To a woman, her hair is one of the most precious gifts of nature. It is a treasure she will prize throughout her life. However, with modern times witnessing upheavals to everything—from diet to lifestyle–hair thinning and hair loss has become one of the most common problems for women of all ages. There was a time when hair loss was associated with menopause or aging. However, these factors are not the only ones to be blamed for thin hair in women. Thinning hair in women is a problem millions of women and people who are “assigned female at birth” (AFAB) face from a very young age.
This blog will take the readers through a detailed analysis of mild, moderate, and severe hair fall, the reasons and causes behind such hair fall, and the possible treatments and solutions to overcome the issue of thin hair in women.
What is Thinning Hair in Women?
Everyone is blessed with different types of hair texture and volume. The fullness or thickness of the hair depends on the diameter of each strand, the texture, and the number of hairs per sq. inch of the scalp.
The number of hairs per sq. inch of the scalp is also called hair density. When the original hair density reduces from excessive hair fall or slow hair regrowth, the outcome is thinning hair in women.
Why is my hair falling out? If you’ve started asking yourself this question, the first thing to measure is the density of your hair. If you find the thickness to be rapidly reducing every time you measure the density, this is a cause for concern.
A study measured the average hair density in women and concluded that on average, women have 800 to 1,290 strands more hair per square inch of their scalp.
This is not the norm, though. If you have genetically more or lesser hair density, your comparison should be your value before the onset of hair loss.
Why am I Losing so Much Hair?
Why am I losing so much hair? – Do you keep asking yourself this question daily? Keep reading if yes.
Everyone experiences hair fall on a daily basis, and this is normal up to a certain point. Experts say hair fall is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. Aged hair strands need to fall for the new ones to start growing in their place. A daily hair fall rate of 50-100 strands is average and shouldn’t be considered a problem at all.
Some women may lose a higher number of hair strands than normal, yet still maintain the same hair density. This is because their hair regrowth rate is equally higher.
Thin hair in women is a problem that occurs when the hair loss rate and regrowth rate do not match. For instance, when a woman loses 200 strands of hair a day, but her hair regrowth rate is just about 50 strands/day, this causes hair density loss and gradual hair thinning.
The Basics of the Hair Growth Cycle
To understand what causes hair loss and thin hair in women, you must come to terms with the basic hair growth cycle. That’s how you can understand what’s happening with your hair and scalp.
There are three basic phases of hair growth:
- Anagen phase – This is the active hair growth phase. Here, the hair follicles change and become slightly onion-shaped to allow hair strands to grow from them. There are two sub-phases in the anagen phase.
- Proanagen phase – The hair follicles start the process of new hair growth.
- Metanagen phase – This is the phase when new hair shafts start appearing on the surface of the scalp.
- Catagen phase – This is a phase where hair growth stops, allowing for a brief rest period. This transition phase lasts for 2-3 weeks, after which the hair strands get ready to fall.
- Telogen phase – This is a phase when the hair strands fall and the follicles enter into a dormant stage. They stay dormant for up to three months before getting ready for the anagen phase again. According to experts, 10-15% of all hair are in this phase at any time of the day.
Hair thinning in women could result from changes in the hair growth cycle. The anagen phase could get delayed or have a much shorter span, or inversely, the hair loss phase (telogen) could get extended, leading to hair loss and hair thinning.
Hair Fall Reasons in Females
There can be so many hair-fall reasons in females, making it impossible to point to one particular cause for the condition.
Some of the common reasons women experience hair thinning are mentioned below.
- Hereditary – Genetically, some women could be prone to hair fall, hair thinning, and baldness. Female-pattern baldness is one such inherited condition.
- Hormonal Changes – One of the common causes of thin hair in women is hormonal imbalances and changes. That’s why many women experience extreme hair fall during menopause or when pregnant.
- Use of Certain Medications – Some medications or drugs can promote hair shedding.
- Diet – An imbalanced diet that is low in essential nutrients may cause hair fall and hair thinning.
- Stress – Another common reason for thinning hair in women is stress. Both physical and mental stress can cause an imbalance in the hair growth cycle to cause hair loss.
- Use of Specific Hair Styling Tools and Products – Using excessive heat on the hair strands and overuse of chemical-laden hair styling products can weaken the hair strands, leading to hair fall. According to certain hair stylists, overuse of coloring agents and bleach can also cause hair breakage and hair fall.
- Certain Hairstyles – You would be surprised, but certain women’s hairstyles, such as tight buns, high and tight ponytails, and tight pigtails can all promote hair fall.
Here is What to Do for Thinning Hair
What to do for thinning hair? The first thing to do while trying to answer this question is to identify the type of hair fall and the trigger for the condition.
For instance, female-pattern baldness has to be treated differently than stress-induced hair fall. If you are unable to identify the actual cause for thinning of hair, a dermatologist may be able to identify the cause upon gleaning through information about your history.
Thinning hair in women can be addressed in different ways, including
- Home remedies
- OTC solutions
- Lifestyle changes
We will cover each of these solutions in detail below.
Home Remedies for Thinning Hair in Women
- Hair Massage – Warm oil hair massage is supposed to help by stimulating the hair follicles and speeding the hair growth phase. Hair massaging also stimulates blood flow to the scalp, which again helps in healthy hair growth.
- Onion Juice – Onion juice may smell very strong, but it is one of the proven remedies to target hair fall and hair thinning. Ensure you wash your hair with shampoo after the onion juice massage to eliminate the strong odor.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe vera gel helps clean the scalp, unclog the hair follicles, and facilitate the easy growth of new hair. Aloe vera also keeps the hair strands shiny and moisturized, preventing breakage.
- Egg and Olive Oil Mask – Use egg whites and olive oil to make a hair mask and thoroughly apply this on to the scalp. The egg white is a source of protein, and the olive oil helps moisturize the hair strands.
Also Read: Benefits of Hair Oiling
OTC Solutions for Thinning Hair in Women
The only FDA-approved product for thinning hair in women is minoxidil 2% or 5%. These were only available in the USA until very recently. You can now find different brands in India too offering these solutions.
While there are so many Over-The-Counter products such as shampoo, oil, and serum promising hair regrowth, they guarantee no surety of positive results.
Dermatologist-Approved Thinning Hair Help
If you experience extreme hair fall and visible thinning of hair and start noticing baldness, consulting a dermatologist may help. Prescription thinning hair help products may include both oral drugs and topical solutions.
Some dermatologists may also suggest laser therapy to stimulate the hair follicles and help hair strands grow quicker.
Lifestyle Changes to Support Thinning Hair in Women
Why is my hair falling out as a female? – To work on the answer to this question, try some of these lifestyle changes and see if they bring results.
When it comes to lifestyle changes, here are a few tips on how to fix thinning hair.
- Follow a Healthy Diet – A healthy diet means including all micro- and macronutrients in your diet to help promote the healthy growth of hair.
- Try Dietary Supplements – Many times, lack of time or inability to cook healthily can cause nutritional imbalances. The quickest way to get your daily dose of nutrients could be with dietary supplements. Talk to your doctor and find out what kind of supplements may benefit you. Usually, zinc and iron supplements are recommended for hair thinning.
- Stay Physically Active – According to studies, being physically active may also help promote hair growth and reduce the extent of hair fall. Physical exercise helps promote better blood flow throughout the body and scalp. This may help stimulate the follicles and keep them active.
- Stop Smoking – Smoking can cause multi-level damage to the body, including damage to the hair follicles at the cellular level. Giving up this habit can help bring down the extent of thinning of hair in women.
- Choose Gentle Hair Care Products – It is always healthier for the hair and scalp when you use more delicate, natural hair care products instead of those laden with chemicals.
- Shaving Hair – Some women have extreme hair fall and baldness that does not respond to treatments. In such a case, they may completely shave their hair, hoping that the newer hair growth is healthier and thicker. Though this is not scientifically proven, shaved hairstyles for women are easier to maintain and fuss-free. The person also does not have to face the stress of seeing hair shedding in large quantities on a daily basis.
Hairstyles for Women with Thin Hair
Thin hair makes styling an everyday challenge. Plaits may look very thin, while leaving the hair loose may expose bald spots. There are specific hairstyles for women with thin hair that help project a thicker volume.
Check out some of these fabulous hairstyles and haircut options that hide thin hair in women.
- Bob Cut – Getting a stylish bob cut may instantly help improve your hair density and make thin hair look better.
- Pixie Haircut – Women with very thin hair may choose to get a pixie cut, which helps eliminate lighter ends of the hair and retains the thicker lots near the scalp. There is no need for elaborate hairstyling needed with this haircut.
- Side or Front Bangs – Side or front bangs may add more volume to the hair in the crown region and help hide thin hair in women.
- Use Scarves and Other Hair Accessories – You can use hair scarves, hair bands, and other accessories to cover up balding areas and create fun distractions instead. This is a perfect option for women who love dressing up.
- Messy Bun – You can use a scrunchie to create a thicker and voluminous messy bun that will help give density to your hair. Use the hair strands to cover up the scrunchie for a more natural effect.
Hair loss and thinning hair in women are complex problems that can result from multiple internal and external factors. The worst thing women can do when they face hair fall is stress too much about it. Overstressing will only worsen the condition.
The sudden onset of thin hair in women could result from recent changes in physical or mental health. It can also be from environmental changes such as moving to a new place, or changes in hair care products used. Identifying the cause can help treat the condition with precision. Just like any other health concern, the quicker the hair thinning problem is dealt with, the quicker it can be cured. Initially, try changing your diet, become more physically active, and lower stress levels to see if this works. If not, consulting a dermatologist will help you get to the bottom of the problem.