Understand why your hair is falling out or becoming thinner – causes can be medical, age-related, or lifestyle.
Stress & Trauma
Stress can produce increased levels of testosterone, which converts to DHT and interrupts the hair's growth cycle. Stress also constricts blood supply through the capillaries, restricting oygen, nutrient uptake and vitamins to the follicle.
Genetic factors of thinning hair
A common family predisposition of thinning hair involves natural, age-related hormonal changes that can trigger hair loss. This is caused by the conversion of testosterone into the toxin Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and can be inherited from either your mother or your father.
Health reasons for thinning hair
Several underlying health issues can cause hair thinning, including a malfunction of the hormone-producing thyroid or the natural hormonal changes women experience after pregnancy and during menopause.
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Environmental factors of thinning hair
Air and water pollutants, chlorine, metals and minerals may be left on the scalp and hair thus contributing to thinning. Pollutants such as pseudo-estrogens and toxins from within our bodies are also a factor.
The hair follicle is incredibly sensitive to changes in the body. Any hormone therapy (including birth control) can contribute to hair thinning as can steroids, specific chemotherapies and medication for blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and acne.
Nutrition & diet
What you eat can play a significant role in hair thinning. High consumption of animal fats, rapid weight loss and liquid protein diets can result in a lack of amino acids, biotin, iron, protein and zinc - all of which are essential for healthy-looking hair.
Hair growth is affected by a wide range of factors, and although hair loss is an issue often associated with older men many women are also confronted with reduced volume or thinning at some point in their lives. This can affect our self-esteem and our confidence, and is sometimes a symptom of other health issues that need addressing.
There are numerous causes of hair loss in women. Stress, lifestyle, diet, genetics, your surroundings, hormonal changes and medical issues can all be contributing elements to hair falling out or becoming thinner.
Around 70% of women over the age of 70 experience female-pattern baldness (the most common type of hair loss) and 40% of women experience hair thinning after menopause.
It is normal for men and women to shed a small amount of hair (around 100 hairs) on a daily basis. Hair loss or thinning occurs when certain triggers, such as those mentioned above, interrupt the hair’s healthy growth cycle and more hair than usual enters the resting (shedding) phase – resulting in noticeable areas of loss or considerably thinner, finer hairs.
Due to the ever-changing hormone levels throughout women’s lives, they are particularly vulnerable to some unique hair loss triggers attributed to hormonal change, such as pregnancy and menopause.
Causes Of Hair Loss In Women
The reasons for hair loss in women fall into a few key areas. Some causes are lifestyle-based, others are hormonal, and some are medical. Each woman may be affected differently; genetic predisposition also influences how the body responds to changes.
Not all changes to hair are permanent. If the hair follicle isn’t damaged and the hair loss isn’t a result of an internal medical issue (such as an autoimmune disease like alopecia areata), hair can grow back healthily once the imbalance is corrected.
Age-Related Hair Loss
Thinning hair and hair loss are often a normal part of aging, like going gray. Hair may become more brittle, the rate of growth slows, and hair follicles can shrink (affecting the density of each hair produced).
Hair loss in young women is less common, and often part of the body’s response to a change or stress that it is being subjected to.
Pregnancy and the postnatal period involve radical changes to a woman’s hormonal levels. A surge in estrogen and progesterone hormones can cause hair to become brittle and begin to thin; some women may also experience hair loss in the months following birth due to a thyroid hormone imbalance. These changes are usually temporary.
Unless you have an existing medical condition, many of the lifestyle measures that keep the rest of your body healthy will also help your hair to grow healthily. Lifestyle causes for changes in the hair condition can usually be rectified.
Diet and exercise keep both hair and body in optimum condition. Get regular exercise and eat foods that contain plenty of the important nutrients for healthy hair growth – like iron, biotin and zinc.
Dehydration can affect the skin, including the scalp derma, and prevent hair from growing through properly – hair condition may also be affected.
Smoking, high alcohol consumption and other lifestyle choices can negatively impact your hair, since they affect overall health. They may contribute to dehydration, or restrict minerals from reaching the scalp for hair growth.
Increased stress levels can result in hair falling out or thinning.
Hair styling and treatment – excessive strain from hairstyles, continued use of high heat, residue from hair products and a clogged scalp can all result in hair thinning or loss.
Female Pattern Baldness
When hair follicles produce hairs that cannot be seen, or ultimately shrink so much that they do not produce hair, this is known as female pattern baldness (female pattern hair loss).
As with male pattern baldness, genetic predisposition is a factor. However, the effect in women is not usually as severe – women are less likely to go completely bald, but may see a receding hairline at the temples, forehead or back of the head.
The body can respond to illness or medication with hair loss. Some illnesses do cause hair loss, or cause changes in hormone levels that can affect hair production – hair follicles may respond to stress in the body by going into the resting (shedding) phase.
Alopecia is the formal medical umbrella term for a number of hair loss conditions. They come in different forms; alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles. Read more about alopecia here.
Anemia is likely to affect hair quality due to the lack of iron in the body.
The thyroid produces hormones that facilitate and regulate cell reproduction – so thyroid disorders can affect hair production.
Polycystic ovaries, eating disorders and other illnesses that are more prevalent in women can result in hair loss or thinning, especially when hormone levels are affected.
Medication and medical treatment can cause hair loss (it is a known side-effect of chemotherapy, for example).
Many people experience changes to their hair at some point during their lives. While women also struggle with thinning hair and hair loss, men outnumber women in this category: 70% of men struggle with hair loss in comparison to 40% of women.
With such a high percentage, even if you’re not struggling with hair loss or thinning yourself it’s highly likely you know someone who is. However, the causes and manifestations differ from person to person. Your lifestyle choices, environment, hormones and genetics can all contribute to a reduction in hair coverage, and your experience of hair thinning or loss could differ from your best friend’s, or even your father’s.
It is understandable to have questions and concerns about your hair becoming thinner, receding at the hairline, or falling out. At SALON ALON, we can help you understand what is happening, and offer solutions to help hair appear thicker and fuller.
What Causes Hair Thinning & Loss In Men?
Many causes of hair loss and hair thinning are due to the interruption of the hair growth cycle, which has three phases – anagen (growth phase), catagen (follicle renewal) and telogen (resting). Hair normally sheds at the end of the telogen phase as a new hair pushes through, but a disrupted cycle could mean that hair sheds before new growth is fully ready.
Heredity, underlying medical conditions, or environmental causes like stress and unhealthy lifestyle choices could all be reasons for hair thinning, and in some cases progressing to a partial loss of hair (e.g. a receding hairline) or even total loss of hair on the head.
Geneticsis one of the main reasons for hair loss in men. If you have a family history of hair loss, it is possible that you will experience it too, and that fact holds true for both males and females. However, there are other reasons our hair thins or falls out, some of which we can control. Other causes include:
Hormonal changes, especially increases in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the male sex hormone. Some hormonal changes may be age-related.
Extreme dieting and malnutrition – hair grows from inside the body, so if the body is not supplying the correct nutrients hair growth may be substandard.
Medical and genetic conditions such as alopecia areata and male pattern baldness.
Medications and treatment used for diseases like arthritis and heart problems, and radiation for cancer patients.
Environmental factors such as polluted air or water.
Damage to the hair follicles through excessive straining (as with certain hairstyles) or harsh chemical treatments.
What Does Male Hair Loss Look Like?
Changes to the hair can happen quickly, or it can occur gradually over the years. Even though hair loss is associated with aging, it can begin sooner – in some cases as early as 21 years of age.
The first thing you may notice is more hair falling out, or areas where your hair looks thinner than it used to:
Your hair is thinner. If you’re noticing thinner patches of hair, you may be in the early stages of hair loss – though thinning hair can in itself be a distressing change, even if you do not progress to hair loss. Thinning in the crown area is common for men.
You notice a receding hairline. A change in hairline, whether slight or severe, can be a sign of hair loss. Hair usually begins thinning at the forehead or temples and moves toward the back of the scalp over time. Find out more about receding hairlines.
You see circular and patchy bald spots on your scalp. Coin-sized bald spots (or larger) are another way in which men experience hair loss. If you are also experiencing an itchy scalp, this could be a sign of psoriasis, dermatitis, or another skin condition. Read more about male balding.
You see large clumps of hair falling out. You may notice large clumps of hair on your pillow when you wake up, while brushing it or when showering.
Hair Thinning & Hair Loss Treatment For Men
There are a number of different ways to treat thinning and hair loss.
First, if you’re losing hair talk to your doctor or trichologist to see if a medical condition could be the cause. During your visit, it’s also a good idea to review the list of medications you are on to see if any of them could be contributing factors – your doctor may be able to recommend alternative medication.
You may want to try a different haircut, or hair styles to alleviate any strain on your roots, and to help hide light thinning.
Help your hair look thicker. Our treatments are formulated to combat hair thinning by helping hair to grow as full as possible, through giving attention to the derma (scalp skin and environment), density (hair follicles producing hairs) and diameter (hair growing through fully and at maximum thickness, without frequent breakage).
Medical interventions such as steroid injections or finasteride.
Surgical interventions such as hair transplants.
Ways To Help Prevent Hair From Thinning
Living a healthy lifestyle can both to help prevent hair thinning in the first place, and will support healthy hair growth.
Eat a rich, balanced diet high in vitamins and nutrients like biotin, iron, zinc, and Vitamin A. Avoid smoking cigarettes (some scientists believe cigarette smoke can harm hair follicles and damage hormones), get plenty of rest, and drink alcohol in moderation.
Try to keep your stress levels low, as stress can disrupt the hair growth cycle. Exercise, meditation, or relaxing with a good book are a few good ways to de-stress.
Hear what people who’ve actually experienced the Salon Alon difference have to say about what we did for them.
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