If you have thinning hair, you’re not alone.
In fact, it’s perfectly normal to lose around 50 to 100 hairs every day. The amount of hair you have—as well as your hair type—is predetermined by your genetic makeup. Basically, everyone experiences some hair loss here and there since the rate of hair growth also slows a bit as you get older. It’s life—and we’re all in it together.
But on top of the natural progression of hair loss, several other factors can exacerbate thinning strands. Interested in learning more? Read on to discover everything you need to know about hair thinning.
How Exactly does Hair Grow?
The first thing to know about hair thinning is that it’s actually pretty complex. You see, your hair grows in three stages.
These stages include a growth phase from a root in the hair follicle, a transitional phase when the growth comes to a halt, and a resting phase, after which the hair falls out, and the follicle takes a little break before sprouting out another hair.
Like we said, it’s perfectly normal to lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day, which you might notice on your pillow in the morning, in the shower, or on your hairbrush.
You are born with roughly 100,000 follicles on your scalp, and you will never gain or lose any.
However, as you age, some follicles may stop producing hair. You may experience hair loss, also called anagen effluvium. How and when this actually happens is influenced by a bunch of different factors, including our genetics, vitamin deficiency, and the natural hormone changes we experience as we get older.
But you might also experience some hair shedding at certain points in your life, which is a separate process from hair loss.
What is Hair Shedding?
Hair shedding is more often caused by temporary changes in hormones, like stopping hormonal birth control, giving birth, or experiencing life stressors, like recovering from a serious illness.
Harsh hair products, nutritional deficiencies, and even certain hairstyles can also cause hair shedding. So, be sure to take good care of yourself.
If your hair happens to be shedding, that means it is falling out much more quickly than it should be because it is being shoved into the resting phase too early. But if you are experiencing hair loss, on the other hand, that means something is stopping the hair from actually growing in the first place. As many different factors can lead to hair loss, it is essential to figure out which one you are dealing with before attempting any treatment methods.
If you’re not exactly sure how many hairs you’re losing in a single day (totally understandable), you can test it with the 60-second hair count.
Simply, comb your hair forward from the back of your head to the front for a full 60 seconds. Collect and count the strands of hair that fell during the process -- you should see between ten and twenty strands (depending on your age).
If you see more than that, there’s a good chance you might be dealing with some excess hair loss. To get the most accurate idea of how many strands of hair you are losing, you might want to do this test a few days in a row.
Once you know exactly what you’re up against, there are some easy things you can do to help manage your thinning hair.
How to Care for Thinning Hair
Tip #1: Eat Hair-Healthy Foods
Believe it or not, your diet plays a major role in the strength and health of your hair. Who would’ve thought?
Fats, proteins, and certain vitamins and minerals are essential for hair health. In fact, many people tend to notice improvements in their hair when they increase the amount of certain foods in their diet.
Some of the best foods to eat that may boost hair growth include:
Eggs: These contain protein, which is essential for hair growth. Eggs also contain biotin -- a B vitamin that may boost hair growth.
Brazil nuts: These are a tasty source of selenium, a mineral that may improve hair health.
Fatty fish: This is an excellent source of omega-3, which may also improve hair growth.
Walnuts: These nuts also contain omega-3.
Tip #2: Massage Your Scalp
Massaging your scalp can help to restore hair growth and can be used in conjunction with hair oils and masks. This stimulates the scalp and may improve hair thickness.
Taking the time to massage your scalp each and every day can also help you relieve tension and stress. While you’re at it, show your facial skin some love with a hydrating face mask like Topicals’ Like Butter -- a thick, whipped mask packed with green tea extract, colloidal oatmeal, and Centella Asiatica (and other science-backed ingredients and herbals) to help moisturize and soothe the feeling of dry and dehydrated skin while fortifying your skin’s matrix in the process.
Go ahead, you deserve it.
Tip #3: Wash And Condition Your Hair Regularly
You most likely don’t need to wash your hair every single day.
In fact, many experts recommended washing only two or three times a week. Why? Because washing too often strips your hair of necessary oils, and infrequent washing can leave hair lifeless and dull -- especially if you overuse dry shampoo.
Quality moisturizing shampoos formulated without sulfates -- icky chemicals in shampoos that help clean but can also be extremely drying on dry or sensitive scalps -- are a safe bet for everyone.
Tip #4: Always Follow Shampoo With Conditioner
Using conditioners is important. It gives your hair shine and reduces static electricity, which is why it improves the feel and look of damaged or dull hair.
Apply a little of your favorite conditioner to the ends of your hair and work your way up. And remember -- a little goes a long way.
The more conditioner you use, the flatter your hair will be.
Remove tough tangles to prevent unnecessary hair loss with a wide-tooth comb and rinse your hair with cool water, which closes the cuticle, leaving the hair super shiny.
Tip #5: Ditch Hair Tools That Use High Heat
Heat is always hard on hair. Why? Because it causes bonds within the hair strands to fracture, causing brittle hair that breaks and ultimately falls out.
If you choose to use a curling iron or hair straightener, be sure not to leave it on one area of your hair for too long and try to move it every ten seconds or so. Also, keep in mind that if you burn your fingers or hear sizzling, the heat setting is a little too high, and you’re also burning your hair.
When you can, try to let your hair dry naturally and when you do use styling tools, make sure to use a good-quality heat-protecting spray that will lessen the damage the tools are inflicting on your hair.
Tip #6: Stick With Hairstyles That Don’t Put Extra Tension On Your Hair
One particular type of hair loss -- traction alopecia -- is caused by chronic stress on the hair follicle, often due to hairstyles that are a little too tight.
Thankfully, you can treat traction alopecia early on by adjusting your habits to keep the condition from worsening or becoming permanent. In particular, make sure you are not wearing hairstyles that pull on the scalp -- like sky-high, tight ponytails, dreads, or braids -- for extended periods of time.
While the process of hair thinning can be a bit concerning at first, it’s likely treatable.
According to the experts over at the American Academy of Dermatology, treatments for hair thinning can take six to nine months. But just like your hair, taking care of your skin is important.
From your head to your toes, your skin does a lot for you. Show it some love with skin-nourishing products. Made with science-backed ingredients and herbals, Topicals is more than beauty and more than skincare.