The earlier you detect signs of hair thinning, the easier it will be to fight it.
Did you know that we have about 120,000 to 150,000 hair follicles on our scalp when we are born? Each of these hair follicles are able to produce hair for an average of 25 cycles through our entire life when the hair follicles are kept healthy and not damaged. For example, some hair fall when you’re shampooing your hair or combing your locks is to be expected. In fact, losing about 50-100 strands of hair per day is totally normal and no cause for alarm.
However, a change in hormones, improper diet, stress, genetics, vitamin deficiencies, illness, and even bleaching or perming can cause hair thinning. Diseases more common to women, such as thyroid disease, autoimmune illness, iron deficiency and lupus, are culprits that contribute to hair loss. Oral contraceptives can also contribute to hair loss as the hormones in birth control that suppress ovulation can cause thinning hair and hair loss. Don’t ignore the signs of hair thinning. The earlier the issue is diagnosed, the easier it will be to treat. Here’s what to look out for and what you can do to combat the issue:
How can you tell if your hair is thinning?
- As hair thinning occurs gradually and not overnight, a decrease in hair volume is generally tricky to spot because we regularly touch our hair each time we shampoo. For those with longer hair, pay attention to the thickness of your ponytail or hair bun – if your ponytail is getting thinner or the size of your hair bun is getting smaller, you might be facing thinning hair.
- Another tell-tale sign is if your forehead starts to look wider as your hairline recedes further backwards. Look back on old photos taken at a few months’ interval. As most thinning hair occurs first around the crown of your head, if you’re facing thinning hair, you might notice a receding hairline based on how much larger your forehead appears to be.
- In addition, you might also notice a widened hair parting with a more visible scalp. Since hair thinning first occurs around the crown of your head, you might notice your hair part becoming wider. A number of reasons could lead to this, including frequent combing which can result in accelerated hair fall, as well as excessive pressure on your scalp along your hair parting from long hours of tying your hair up into a tight ponytail or hair bun.”
- If the above signs are not clear enough, one foolproof way is to notice if there’s an increased or excessive shedding of hair. Like mentioned previously, it is perfectly normal to shed about 50-100 strands of hair daily. However, if you notice an increased amount of hair on your comb after brushing, in the shower after shampooing, or even on your pillowcase from tossing and turning, it might be a warning sign that you’re experiencing thinning hair.
Things you can do to prevent thinning hair
While there are several factors that can result in thinning hair, there are some causes (like genetics, illnesses or hormonal fluctuations) that are beyond our control and cannot be prevented. However, there are still many lifestyle changes you can make and bad habits you can kick to avoid some preventable types of hair loss.
- For example, tight hairstyles such as braids, buns or ponytails that could tug at the hair follicles over long periods of time and gradually weakening and damaging them. Avoiding such hairstyles can help protect your hair follicles.
- You should also use a special detangling comb that’s wide-toothed as it is less likely to yank at your hair and cause breakage and damage to hair follicles.
- Heat styling tools and chemical processes are harsh treatments and can also affect the health of your scalp and hair follicles. Keep them to a minimum as far as possible to avoid premature hair thinning.
- Last but certainly not least, your scalp is just like the skin on your face; so while you apply sunscreen on your face conscientiously, how often do you even care for your scalp? Use an umbrella when you’re outdoors and if possible, apply a UV-protecting mist on your hair and scalp to shield it from harmful UV rays and free radicals.
Seek professional help
If thinning hair is already a problem you’re facing, then the above prevention tips are just not going to cut it anymore. Whether you’re seeking the advice of a trichologist or a medical doctor, there are many topical products as well as clinical treatments that are designed to restore scalp health for fuller, healthier hair. PHS Hairscience products are developed to deliver essential nutrients to hair and scalp for accelerated repair and regeneration of hair cells for denser and healthier hair growth. Made of Korean botanical essences, its FEM Thickening Shampoo ($45 for 200ml), is a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser that restores hair thickness and resilience with its key ingredient, Pea Protein.
Alternatively, try SW1 Clinic’s Hair Recovery Strengthening & Rejuvenating Serum ($192.60 for 30ml). A topical serum for your scalp, it contains active ingredients like 5% Minoxidil, Gingko Biloba and Vitamin B6 to strengthen damaged hair and stimulate hair follicles for healthier, thicker hair growth. Designed to be applied directly onto your scalp once or twice a day as directed by your doctor, the lightweight serum doesn’t leave behind any sticky or greasy residue so you can proceed to hair styling as per usual. Avoid rinsing hair and scalp for six hours after application for optimal efficacy.
Beyond topical treatments, you can also consider laser scalp treatments to stimulate and regenerate hair follicles. One of the most popular treatments available at aesthetic clinics is the Revage Laser Hair Growth System. This FDA-approved treatment involves 30 laser diodes rotating 180 degrees around the scalp while emitting low-level laser energy to stimulate blood flow to the weakened hair follicles. At 670nm, the wavelength of this laser treatment effectively and safely targets hair follicles without any pain or downtime so you can resume your daily activities immediately after your session. While the treatment course for each individual might vary, a series of 24 weekly 30-minute sessions is usually recommended for optimal results. Over time, hair follicles are activated and hair growth is healthier, stronger and thicker. Revage Laser Hair Growth System is available at Freia Medical.