As people age, their hair can start to lose volume and thickness. In some cases, hair thinning is related to diet, nutrient deficiencies, or inherited hair loss. In most cases, hair thinning is not related to general health problems. However, it can affect people’s mental health and self-esteem. People can try various treatments and home remedies to improve hair health, thickness, and strength.
Some degree of hair loss is normal. As people age, their hair can naturally begin to lose volume and strength. The Academy of Dermatology (AD) notes that people lose between 50 and 100 hairs every day. The new hair then grows back from the same hair follicles. However, over time, some follicles stop producing hair and the hair shafts become finer. Hair also begins to lose its color.
If a person notices significant hair thinning or the development of bald patches, he may be experiencing hair loss. According to the AD, people can stop or treat most causes of hair loss. The following sections discuss the possible causes of thinning hair.
Male or female pattern of hair loss
Male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness are together called androgenetic alopecia. Genes and hormones cause androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia is a common cause of hair loss. It affects millions of men and women in the world.
According to the Genetics Home Reference, the likelihood of experiencing androgenetic alopecia increases with age. Although it can affect teenagers, more than half of men over 50 have some degree of hair loss. It is more likely to affect women after menopause. Often people with androgenetic alopecia have relatives with the same condition. In men, thinning hair tends to occur from the hairline to the back of the head. In females, it tends to affect the crown of the head.
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair loss in round patches on the scalp. It can also affect the eyebrows, beard and other areas where there is hair. People have a 2.1% chance of developing alopecia areata in their lifetime. It often occurs during childhood. Genes and environmental factors are the main causes.
In alopecia areata, the hair follicles are still alive and the hair can grow back. Doctors can treat alopecia areata with an injection into the scalp every 4 to 6 weeks for up to 6 months.
The body needs nutrients to create new hair strands and maintain healthy hair follicles. Protein is an essential component of hair. Micronutrients, which include vitamins and minerals, play a key role in the growth cycle of the hair follicle. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss. Eating a healthy and varied diet can help promote the continued growth of strong, healthy hair. Eating a nutritious diet can also prevent the following signs of damaged hair:
- Shafts of fragile hair.
- An opaque appearance.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D stimulates the hair follicles, which results in hair growth. When a person does not get enough vitamin D, he can experience hair loss, along with other symptoms. Some research has linked vitamin D deficiencies to alopecia areata.
After a long period of significant stress, people may notice that their hair feels thinner than normal. This is called telogen effluvium. When stress causes hair to thin out, people often notice that their hair returns to its normal volume once the stressful situation begins to pass.
Health professionals can help people manage significant times of stress. Talking and behavioral therapies can help. People can also try natural remedies to deal with stress and anxiety.
People may notice hair loss during or after pregnancy. Typically, hair grows back without any treatment.
People can try taking prescription drugs to treat hair thinning. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved two prescription drugs for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: minoxidil and finasteride.