It’s a fact of life for more than 50 million American men and 30 million women — hair thinning is going to happen at some point down the line. The question that many people ask is “why me?”
While there might not be a definitive cure for hair thinning, scientists have been on the case for centuries in their efforts to figure out the cause. The closer we get to understanding the mechanics and causes of hair loss, thinning, and receding hairlines, the stronger our treatments and technologies become.
That’s why we’ve compiled the top ten reasons why a thinning hairline may occur, providing a complete resource for patients who want to take control of the situation.
We’ll dive into each reason and the supporting science, then conclude with some expert insights on what can be done to stop thinning hair and the hair loss treatment available to restore it to full strength. Let’s begin.
This is first on the list for a good reason — the vast majority of hair thinning can be categorized under the broad umbrella of androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as pattern balding or male pattern baldness.
Inherited traits and family history are the cause of hair thinning in this sense, which explains why we can usually see the future of our hairlines by looking at our older relatives. However, back of the head baldness or male pattern hair loss may not be crystal balls that tell you what’s to come since so many other factors are involved.
The actual mechanisms at play here are still not perfectly understood, but we know that the testosterone byproduct DHT does impact the life cycles of follicles on the scalp. Higher concentrations of DHT are found in patients with advanced balding, typically in the Norwood-pattern sequence with a bald spot on the crown.
The good news is that androgenetic alopecia can be treated if detected early, sometimes with microchanneling or microneedling, but your doctor may decide what’s best for you. It doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the game and be prepared to take immediate action.
Technically, female pattern hair loss or female pattern baldness falls under the genetic umbrella, but DHT and androgens are not the primary movers here. Instead, with this form of hair loss, the natural cycles of female hormones are what cause hair to gradually thin and lose volume as women age.
Women may experience hair thinning due to hormonal changes during or after pregnancy or another event that impacts their hormones, like menopause. A certain portion of women may also rely on topical dyes and heating elements to style their hair while harming the health of their roots in the long term.
Finasteride is one medication option for thinning hair, and you should consult your doctor for further guidance about whether Finasteride may be suitable for your needs.
A sneaky cause of thinning hair is traction alopecia, caused by prolonged hair pulling from wearing certain hairstyles, like too-tight braids or ponytails. Both men and women can experience traction alopecia by growing long hair and pulling it back in a tight hairstyle which weakens the roots over time and can ultimately result in thinning.
This type of hair loss is entirely preventable, but it may not be noticed at first. However, the consequences cannot be ignored, leading people to change their hairstyles and seek restorative treatments to bring their hair back.
If you have long hair and want to minimize traction alopecia, be sure to wear your hair “down” more often or try wearing looser hairstyles that don’t pull on the hairline so intensely.
Even a slight change in hormone balances can dramatically impact the function of the human body, and hair is one of the most noticeable effects of these changes.
Men and women can influence their own hormones through diet and lifestyle changes, but environmental factors and medications can also make a difference. Exogenous hormones administered via replacement therapy often have consequences for hair growth or loss in certain areas.
Still, measuring and manipulating hormones is not an exact science, and it’s not clear if hormone levels directly impact the speed and severity of hair thinning or if hair falls out. High levels of testosterone in men, for example, don’t necessarily equate to pattern balding, whereas the byproduct DHT seems to play a bigger part in the process.
Healthy hair and regrowth are good indicators of general well-being, strong immunity, metabolism, and other systems of the body. Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to help your hair grow long, strong, and stay that way for years to come.
On the other hand, life can get in the way with factors like stress and unhealthy habits limiting our genetic potential. Do your best to limit hair loss and avoid the first signs of hair thinning by leading a well-rounded lifestyle with exercise, a complete diet, clean water, and minimally processed foods.
It’s also smart to limit smoking, alcohol, and other vices that can interfere with metabolic function and blood flow.
The more natural life you can live, the better.
A rare autoimmune condition called alopecia areata causes hair to fall out in clumps from the scalp in an unpredictable pattern. The cause of this condition isn’t known and has no cure, but there are methods available to reduce the harsher physical symptoms of the disease.
Unfortunately, those suffering from alopecia areata cannot rely on the same playbook of treatment options, like therapies and medications, used to combat standard genetic balding because hormones like DHT and estrogen are not the cause here. Many with this medical condition opt for hair pieces or wigs or keep hair cropped very short at all times.
Hair transplantation is also not recommended for people with this condition since even newly transplanted hair may be lost during an autoimmune episode.
Also known as scarring alopecia, this condition is characterized by inflammation on the scalp that forms scars that create an inhospitable environment for hair follicles.
Many conditions have been identified as a cause of cicatricial alopecia, which destroys the hair follicle at the root. This makes it near impossible to restore the actual follicle, and transplantation of new hair is not recommended.
Because this is a destructive disease with no known cure, patients want to address it as soon as possible to minimize damage and prevent further scarring from occurring.
Hair thinning is clearly a complicated phenomenon, but sometimes the cause can be as simple as restructuring one’s diet and getting more nutrients flowing to the scalp. Because so many processed foods are high in sugar and low in nutrients, it’s no surprise that the modern standard diet is not conducive to strong hair and general health.
Nutrient absorption is also a concern for many people due to poor gut health and other digestive issues. Healing the gut is the first step to better health and may help save the hair on the scalp for the long term. A good starting point is prioritizing protein, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies.
In the meantime, nutrient supplements can be used to fill in gaps in the diet that aren’t met through food consumption. In particular, compounds like collagen, biotin, and keratin can be taken daily to directly stimulate hair growth and give the body the power to restore scalp and skin health overall.
Many effective nutrients can also be applied directly to the scalp via essential oils like lavender, peppermint, tea tree, saw palmetto, and others. Using a basic oil like castor to mix these essences can boost blood flow in the scalp and replenish lost nutrients more quickly.
The lesson here is simple: don’t shrug off natural remedies for hair restoration or how to regrow hair just because they don’t have a strong scientific backing. Everyone has different results with these compounds, and the best way to discover what works for you is to try them first hand.
Our environments have a dramatic impact on our health, from the quality of the air to humidity, temperature, and more. Even the purity of the water that comes from our shower head and sink tap can affect our skin, hair, and the balance of our body’s complex systems.
This isn’t to say that going 100% natural may save your hair from thinning on top of the head, but a few small tweaks to your hair care routine can make a major difference in the health and longevity of your hair without medical treatments.
For example, using an organic shampoo and avoiding artificial dyes and chemicals with your next new hair look can be a smart move if you notice the quality of your hair start to decline.
Everyone should do their best to regulate their household environment to an equilibrium in terms of temperature and humidity and limit the number of unnatural cleaning and cosmetic products they use each day. These minor changes can save you time and money and lead to a healthier head of hair with plenty of new hair growth.
Many medical events are beyond our control and can negatively affect the state of our hair. Apart from severe cases like chemotherapy, even small changes to one’s medical regimen can alter how our body functions and cause changes to the follicle cycle in sensitive areas.
Because many people take various medications and undergo surgeries for issues unrelated to their hair, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s causing the change and what must be addressed.
This is another reason why you should always team up with a hair restoration expert – like Dr. Jae Pak, M.D. – who knows how different medications and treatments interact with hair and how to remedy these issues.
Hair thinning and the causes of a receding hairline can happen for many reasons, but one thing is true: early treatment is essential to prevention. Don’t wait a minute longer if you notice your hair beginning to thin.
Contact our Jae Pak MD Medical team today and get ahead of the problem.
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