Hair is an important part of how we portray ourselves and express our unique personalities. When we experience hair thinning, it can be detrimental to our emotional health and overall wellbeing. Many people with hair thinning struggle with self-confidence issues and a negative body image, which leads to low self-esteem.
Hair thinning not only affects our emotional health, but it also tells us a lot about our physical health. Unlike other health conditions, we can’t hide conditions that manifest in our hair, and sometimes it is tough to treat those conditions that cause hair thinning. Hormones are usually one of the biggest culprits behind hair thinning. Fortunately, with the right care, preventative treatment, and products, hormonal hair thinning is reversible.
Testosterone’s role in hormonal hair thinning
Both men and women can suffer from hormonal hair thinning at any age. Androgenic alopecia (also known as male or female pattern hair loss) is one of the leading causes of hair thinning in both sexes. Testosterone is the primary hormone behind androgenic alopecia. This hormone is predominantly a male sex hormone, but women also have testosterone in small quantities. Indeed, women need testosterone to make estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone.
Testosterone has direct effects on hair follicles. More specifically, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the active metabolite of testosterone, affects the thickness and growth cycle of each hair follicle.
Other causes of hormonal hair thinning
Of course, other hormones also affect hair growth. The following are examples of conditions that can cause hormonal hair thinning:
Thyroid disease - Too little or too much thyroid hormone can cause hair thinning on the scalp. Hypothyroidism, a condition where there is too little thyroid hormone, causes people to have hair thinning. Interestingly, it can also cause hair thinning on other areas of the body, including the eyebrows.
Childbirth - Women often lose a significant amount of hair about three months after giving birth. This hair thinning is due primarily to a rapid drop in hormones that were high throughout pregnancy. Hair thinning from childbirth is one of the causes of telogen effluvium, a condition where stress causes hair loss.
- Menopause - Most women will experience hair thinning after menopause because their estrogen levels fall. (Interestingly, estrogen is made from androgens like testosterone, which also decreases after menopause).
How to reverse hormonal hair thinning
Many people ask, “Is hormonal hair thinning reversible?” And the answer is yes. With the right care and products, you can reverse hormonal hair thinning and even restore your hair to better health. The following steps can help you reverse hormonal hair thinning.
Step One: Treat the underlying cause.
First things first: see your doctor to see what is causing your hair loss. To determine if hormones are behind hair thinning, your doctor will likely perform a blood test to measure various hormones. Also, your medical history, age, and physical exam can help determine the cause of your hair loss.
Hormonal hair loss occurs when your hormones are off-balance. When testosterone is the culprit, there isn’t much you can do to treat excess DHT levels on a systemic level (that is where products come in!). However, when other hormones are causing hair thinning, like T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones) and estrogen, you have a few options.
Hypothyroidism can affect both men and women. And, if you are female, low estrogen levels may be causing hair loss. Some birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can affect hair growth and thickness as well. Changing medications or adding new ones (like synthetic thyroid hormone) is the first step to reversing hormonal hair thinning.
Step Two: Give your hair a rest.
Women often overtreat and over style their hair to achieve a desired look. That’s one of the perks of being female - it’s socially acceptable to wear your hair in creative ways! But, it also comes at a price. Between hot styling tools, dyes, and hairstyles that create tension on the follicles, women can severely damage their hair follicles. Repeated damage makes it that much harder to reverse hormonal hair thinning. Not to mention, these treatments often cause scalp inflammation, which suppresses hair regrowth even more.
If you are struggling with hormonal hair thinning, talk with your stylist about giving your hair a rest. This may mean choosing a different style, letting your natural color grow out, and allowing your natural texture to take over. While this may sound unappealing, there is beauty in making your hair au natural. Furthermore, if it has been many years since you have seen your natural hair, you may be surprised by how it has changed and how much healthier it becomes when it is left alone.
Step Three: Use the right products.
Like skin, our hair is a giant sponge that soaks up everything directly applied to it and even everything in our environment. Hair is exposed to toxins every day, from our products to the water we use to clean it with, so it is important to know exactly what you are putting on your hair.
Some products actively reverse hormonal hair thinning. Whether the cause is from childbirth or androgenic alopecia, both men and women can reverse hormonal hair thinning.
You likely have seen Rogaine on the shelf at your local grocery store and pharmacy. Also known as minoxidil, this product has been around for several decades, and many people have had success in regrowing their hair with consistent use. However, people often struggle with scalp irritation while using this product.
Newer advancements in hair regrowth systems have yielded a more potent and effective chemical compound without side effects. Men struggling with hormonal hair loss should consider using the Spectral.DNC-N Redensifying Treatment through DS Laboratories. This product contains Nanoxidil 5%, a compound that promotes hair regrowth and fights hair loss from DHT without side effects. Spectral.CSF is designed specifically with women in mind and delivers results even while you are styling your hair how you choose.
Step Four: Reduce stress.
Hormones also control stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can wreak havoc on your hair follicles at consistently elevated levels. While stress is a normal part of life, and our stress response is vital to our survival, it is important to reduce stress in our lives. Look at your daily schedule and see what is necessary and what is not. Your hair (and your quality of life) will thank you.
Step Five: Eat for a healthy head of hair.
Hair follicles need specific nutrients for optimal growth and strength. The standard American diet (S.A.D.) does not provide enough nutrients to support healthy hair. If you are looking to increase the number of follicles on your head, and restore shine and luster, a healthy diet is critical. Make sure to eat a variety of wholesome foods made with few ingredients. Indeed, the best foods tend to have no ingredients label (think fruits, vegetables, and meat products).
A good rule of thumb is to shop on the outside perimeter of the grocery stores, as the inner aisles tend to contain processed foods that have chemicals to increase their shelf life. Make sure your diet includes the following nutrients to support hair growth:
- High protein
- Vitamin D
If you are worried your diet does not include enough of these foods, try using a hair supplement like the Revita Nutraceutical Tablets for Hair Growth Support. Finally, hydration is the key to healthy skin and hair. Make sure to drink plenty of water to support your hair and scalp.