp doesn’t just cause discomfort and unsightly white flakes on your shoulders. It can also be a key reason for thinning hair. Hair follicles can become clogged with dead skin cells and bacteria build up, which keeps your strands from growing in fully and healthily.

What You Can Do: This issue can be easily managed with the regular use of an intensive dandruff shampoo designed for dry scalps, such as Kiehl’s Deep Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, $20 followed by Kiehl’s Scalp Purifying Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $18.

3. Excessive Heat and Hair Styling

Of course we all use blow dryers and styling products, but hairspray, gel, mousse and heat all take an eventual toll on our delicate strands, especially if you blow dry and style on a daily basis. Heat tools can wreak havoc on your hair, sucking out moisture, causing major breakage, and creating splits ends up and down the entire shaft of the hair strand. Too much product can also cause brittle hair, dry scalp and the build up of dead skin cells, which halts healthy hair growth.

What You Can Do: Try cutting back on using heat tools (and avoid ceramic blow dryers, which intensify the heating process) and use styling products sparingly.

4. Shampooing Your Hair Too Much

It’s a bit of a catch-22. You need a clean, healthy scalp in order for luscious locks to grow, but at the same time, over-cleansing can deplete the scalp of natural oils that keep hair hydrated and balanced. Plus, some shampoos can also strip your hair of much-needed moisture.

What You Can Do: Part of your shampoo routine depends on your hair type—if you have oily hair, washing frequently might be necessary. But normal to dry hair does not need to be washed every day. Try cutting down to two to three times a week. If you’re finding that your hair feels dirty and/or looks greasy in between washes, try using a gentle dry shampoo, which soaks up excess oil and dirt, refreshes dull locks and adds volume.

5. Lack of Protein

If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, this may be another reason for thinning hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, if you’re body is not getting enough, “it rations the protein it does get, and one way the body can ration protein is to shut down hair growth.”

What You Can Do: Add more protein-rich foods to your diet, such as fish, meat and eggs. If you’re a vegetarian, green peas, quinoa and nuts (to name just a few) are other great sources of  protein-packed foods.

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