Over the last twenty years dermatologists have observed a gradual increase in the number of men and women experiencing problems relating to hair loss. In trying to stop thinning hair it is important to understand the underlying reasons why thinning hair occurs and what external factors may be causing it. While hereditary factors play the greatest part in deciding if a person is going experience thinning hair there are also many other factors that can play a part.
Thinning Hair in Men
The problem of thinning hair is most common in men, with over 40% of men under the age of 35 experiencing some hair thinning. Men who suffer from hair loss typically start with a receding hairline and thinning at the crown. The hair loss gradually progresses to a bald spot at the crown and eventually complete baldness on the top of the scalp. It is now universally accepted that the most common cause of thinning hair in men is attributed to a chemical derived from testosterone called dyhydrotestosterone (DHT).
Thinning Hair in Women
While usually thought of as a male problem, thinning hair now affects over 40% of women over the age of 40. The causes of thinning hair in women are different and more complicated to those that affect men. While male hair loss displays a definite pattern, women’s hair loss tends to occur as an overall thinning this is often called "diffuse thinning”. There are many causes for thinning hair in woman and it is important to get a GPs diagnosis before trying to treat the condition. Certain conditions such as pregnancy, childbirth, overactive thyroid and menopause can affect the hormone balance and these can all contribute to thinning hair. Other factors that can cause thinning hair in women are brought about by the use of extreme hair treatments such as colorants, perms and hot oil treatments. These can inflame the scalp causing damage to the hair follicles.
There are a now a large number of hair loss prevention and re-growth treatments available for both men and women. One of the main treatments that can stop thinning hair and stimulate growth is a topical solution containing an ingredient called minoxidil. There are also several shampoos for thinning hair that work by removing the damaging DHT chemical from the scalp. In addition to the topical treatments there are many dietary supplements containing vitamin B6, biotin, magnesium, saw palmetto and folic acid that help with thinning hair. There is also a treatment called Finasteride that is clinically proven to stop thinning hair but only works for men. Depending on the exact type of hair loss some of these treatments may have to be used continuously to prevent hair loss reoccurring.
Disguising Thinning Hair
While there are many effective treatments available to stop thinning hair it can take many months before results are noticed. During this period there are many products and techniques that may be used to make the existing hair look thicker and healthier. Hair loss conditioners can thicken the hair shafts by as much as 300% and blow drying hair can also be used to make thinning hair look substantially thicker. Certain hair styles are also better suited to thinning hair, in general shorter hair is better, growing hair longer to cover up thinning hair is not recommended.
The reasons why thinning hair occurs can be varied and complicated but it is important to know what the underlying problems are before proceeding with the correct course of treatment. Hair loss treatments are now much more effective than they were even ten years ago and it is now possible to stop thinning hair in the majority of cases.