The 5 Root Causes of Hair Thinning
Stress - This is one of the most common causes of hair thinning. Stress on the body can be physical, mental, and emotional. When you are in a stressful state, your body responds in a variety of ways to protect itself. Firstly, your central nervous system recognizes a stressor and the hypothalamus of your brain sends a signal to your adrenal glands to release cortisol. Once cortisol is released into your bloodstream, your organ systems are alerted of a threat and your body enters a “fight or flight” mode. High levels of cortisol increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which diverts oxygen to the organs that keep you immediately safe including your muscles and heart.
When a stressor goes away, your central nervous system indicates that it is safe to return to normal functioning. During a stressful period, blood that is rich in nutrients and oxygen is diverted from certain organs such as your skin. Consequently, your hair follicles can shift from the growing phase to the shedding phases because there is not enough blood supply to support normal growth.
Telogen effluvium is a medical condition that is associated with hair thinning caused by stress. In this condition, a stressful event occurs which shifts a larger percentage of your hair from the growing phase to the resting phase. A typical resting phase is about 120 days in length before the hair falls out entirely. Therefore, most people find that they lose a significant amount of hair about 3 months after a stressful event such as surgery, trauma, loss of a loved one, or a major life change. Reducing stress in your life is one of the first steps you can take to restore hair thickness. With proper care and the right products, you can reverse the effects of stress on your hair and have full, healthy hair.
Hormones - Our hormones play an important role in the overall functioning of our bodies. There are certain times in life when it is normal to have hormonal imbalance such as in pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause. However, hormonal imbalance can also be abnormal and can be caused by thyroid conditions, diabetes, medication, cancers, inflammation, hormone therapy, and eating disorders.
If you are experiencing thinning hair and are not sure of the cause, it is a good idea to check in on your hormones. Many people are unaware that they are suffering from hormonal imbalance. Yet, thinning hair can be one of the first signs that something is not right in your body. For example, many people with subclinical hypothyroidism have few, if any symptoms, other than thinning hair. If you have thinning hair from hormones, the first way to treat it is to restore balance to your hormones. Thus, if you have hypothyroidism, the right dose of synthetic thyroid hormone can be the first step to restoring health and abundance to your locks.
There is little that we can do to rewrite our genetic codes. Our DNA is specific to us and is the map that drives our physical and even mental processes. DNA determines our hair growth cycle, length, volume, texture, consistency, and color. If you are experiencing thinning hair, it may be likely that other family members have struggled with hair thinning as well. Genetic causes of hair thinning include androgenic alopecia (which can lead to complete hair loss), thyroid conditions, and even our predisposition to skin infections that lead to thinning.
If thinning hair is something that runs in your family, it is important to first determine what causes thinning hair and to treat the cause, if possible. If the cause is not treatable, you can still prevent hair thinning with certain cutting-edge dermatological products.
Diet - We are learning more and more about how the human microbiome influences our overall health. And our gut biome is one of the biggest determinants of our individual health and wellbeing. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is poor in providing essential nutrients that enrich our bodies, including our hair. Fortunately, most people can modify their diet to include healthier foods that support hair health. Try to incorporate foods high in omega-3’s, protein, zinc, selenium, and vitamins A, B, D, and E. Foods that support hair growth include:
- Fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Sweet potatoes
Age - Most people experience some hair loss with aging. The rate at which your hair grows, along with the pigment and thickness of each strand, changes as we get older. Hair follicles can even stop producing hair altogether. While we can’t turn back time, we can reverse the effects of aging by using the best hair products that nourish our hair and penetrate deep within the follicles to encourage hair to continue to grow healthy and strong.