What Causes Hair Thinning & How to Stop it?
Hair thinning or losing hair is a common matter for every human being. It may happen while combing the hair or while bathing. On an average every adult human loses 50 to 100 hairs per day. However, any loss beyond that limit may be a sign of any other problem. Hair thinning or regular hair loss has multiple potential reasons, including food habits, deficiency of minerals and vitamins, medications for some other illnesses, severe stress, pollution, and certain genetic factors. As per the statistics, almost one third of the population of the world is suffering from hair thinning and hair loss and both men and women are facing the problem equally. Even in some illnesses, medications or physical problems children may also face the problem of hair thinning and hair loss.
What Causes Hair Thinning?
Experts are yet to fix up exact causes of hair thinning, but it is proved beyond doubt that the below mentioned factors have some sort of influence in hair fall or thinning–
- Hereditary Problems
- Certain Hormonal Changes
- Certain illnesses
- Poor Health habits
- Medications against certain illnesses.
These primary causes of hair thinning requires a little bit of explanations –
- Heredity Problems as a Cause of Hair Thinning: Hereditary condition is the most common reason of hair thinning due to loss of hair. Both male and female patterns of baldness are determined by the certain genes. It usually occurs progressively after a certain age. Thus heredity determines three aspects of hair fall – the age at which a person will begin to lose hair, the rate of hair fall, and the extent of baldness. Hair thinning due to hereditary reasons may begin as early as puberty.
- Certain Hormonal Changes to Cause Hair Thinning: Hormonal Changes influence hair thinning and hair loss to a great extent. Experts have established the following links between some hormonal imbalances and hair loss and thinning –
- Excess Estrogen: Excess estrogen in the body may cause loss and thinning of hair. In women, estrogen has several functions including longer hair life, but over secretion of this hormone causes sudden loss of hair.
- Insulin Issues: Insulin is the controller of blood sugar level in human body. However, increasing insulin resistivity of the body may cause faster hair loss. Both males and females are affected by this problem. Experts have even established a close relationship between Androgenic Alopecia with female pattern baldness.
- Testosterone Imbalance: Men carrying genes of male pattern baldness, inherit hair follicles that are oversensitive to hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Once testosterone is changed into DHT, it shrinks the hair follicles on the scalp, resulting in shorter and finer or thinner hair. Eventually, hair growth stops altogether. In case of females too, over secretion of testosterone results into lower rate of hair growth on the scalp.
- Low levels of Thyroid: Risk of both male and female patters of baldness increase due to low levels of Thyroid.
- Certain Illnesses Responsible for Hair Thinning: There are certain illnesses that may cause mild to severe hair thinning and hair loss –
- Thyroid Problems: Both due to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism hair can become thin and fall abundantly.
- Cancer: In different types of cancer like Hodgkin’s disease and liver cancer, hair may become thin and fall drastically.
- Lupus Disease: In this disease, hairs become brittle and fall in patches making them thin.
- Other Diseases: In other diseases like Muscular Dystrophy, Sarcoidosis, HIV and Syphilis etc., hair thinning and loss may be mild to severe.
- Hair Thinning Caused Due to Poor Health Habits: Some poor lifestyle habits or lifestyle changes may lead to hair thinning. Actually, whenever a person starts to lead his or her life against biological or natural conditions or starts to habit something that is not usual, immunity of that person downfall slowly. Here are some poor health habits that often ruin a person’s health and then causes hair fall and thinning at an abnormal rate-
- Poor eating habit with overindulgence on fast foods.
- Smoking and alcoholism
- Too much stress and tension
- Habit of staying awake late at night.
- Hair Thinning Caused Due to Medication Use: Medications are meant to cure varieties of diseases. However, in certain situations, medications may initiate hair thinning and hair falls. This is known as drug induced hair fall. Drugs cause hair thinning and hair loss by disturbing the normal cycle of hair growth on the scalp. Medication can initiate two types of hair losses – Anagen effluvium and Telogen effluvium. The anagen phase is a period when hair grows on the scalp and telogen phase is a period when hair stays on the scalp. After the end of telogen phase, hair falls off automatically. Some common types of drugs that may cause hair loss are as follows–
- Birth Control pills
- Anticlotting Drugs
- Epilepsy Drugs
- High BP controlling drugs
- Thyroid medications
- Weight loss drugs.
These drugs cause Telogen effluvium. On the other hand, drugs used for chemotherapy like Adriamycin, Doxorubicin, Docetaxel, Etoposide etc. cause Anagen effluvium.
What Causes Hair Thinning in Children?
Though hair loss in children in not a common problem, children who suffer from this problem are mostly diagnosed with any one or more of the below mentioned issues –
Hair Thinning in Children Caused Due to Tinea Capitis: This is commonly known as ringworm of the scalp, which is a disease triggered by a fungal infection of the skin of the scalp. If not treated in time, it can spread on the eyebrows, and eyelashes. In advanced stages it can even attack hair shafts and follicles.
- Alopecia Areata Can Cause Hair Thinning in Children: It is a sudden appearance of small patches of hair loss. The patches look smooth without any inflammation, scaling or broken hair. These patches may spread all over the scalp and appears overnight in most of the cases.
- Trauma as a Cause of Hair Thinning in Children: Trauma is another cause of hair loss in children when the hair shaft gets severely damaged due to traction or friction. The common cause of traction is consistent pressure caused by tight braids and pony tails etc., while friction may occur due to regular rubbing against a bed or back of a chair.
- Nutritional Deficiency in Children Can Cause Hair Thinning: Though not common, certain nutritional deficiencies like lack of Vitamin H, Vitamin B and minerals may cause hair thinning and hair loss in children.
How to Stop Hair Thinning?
Treatment for hair thinning and stopping it depends on the type and pattern of hair thinning in a person. Let us have a look at the different patterns of hair thing and the ways to stop it.
Treatment for Male Pattern Baldness
Treatment for hair thinning can be started only after diagnosing the actual cause of the problem. Again, treatment is not necessary if the person facing the problem is quite comfortable with his appearance. Some medicines are available, which the dermatologists often apply only after detecting the root cause of hair fall, but outcomes of medicinal treatments may not be positive always. For immediate remedies, many people these days use alternative treatment methods like hair transplantation.
Medications that are usually used for the treatment of male pattern baldness or to stop hair thinning are as follows:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine): This is a solution that is directly applied on the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It has the capacity to slow down the hair loss, but the problem may regain once the application of the solution is stopped.
- Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar): It’s an oral medicine that reduces the over production of testosterone in males. It slows down hair fall, but can’t bring any permanent remedy.
- Dutasteride: Its action is similar to that of Finasteride, but researchers have found this medicine a bit more effective than Finasteride to stop hair thinning or hair loss.
- Hair Transplantation: It’s an external and immediate remedy against balding. It consists of removing tiny plugs of hair from the back of the scalp where the hair normally grows and then placing them in the hair less zones. The process generally involves multiple sessions.
Treatment to Stop Hair Thinning in Women or Female Pattern Baldness
In 90% of situations, loss and thinning of hair in female pattern baldness is permanent. In most of the cases, hair loss is mild to moderate.
Dermatologists often prescribe Minoxidil for female pattern baldness. This medicine should be used for a long time. In many instances, doctors have noticed that once the medicine is stopped, problems relapse. Minoxidil helps hair grow in about 1 in 5 women. In most other cases, it may slow or stop hair loss. If this medicine doesn’t work, doctors may recommend other medicines like Cimetidine, Spironolactone, Birth control pills, and Ketoconazole among others.
In females too, hair transplantation is another quick but expensive procedure to cover up baldness or hair thinning.
Treatment to Stop Hair Thinning in Children
The treatment procedure to stop hair thinning or hair loss in children is somewhat different. Pediatricians look at the actual problems that are causing hair loss and then start treatments for those illnesses. In case of nutritional deficiencies, they prescribe food supplements for certain periods.
Home Remedies to Stop Hair Thinning
In a normal human being, there are more than 100,000 hair strands found on the scalp. As discussed before, 50-100 hairs normally fall every day. If hair fall crosses this limit on regular basis, matter should be taken seriously. There are several home remedies available to prevent and stop hair thinning; here are some widely used home remedies that are equally effective for males and females –
- Indian Gooseberry or Amla is an Effective Home Remedy to Stop Hair Thinning: This can be effectively used for quick hair growth and preventing excess hair loss and thinning. A mixture made of Indian Gooseberry pulp and lemon juice can be applied like hair oil. After allowing the mixture to stay on the scalp for 30 minutes, it is to be rinsed thoroughly. On regular use, hair grows fast and also looks very healthy.
- Home Remedy for Hair Thinning Using Onion Juice: Applying onion juice on scalp is another very effective home remedy for preventing hair fall and hair thinning and enhancing hair growth. After extracting two tablespoons of onion juice, it should be massaged thoroughly and allowed to stay for 15 minutes. Then, the hair should be rinsed with a good quality shampoo. Hair looks very healthy and hair fall decreases drastically while stopping hair thinning.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera contains some special enzymes that promote quick growth of hair. Aloe Vera gel and juice are available in the market. One just needs to choose the right one. It can be applied in small quantity 3-4 days every week to reduce hair fall and hair thinning naturally.
There are many other home remedies like paste of hibiscus, grounded licorice root, and fenugreek paste etc. available for preventing hair fall and thinning faster. However, if the problem is caused by any disease or unhealthy habits, then a thorough diagnosis and treatment is also required along with these home remedies.
Ideal Diet for Preventing Hair Thinning
Shiny, gorgeous and healthy hair is a result of a fit body and a healthy diet. Any kind of nutritional deficiencies can lead to several problems in hair including hair loss. Hence, whole foods full of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibers are a must for keeping body and hair healthy and strong. Here are some essential foods for healthy hair, which are also needed to decrease hair fall and reduce thinning of hair –
- Sea Fishes: Sea fishes are packed with Omega- 3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids make the hair healthy. Also the hair follicles grow stronger enough to hold the hairs tightly.
- Cinnamon: This popular spice not only adds flavor to foods, but also helps in smooth sailing of blood circulation. Thus scalp gets enough blood to prevent early aging of cells and hair thinning. This in turn helps in quick hair growth.
- Yogurt: It is full of protein- the building block of healthy hair. Yogurt also contains ingredients that helps smooth blood flow to your scalp and hair growth.
- Spinach: It is full of essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, beta carotene, folate, and fibers. It helps to grow hair homogeneously and quickly.
- Guava: This tropical fruit is high in vitamin C. It prevents hair breakage and strengthens fair follicles while preventing hair thinning.
Besides, many other foods like egg, potato, milk, green leafy vegetables and cereals should be eaten regularly to reduce hair fall.
Need of Medical Consultation for Hair Thinning
Hair fall is a normal matter, until and unless that has not been taking place in huge quantities. An individual should have the knowledge and capacity to understand the difference between normal hair fall and abnormalities related to it –
- If loss of hair is happening in an unusual pattern, including fast hair loss, hair loss in patches, or frequent hair breakage, then the condition should be conveyed to a dermatologist immediately.
- If loss of hair occurs with itching, irritation, redness, pain on the scalp etc. then the matter should be consulted with a medical practitioner.
- If hair loss is noticed right after starting any medication, it should be referred to the consulting doctor immediately.
Again, doctors can also be consulted for getting right diagnosis of regular hair fall and treating the symptoms accordingly.
Hair fall is inevitable particularly when there is a family history of the same. Again, some diseases, medicines or unhealthy lifestyles may also trigger hair fall. The matter becomes out of range if the rate of hair falls increases alarmingly. In such situations, a doctor’s advice may be advantageous. Moreover, one should be cautious about his or her lifestyle and eating habit. Over indulgence on fast foods, alcohol, and smoking etc. may aggravate the condition even further. Otherwise, hair fall is a normal event and it affects over 85% of people worldwide by the age of 50.