Whether it's due to stress, menopause, motherhood or other factors, thinning hair can prove emotional. For many of us, our hair plays an important role in our identity and self-confidence, and thinning, falling out or breaking hair at any age can be worrisome.
While it's normal to lose between 50 and 100 individual hairs a day, excessive hair loss affects 50% of women in their 50s, equivalent to the 8 million women in the UK who currently suffer from the condition (source: NHS).
The good news is that many cases of hair loss are temporary and can be treated once the cause is identified. As an associate of the Institute of Trichology and former president of the organization, specialist Eva Proudman has been working in the industry for 20 years and evaluates patients on a daily basis. “There are many factors that contribute to hair loss, from general health to medications, diet and stress levels. In most cases, treatment in the clinic lasts from 4 to 9 months.
The main causes of thinning and brittle hair
Affecting women of all ages, stress and anxiety can directly affect your hair. As Eva says, “When stress is high, more cortisol is produced which attacks the immune system. The hair follicle is the second fastest dividing cell in the body, but it is considered insignificant, so when the body is under stress, its needs are pushed to the bottom. Hair usually responds 3-4 months after a stressful event when inflammation has built up in the body. The immune attack will last 4-6 months, after which in most cases the hair will grow back.
Interrupted sleep is a key factor in hair loss. Eva advises you to choose a hobby that will relax you physically and mentally, whether you go for a walk, meditate, garden or listen to music. "There are also natural remedies like theanine and lemon balm that help with anxiety rather than resorting to antidepressants" - but it's always wise to talk to your GP.
As Eva advises, “Chronic stress can quickly affect your diet as you tend to eat comfortably with excess fat and carbohydrates or restrict food altogether. Protein is needed for normal hair growth and loss, and 55g of absorbed protein is required per day. If you're smaller, your hair won't benefit."
“Nutrition plays a big role in hair health. Intermittent fasting and the Cambridge diet have left many people deficient in protein.” Be sure to include plenty of lean protein in your diet, such as chicken, fish and eggs, and add chia, sunflower or sesame seeds to your oatmeal or salad for an added boost.
“If you are a vegetarian, edamame beans offer 3 times more protein than chickpeas. The best diet is a balanced diet that you can maintain. In addition to protein and low carb carbs, eat fruits and vegetables and good fats like extra virgin olive oil, and limit refined sugar and processed foods that are often high in salt. "Sodium builds up around the hair follicles, causing them to fall out excessively," says Eva.
Due to lower levels of sun exposure in the UK, most of us are vitamin D deficient. Eva advises: “Long-term supplementation is recommended. 1000 IU daily for a year should bring the level of vitamin D to a sufficient level, then you can take a 3-4 month break. It's about building up reserves to maintain hair growth and ensure the immune system is functioning properly."
How to style thin or thinning hair
Hair loss is caused by internal factors and not by routine hair care, so don't feel like you have to cut back on your hair washing, coloring or styling habits when you suffer from hair loss. Eve says HELLO! “Unless the chemical damage caused the injury, modeling won't make the problem worse. The effect of massage on the scalp stimulates the growth of hair follicles, so washing your hair and stimulating the scalp will actually help. Being able to maintain a normal hair care routine will also ensure well-being.”
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Sharing other hair care tips, Eva Proudman advises, “When using a straightener or curling iron, make sure your hair is completely dry first. 10% of hair fibers are water, so applying a hot tool to wet hair will break the fibers. Limit tools to 180 degrees and trim regularly to eliminate split ends and dry hair where hair is more brittle and prone to breakage. Your stylist can also advise on the best cuts for thicker curls.
Other causes of hair loss, thinning or breakage
After giving birth
Eve testifiesHI!: "Most women have fantastic hair during pregnancy, and estrogen levels give them shine and shine. Then those levels go down. Maybe you had a difficult birth with a lot of blood loss, or you have a lack of sleep, increased stress, and decreased levels of vitamins and minerals.
Balanced meals and, if possible, incorporating sleep will help. "Acute telogen effluvium" (short-term hair loss) will tend to improve six to nine months after giving birth. “When we restore the vitamin levels, hair growth improves. If your hair loss continues for more than nine months after giving birth, I recommend seeing a specialist."
Many women experience hair loss before menopause and menopause, caused by changes in the menstrual cycle. Eva reports, “Some people notice weight gain and immediately change their diet, they lose protein; and often the age of menopause coincides with the onset of hair loss in women, which is hereditary, so you see a double effect."
“Estrogen drops during menopause so HRT can be helpful. But patients shouldn't worry: a trichologist can help manage both menopausal and hereditary causes, so it's never too late - I've treated women in their 50s, 60s and 70s with great success."
The effects of finding solutions to styling thin or thinning hair and stimulating its growth, thickness and strength cannot be underestimated. As Eva notes, “When I helped patients in the clinic and their hair grew back, it just flourished. You can see it in their body language and their whole person just changes. They often say "you gave me hope".
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Consultant trichologist Eva Proudman FIT IAT is a hair and scalp specialist with over 20 years of experience. It appears on The Hair Loss Clinic, streaming on Discovery+ and Amazon Prime. More information and trichological advice can be found on the websiteukhairconsultants.com.
What is the main cause of hair loss? ›
It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it's more common in men. Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness.What causes hair loss in Ageing? ›
This hair is usually replaced with new finer hair. However, over time, nearly everyone has some hair loss with aging. Women and men experience hair loss for a variety of reasons as they age, such as hereditary traits, endocrine disorders, thyroid disorders, reduced hormonal support, and nutritional deficiencies.Why is my hair thinning at 40 female? ›
The most common genetic condition is known as female-pattern hair loss, or androgenic alopecia. Women with this condition might notice a widening of the part at the top of the head, often beginning when a woman is in her 40s or 50s. You might experience this if you inherit certain genes from one or both parents.What vitamin deficiency causes hair loss? ›
Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a component of two important coenzymes: flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) .Does stress cause hair loss? ›
Yes, stress and hair loss can be related. Three types of hair loss can be associated with high stress levels: Telogen effluvium. In telogen effluvium (TEL-o-jun uh-FLOO-vee-um), significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase.What hormone causes hair loss in females? ›
As with male pattern baldness, female pattern baldness comes from hormone imbalances, specifically dihydrotestosterone imbalances, or DHT. This hormone is similar in structure to testosterone, but it is significantly more potent .What is the most common age for hair loss? ›
At what age do people typically start to lose their hair? Hair loss can start as early as your teenage years or might not occur until you're well past retirement. Generally, people begin noticing signs of hair loss in their 30s and 40s. More significant hair loss often happens when people reach their 60s and beyond.How do you fix age related hair loss? ›
As you age, it's common to start eating less. Sometimes, this may lead you to become nutritionally deficient. Because hair follicles are made mostly of protein, it's important to include protein into your diet. Foods like red meat, spinach and green leafy vegetables, eggs, berries, and avocados are all great options.What is the best vitamin for thinning hair? ›
“Vitamins are essential for healthy hair growth and may help in preventing hair shedding and thinning,” says Michele Green, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “The best vitamins for hair growth include B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and iron.Can too much vitamin D cause female hair loss? ›
Vitamin D can indeed cause hair loss, but it's rare. Although the precise role of vitamin D in hair growth isn't well understood, research shows that vitamin D receptors play an important role in the anagen phase of the hair follicle cycle — the phase in which new hairs grow from the follicle to their full length.
Can B12 vitamins cause hair loss? ›
Some research has shown that B vitamin deficiencies—specifically biotin, folate, niacin, riboflavin and B12 may lead to hair loss.Can low iron cause hair loss? ›
Iron and Hair Health. If you are not getting enough iron through your diet, you may experience excessive hair shedding (Telogen Effluvium). You may also find that your hair will not grow past a certain length.How much B12 should I take for hair loss? ›
How Much B12 Should I Take Daily For Hair Growth? The lowest amount recommended that should be traceable in your body is 2.4 mcg. While you are looking for a difference in your hair growth you can increase this dosage to 3 mcg and beyond.Does B12 help with hair loss? ›
Can vitamin B12 help with hair loss? First, vitamin B12 supplementation cannot stop hair loss and hair thinning from happening. Therefore, adding more B12 to your diet won't prevent you from losing your hair . However, one of the B12 deficiency signs is that hair loss becomes apparent faster.Can you reverse hair loss? ›
Effective treatments for some types of hair loss are available. You might be able to reverse hair loss, or at least slow it. With some conditions, such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata), hair may regrow without treatment within a year. Treatments for hair loss include medications and surgery.When should I be worried about hair loss? ›
When to see a doctor. See your doctor if you're concerned about how much hair you are losing every day. A gradual thinning on the top of your head, the appearance of patchy or bald spots on your scalp, and full-body hair loss are signs that there may be an underlying health condition.What does stress hair loss look like? ›
Telogen effluvium hair loss — the type of hair loss linked to stress — typically affects your scalp and may appear as patchy hair loss. However, it can also cause you to shed more body hair or notice less hair on your body than you normally would.What hormone that's too high causes hair loss? ›
Testosterone converts into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Androgenetic alopecia occurs when you inherit genetic changes that make your hair follicles overly sensitive to DHT. As a result, the follicles shrink, growing thinner hair for a time before they completely stop growing new hairs.What infections cause hair loss? ›
- Demodex folliculorum.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Testosterone Blood Test
Since elevated DHT is the main culprit for pattern hair loss, it only makes sense that increased testosterone influences alopecia. After all, DHT is an offshoot of testosterone. You can check the levels of this hormone through the appropriate blood test.
Which autoimmune disease causes hair loss? ›
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system mistakenly attacks a part of your body. When you have alopecia areata, cells in your immune system surround and attack your hair follicles (the part of your body that makes hair).Can thyroid problems cause thinning hair? ›
Severe and prolonged hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause loss of hair. The loss is diffuse and involves the entire scalp rather than discrete areas. The hair appears uniformly sparse. Regrowth is usual with successful treatment of the thyroid disorder, though it will take several months and may be incomplete.How many 40 year olds are bald? ›
Noticeable hair loss can occasionally start in your teens, but what may shock you is that a whopping 55% of men at 40 years of age will have noticeable signs of hair loss or male pattern baldness.What are the big 3 to prevent hair loss? ›
'The big 3' in hair loss usually refers to the main products that are used to reduce hair loss. These products are Minoxidil (Rogaine/Regaine), Finasteride (Propecia) and Ketoconazole (Nizoral) and today we're looking at all three medications.Which shampoo is best for hair growth? ›
- Olaplex No. ...
- Kérastase Densifique Bain Densité Shampoo.
- Garnier Fructis Grow Strong Shampoo.
- Klorane Strengthening Shampoo with Quinine and Edelweiss.
- Triphasic Strengthening Shampoo.
- Vegamour GRO Revitalising Shampoo.
- Dove Nourishing Secrets Growth Ritual Shampoo.
- Eggs. Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, two nutrients that are essential for hair growth. ...
- Berries. Berries are loaded with beneficial compounds and vitamins that may support hair growth. ...
- Spinach. ...
- Fatty fish. ...
- Sweet potatoes. ...
- Avocados. ...
- Nuts. ...
Hair growth rate slows at midlife and beyond—it spends less time in the growth phase and more in the resting phase, which means it will grow more slowly, and won't be able to grow as long as it once did.How often should you wash thinning hair? ›
Fine or thin hair: "Fine hair will need to be shampooed as often as every other day to provide it with the moisture it needs to flourish and grow," Courtney says. Cleansing also helps remove buildup and oils that can weigh fine or thin hair down.Which food has biotin? ›
Foods that contain the most biotin include organ meats, eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables (such as sweet potatoes) [2,12].Is B12 deficiency hair loss reversible? ›
Yes! Your hair will grow back as soon as you treat the deficiency. On restoration of vitamin B12 in your body, your hair cells will replicate adequately and support your hair follicles to grow healthy hair. It just takes a few months of following a systematic diet plan to reverse vitamin B12 deficiency hair loss.
Can lack of zinc cause hair loss? ›
Some studies have shown that our hair follicles are closely intertwined with parts of the immune system that support healthy hair growth. As a result, a zinc deficiency is thought to be associated with hair loss. For this reason, zinc supplements have historically been recommended as a hair loss treatment.How long does it take for vitamin D to stop hair loss? ›
Thinning hair that arises solely as a result of dietary issues, including vitamin D deficiency - Telogen Effluvium or Diffuse Thinning - is likely to be temporary, with hair growth returning to normal within 6 to 12 months of the underlying trigger being addressed.Can too much biotin cause hair loss? ›
Regular intake of excessive quantities of certain nutrients can cause hair loss in some cases due to a temporary condition known as Telogen Effluvium. However, the effects of too much vitamin B7 - also known as biotin toxicity - remain unconfirmed.What does B12 hair loss look like? ›
A vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause symptoms of anemia, which is associated with low iron levels, hair thinning, and hair loss. If you're young and have noticed your hair turning grey, it could be due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. According to research, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to premature hair greying.How much iron should I take for hair loss? ›
Most researchers have agreed that we require 50 to 70 nanograms per milliliter of ferritin for hair regrowth.What does anemia hair loss look like? ›
Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen to repair and grow cells such as those that stimulate hair growth. Hair loss caused by iron deficiency can look like traditional pattern baldness – a noticeable increase in the number of hairs left on a brush or on the shower floor.How long does it take to recover from iron deficiency hair loss? ›
If your hair loss is related to low ferritin, then your hair should grow back once the underlying iron deficiency is treated. Still, it can take several months for hair to regrow, so patience is key. Avoid using any hair growth treatments unless otherwise directed by your doctor.What are the five strange symptoms of anemia? ›
- Blue color to the whites of the eyes.
- Brittle nails.
- Desire to eat ice or other non-food things (pica syndrome)
- Lightheadedness when you stand up.
- Pale skin color.
- Shortness of breath with mild activity or even at rest.
- Sore or inflamed tongue.
- Mouth ulcers.
Biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin that plays a major role in promoting the growth of healthy hair. In fact, biotin is so closely related to the growth of hair that studies have found that 38 percent of women with hair loss issues have biotin deficiencies.Which food is best for hair growth? ›
- Green Leafy Vegetables.
- Vitamin C-Rich Citrus Fruits.
- Seeds and Nuts.
- Whole Grain.
How much zinc should I take for hair loss? ›
There could be another underlying issue causing your hair loss or other symptoms, so always consult with a medical professional first,” Dr. Ben Lynch, a naturopathic doctor and founder of Seeking Health. The recommended amounts of zinc are 11mg for males and 8mg for females a day, which can change with age.What vitamin Are you lacking If your hair is thinning? ›
Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a component of two important coenzymes: flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) .What hormone makes your hair grow? ›
Androgens, such as testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and their prohormones dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and androstenedione (A) are the key factors in the growth of terminal hair.Is biotin or B12 better for hair growth? ›
While biotin is one of the more popular supplements for hair, skin, and nails, the research supporting its benefits for people with adequate biotin intake is limited ( 2 ). Similarly, research is inconclusive on whether folate and vitamin B12 are effective for hair growth in people with adequate intakes ( 2 , 3 ).What is the best vitamin to take for hair growth? ›
“Vitamins are essential for healthy hair growth and may help in preventing hair shedding and thinning,” says Michele Green, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “The best vitamins for hair growth include B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and iron.How to reduce hair loss? ›
- Minoxidil (Rogaine). Over-the-counter (nonprescription) minoxidil comes in liquid, foam and shampoo forms. ...
- Finasteride (Propecia). This is a prescription drug for men. ...
- Other medications. Other oral options include spironolactone (Carospir, Aldactone) and oral dutasteride (Avodart).
Best overall vitamin for hair growth
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that supports healthy hair, skin and nail growth. It is especially useful in breaking down foods such as proteins and carbohydrates, boosting energy. Nature Made's Biotin supplement contains 1,000 mcg of biotin.
Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that promotes skin, hair and nails health.What blood test shows hair loss? ›
Too little iron in the bloodstream may contribute to hair loss. Doctors use blood tests to check the level of ferritin, a protein that indicates how much iron is stored in the body.Why is my hair so thin I can see my scalp? ›
Seeing a visible scalp is often a sign of fine hair, and genetics can be the primary cause for this type of hair loss. However, other common causes of thinning hair include stress, hormone imbalances, certain medications, illness or infections and malnutrition.
What is an old medicine remedy for hair loss for pennies a day? ›
It is minoxidil, an old and well-known hair-loss treatment drug used in a very different way. Rather than being applied directly to the scalp, it is being prescribed in very low-dose pills.