While it’s common to lose 50 to 100 hairs per day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), any more than this could mean you’re shedding more than you should. This could contribute to overall thinning hair which gives the appearance of sparser spots of hair on your head. Thinning hair typically happens gradually, so you have time to pinpoint the causes and determine the best treatment measures. Hair loss or thinness can happen for various reasons.
To learn more about common causes for thinning hair, we spoke with Krysta Withrow, co-owner and hair stylist at Amari Salon and Spa, and Alisa Vitti, founder of FLO Living and Functional Nutrition and women’s hormone expert. They said hormonal changes, stress, or poor nutrition can cause thinning hair. If you’re dealing with thinning hair, it’s important to see a dermatologist to get to the root (pun intended!) of the problem and figure out how to prevent hair loss. Before you go to your doctor’s appointment, check out some of the most common causes of hair loss!
Both men and women can develop hormonal imbalances that can cause hair to thin or fall out. Usually, if you treat the imbalance of hormones, your hair can start growing back. Although most people think of estrogen or testosterone when they think of a hormone imbalance, thyroid issues can also lead to hair thinning. Once your hormonal imbalance is corrected, your hair should begin to regrow and you’ll probably feel healthier overall.
Chronic stress can put people at risk for a variety of health problems like depression and anxiety, as well as problems with sleep and digestion. Stress is also a leading cause for rapidly thinning hair. It kills new hairs that your follicles are trying to grow and causes your existing hair to loosen earlier in the hair growth cycle than it normally would.
Although we know it can be easy, and a little condescending, to just say “lower your stress levels,” there are necessary steps you can take to actually relax. Withrow says there are ways to manage stress levels through “regular exercise,” “relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga,” and by eating “a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein and vitamins.” It’s also important to make an appointment with a therapist to determine and alleviate what’s causing you stress.
Consuming foods that are high in sugar, vitamin A, and mercury can also lead to hair loss. Although it’s not necessary to completely remove these foods from your diet, your hair might do better without them.
Vitti emphasizes that “the key foods you want to avoid are the ones that increase inflammation and oxidative stress in your body,” which she says disrupts major hormones and “absolutely will negatively impact the health of your hair.” This means it might be better to forgo sugary foods, fried foods, and alcohol since Vitti stresses the importance of protein so that your body can “produce the keratin needed to make and grow hair.”
Experts also advise against excessively eating animal-sourced foods, because they contain heavy amounts of vitamin A and mercury. Common vitamin A-heavy foods include beef or lamb liver, liver sausage, goat cheese, and butter. While foods with high levels of mercury include fish like swordfish, king mackerel, and tuna.
Instead, Withrow recommends, “Foods high in proteins like eggs, fish, nuts, legumes, and lean meats can help to promote healthy hair growth. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or sardines can also help to nourish the scalp and stimulate new growth. In addition to protein-rich foods, consuming foods high in vitamins A (carrots), C (citrus fruits) and E (avocados) can also be beneficial for promoting healthy hair growth in women with thinning hair.” Nice! There are also hair serums you can use on your scalp to prevent hair loss and hairstyles you can use to hide any gaps in your hairline.
Just remember, thinning hair is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Once you determine the cause of your hair loss, you can better understand your situation, how to prevent it, and how to start growing your hair back.
Author: Georgia Dodd
Georgia Dodd is a New York-based editorial assistant at SheFinds Media. When she’s not covering the latest in wellness, beauty, fashion, and celebrity news for SheFinds, she spends her time reading sci-fi books, trying new foods, and listening to a true crime podcast. You can reach Georgia at [email protected]
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