Does Blow Drying Hair Cause Hair Thinning?
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If you are losing your hair, it is only natural to question practices in your daily routine that may be causing it. After all, it is often easier to change certain practices as opposed to treating a health condition. One question we see come up all the time is whether or not blow drying hair causes thinning. While it may seem plausible that this styling practice could cause thinning because of its high temperatures, the reality is that blow drying is likely not the culprit. Let’s take a look at what likely is the cause behind your hair thinning.
Busting the blow drying myth.
Blow dryers use air to dry wet hair quickly. People often use it on warmer settings because heat helps it dry more quickly. But unless you are burning your scalp in the process of drying your hair, a blow dryer is likely not the cause of hair thinning, even if you see hair shedding as you are doing it. And the likelihood of you burning your scalp while blow drying is very low, as it can be pretty painful to overheat one area, and you will more than likely re-adjust the distance or the temperature to avoid discomfort.
When you use a blow dryer, you can cause your hair to lose its natural moisture, making the hair dry and brittle. Hair that loses its protective oils makes it prone to breakage and it can become limp and lifeless. Indeed, this can happen with other styling practices, such as using flat or curling irons or chemical treatments like coloring.
If it isn’t the blow dryer, then what is it?
Now that the blow drying myth is settled, we have to turn our focus on what could be the cause of hair thinning. The fact is that hair thinning, in many cases, can be progressive, meaning that it can get worse with time. So, the sooner you identify the cause of hair thinning and treat it, the better. Here are some of the more likely culprits behind your hair thinning:
- Telogen effluvium
- Androgenic alopecia
- Hormone imbalance
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Scalp conditions
- Other health conditions
Telogen effluvium ranks at the top of the most common cause of hair thinning because it usually affects everyone at some point in their life. This condition is where a significant stressor causes temporary hair loss. What happens is the hair starts to fall out about three months after a person goes through a particularly stressful event, like childbirth, a car accident, loss of a loved one, illness, or a job switch.
At this three-month mark you can start to see an uptick in the amount of hair you shed per day (typically around 300 hairs daily as opposed to 50 or so). The best way to identify this type of temporary hair loss is to think back to what was happening in your life about three months ago. Chances are, if you were under tremendous stress at that point, your hair loss is temporary and will grow back (so long as you keep your stressors at bay).
Androgenic alopecia is also incredibly common, but unlike telogen effluvium, hair thinning is permanent. This condition is also called male or female pattern hair loss, and we have all seen it. Indeed, in men, it is the cause of receding hairlines and bald spots towards the back of the head. In women, it usually manifests in thinning all over the scalp or a widening part line.
Regrettably, there is no cure for androgenic alopecia (yet), as it is likely the result of genetics. However, there are ways to stop further hair loss, and with the right tools, you can get some of your hair back. Topical hair growth solutions like minoxidil and Nanoxidil are the most commonly used tools for hair re-growth. Some people use those products in combination with a dermaroller, which helps pull the topical hair growth treatment further into the scalp.
As far as the other four probable causes behind hair thinning (hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, scalp conditions, and other health conditions), you will need to see a doctor to get to the bottom of your hair loss. Indeed, it usually is a good idea to visit your health care provider if you have hair shedding, as it often is a sign that something is not quite right. To diagnose you, your doctor will want to know your medical history, family history, current medications, and any lifestyle factors (such as trying a diet) to help you get to the bottom of your hair thinning.
And, if you are suffering from hair thinning from any number of causes, shop the entire hair care line at DS Laboratories, where we specialize in formulating dermatologist-tested products that correct hair loss.