Hair thinning is a very broad topic that is usually intertwined with the term hair loss and balding.
To understand hair thinning it is a good idea to educate yourself with how the body replaces hair that you lose on a daily basis due to normal wear and tear.
People have between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on their head. The number of strands normally lost in a day varies, but on average is 100. In order to maintain a normal volume, hair must be replaced at the same rate at which it is lost. The first signs of hair thinning that people will often notice are more hairs than usual left in the hairbrush after brushing or in the basin after shampooing. Styling can also reveal areas of thinning, such as a wider parting or a thinning crown.
Your hair thinning symptoms will depend on what kind of hair loss you have.
If your hair is thinning, it happens slowly over time, so you may not notice the hairs falling out. If your hair is shedding, then clumps of hair fall out. You may lose hair all over your scalp, which is called general hair loss. Or you may lose hair only in one area, which is called focal hair loss.
Common causes of hair thinning and hair loss can include:
Family history. In most cases, hair loss is inherited, which means it’s passed down from one or both of your parents. This is called male-pattern or female-pattern hair loss.
Stress, including physical stress from surgery, illness, or high fever.
Chemotherapy, which is powerful medicine that destroys cancer cells.
Damage to your hair from pulling it back too tightly, wearing tight braids or ponytails, or using curling irons or dyes.
Age. You grow less hair as you get older. Hair also gets thinner and tends to break more easily as you age.
Poor diet, especially not getting enough protein or iron.
Thyroid diseases, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Ringworm of the scalp, which is common in children.
Hair thinning for both men and women can take its toll psychologically. Hair thinning and baldness cause psychological stress due to its effect on appearance. The psychology of hair thinning is a complex issue. Hair is considered an essential part of overall identity: especially for women, for whom it often represents femininity and attractiveness. Men typically associate a full head of hair with youth and vigor. Although they may be aware of pattern baldness in their family, many are uncomfortable talking about the issue. Hair thinning is therefore a sensitive issue for both sexes. For sufferers, it can represent a loss of control and feelings of isolation. People experiencing hair thinning often find themselves in a situation where their physical appearance is at odds with their own self-image and commonly worry that they appear older than they are or less attractive to others. Psychological problems due to baldness, if present, are typically most severe at the onset of symptoms.
Hair loss induced by cancer chemotherapy has been reported to cause changes in self-concept and body image. Body image does not return to the previous state after regrowth of hair for a majority of patients. In such cases, patients have difficulties expressing their feelings (alexithymia) and may be more prone to avoiding family conflicts. Family therapy can help families to cope with these psychological problems if they arise.
Talking to a hair care specialist at Apollo can help ease your mind concerning your hair thinning. Contact one of our hair care specialists at Apollo for a free, no obligation and confidential consultation.