X

Enter to win a FREE
Detox Mud Treatment
from Exuviance!

*By entering to win, you agree to receive future emails from Exuviance.

Thinning Hair 101: Why Does It Happen And The Best Ways To Treat It

Large Editorial Image


June 24, 2015

From the time many of us are little girls, we are surrounded by symbols of beauty. Long, flowing locks are arguably the most pervasive–think Rapunzel, Barbie, and every Disney princess ever created.

With so much emphasis on thick hair, it’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that hair loss is a very real problem among women and can occur any time after puberty. I remember the exact moment clumps of hair began falling out in my hands in the shower about seven months after I gave birth to my daughter. I almost began crying. If a gorgeous infant hadn’t been napping in the next room, I might have thrown on jeans and ran to the nearest bar for a shot of whiskey. I heard about postpartum hair loss, but when it happens to you–when loose strands clog your shower and can be found on your pillow every morning–it is nothing short of shocking and scary.

So why do so many of us deal with thinning hair at some point in our lives and is there anything we can do to prevent and treat it? We asked leading hair and skin experts to break it down.

Why Do Some Women Experience Thinning Hair?

Your genes have almost everything to do with it. “There are a number reasons that women can have thinning hair,” says Dr. Sejal Shah of Smarter Skin Dermatology. “The most common cause in women, as it is in men, is hereditary hair loss also known as androgenetic alopecia or female pattern hair loss.  The gene can be inherited from either your mother or father’s side of the family.  An interplay of genes, hormones, and age likely lead to its development.” Shah adds, “Hereditary hair loss can really affect a woman anytime after puberty but more women notice thinning as they get older and the incidence does tend to go up more around menopause. I have several patients in their teens and early 20s who are affected.”

For those of us whose parents have full heads of hair, we’re not entirely in the clear. There are other factors that contribute to thinning hair, according to David E. Bank, founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. “Stress is often a key factor in thinning hair or hair loss. As the blood vessels begin to constrict, it deprives hair follicles of the oxygen, minerals and vitamins it needs for healthy hair growth,” Bank says. “Vitamins are depleted under stress because the body burns more energy and directs the vitamins and nutrients to those body parts that it needs for survival like the heart, lungs, and brain. For that reason and under those conditions, the scalp will not get the benefit of these essential nutrients.”

Dr. Doris Day of Day Dermatology & Aesthetics reminds us that there is a difference between hair loss and damaged hair, which includes shedding, split ends, and breakage. “Other types of hair loss include Telogen Effluvium (temporary hair loss), which can be triggered by hormonal changes after pregnancy and other major stresses such as crash dieting and certain medications,” Day says. “Unlike hereditary hair loss, this condition is a temporary hair shedding rather than permanent hair loss, and hair will typically grow back on its own within three to four months.”

Bank says it’s important to remember that we are supposed to lose about 100 hairs a day. “My simple test to see if a person’s hair loss is normal is that I gently tug on a small section of hair–if fewer than five hairs come out in my fingers with each tug, the hair loss is within the normal range,” Bank explains. “If I conclude that someone is actually experiencing hair loss or thinning hair, then I determine the cause–pregnancy or menopause, low iron or thyroid levels, certain medications or diet, or if it’s genetic, and subsequently, the appropriate course of action to treat.”

Can Women Prevent Their Hair From Thinning?

Don’t stop taking your vitamins after you read this, but I’m sorry to report that there is really no way to prevent hereditary hair loss, according to Shah, who adds that it is best to start treatments as soon as you notice thinning.

“All living cells require vitamins and minerals for optimal growth. Hair is no exception,” Bank says. “Supplement or eating more foods with vitamin B, C, D silica, biotin, amino acids are particularly important for the maintenance of healthy hair. And, they are also particularly important in the formation of the keratin protein that forms hair. Biotin has been known for years to help hair and nails grow. Vitamin D also can lead to thicker hair. Vitamin C helps collagen formation. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.”

To help prevent hair loss caused by stress, Bank recommends taking at least 2.5 milligrams of Biotin orally each day. “Products that contain B5 Panthenol will help strengthen the hair shaft and plump up hair by building up the cuticle from within,” Bank says.

One product to try: Nioxin Diamax Treatment, which was created to help increase the diameter of each strand of hair.

What Can Women With Thinning Hair Do To Treat It?

Shah lists five treatments that are either effective or gaining in popularity:

1. Minoxidil (Rogaine) remains the mainstay of treatment for hereditary hair loss in women.

2. Low level laser therapy has also been shown to be effective.

3. Finasteride (Propecia), which is an oral medication, is not approved for use in women.  However, some women do benefit from anti-androgen medications, such as spironolactone or oral contraceptives.  It is important to note that these medications are not FDA-approved for hair loss  and their use for hair loss is considered off-label.

4. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a newer treatment available for hair loss that delivers growth factors to the hair follicles to stimulate hair growth.

5. Hair transplant is also an option in some women.

Since copper deficiency is associated with hair loss, Shah says it is possible that copper can have a positive effect on hair, though this has yet to be well-studied or documented. Truth Vitality Advanced Complex & True Volume Shampoo contains copper peptide complex known for its ability to promote new hair growth.

How Can Women With Thin Hair Give It The Appearance Of Fullness?

Celebrity Stylist Jill Crosby recommends avoiding long hair if you are experiencing hair loss. “You want to cut to your weight line, which will give a fuller appearance,” Crosby says. “Layered cuts work well for women with thin or thinning hair. Whether your hair is curly, wavy, or straight, layers create dimension. Ask your stylist for subtle layers that frame your face to add volume and lift to your look.”

Matrix Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas adds that bobs and lobs are the best choice as they give the most fullness.  He also recommends using a volumizing Shampoo and conditioner like MATRIX Biolage VOLUMEBLOOM Shampoo & Conditioner to give limp, lifeless hair voluminous body. “Also, oils like Black Jamaican castor oil and coconut oil plumps hair and moisturizes hair follicles,” he says.

Crosby’s at-home gems include Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray , Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray, Blow Pro No Crunch Volumizing Mousse, and Kevin Murphy Session Spray.

Another stylist trick: fake volume using hair color. “Keep highlights to a minimum and make sure they are strategically placed around the face and your natural part,” Papanikolas says. “Adding a base color also swells the cuticle making hair feel thicker.”

For more beauty tips, check out Charcoal is having a major beauty moment — Here’s why and The only undereye concealer you need in your makeup bag.

 

Shop oribe

More oribe | 3 of 886 »

Women's Dry Texturizing Spray 75ml by

Oribe

Buy Now

- Aprés Beach Wave And Shine Spray, 300ml - Colorless by

Oribe

Buy Now

Apres Beach Wave and Shine Hairspray, 8.5oz by

Oribe

Buy Now




  • We're Giving Away <em>Free</em> Exuviance Detox Mud Treatments #SampleSaturday

    We're Giving Away Free Exuviance Detox Mud Treatments #SampleSaturday

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Here's How To Find Your Exact Skin Undertones

    Here's How To Find Your Exact Skin Undertones

    Beauty

    2 days

  • The Too Faced x I Want Kandee Melted Mattes Are Too Sweet For Words (Check Out These Swatches!)

    The Too Faced x I Want Kandee Melted Mattes Are Too Sweet For Words (Check Out These Swatches!)

    Beauty

    2 days

  • Can You Believe These Gorgeous Backpacks Are Actually Diaper Bags?!

    Can You Believe These Gorgeous Backpacks Are Actually Diaper Bags?!

    Style

    2 days

  • Alert: These Are The Last Days To Ship Gifts For Christmas This Year (Don't Wait Too Long!)

    Alert: These Are The Last Days To Ship Gifts For Christmas This Year (Don't Wait Too Long!)

    Shop

    2 days

  • These Are The Best Collaborations You <em>Need</em> To Know About Now

    The Perfect Gifts For The Star Wars Fan Girl Or Boy On Your List

    Shop

    2 days

  • We've Got Swatches Of Too Faced's New Chocolate Gold Eye Shadow Palette & They're Incredible!

    We've Got Swatches Of Too Faced's New Chocolate Gold Eye Shadow Palette & They're Incredible!

    Beauty

    2 days

  • Upgrade Your Holiday 'Do With One Of These Stunning Party Hairstyles

    Upgrade Your Holiday 'Do With One Of These Stunning Party Hairstyles

    Beauty

    2 days

  • MAC x Jade Jagger Is Almost Here--And We've Got Swatches!

    MAC x Jade Jagger Is Almost Here--And We've Got Swatches!

    Beauty

    2 days

  • What Are The Best Plus Size Online Boutiques? Check Out Your New Favorite Stores Here!

    What Are The Best Plus Size Online Boutiques? Check Out Your New Favorite Stores Here!

    Style

    2 days

  • Weekend Project: Make Your Own Hydrating Body Lotion

    Weekend Project: Make Your Own Hydrating Body Lotion

    Beauty

    2 days

  • This Is The Secret To Growing Your Own Gorgeous, Full Eyelashes...

    This Is The Secret To Growing Your Own Gorgeous, Full Eyelashes...

    Beauty

    2 days

  • Thursday Boot Company Has It All--High Quality Stylish Boots That Also Happen To Be Super Affordable

    Thursday Boot Company Has It All--High Quality Stylish Boots That Also Happen To Be Super Affordable

    Style

    2 days

  • 5 Too Faced Glow Job Mask Dupes That Will Give You The Most Radiant Skin Of Your Life

    5 Too Faced Glow Job Mask Dupes That Will Give You The Most Radiant Skin Of Your Life

    Beauty

    2 days

  • Lipstick Queen

    Lipstick Queen "Eden" Is The Universally Flattering Red Lip Color We've All Been Waiting For

    Style

    2 days

  • 5 Cheap Natural Products Dermatologists Swear By For Wrinkles

    5 Cheap Natural Products Dermatologists Swear By For Wrinkles

    Beauty

    3 days

  • Zara's Green Monday Sale Is Going To Be AMAZING!

    Zara's Green Monday Sale Is Going To Be AMAZING!

    Style

    3 days

  • Zadig & Voltaire Is Having A Huge 70% Off Flash Sale Right Now

    Zadig & Voltaire Is Having A Huge 70% Off Flash Sale Right Now

    Style

    3 days

  • Drop Everything: These Are The Best Online Sales Happening Right Now That You Need To Know About

    Drop Everything: These Are The Best Online Sales Happening Right Now That You Need To Know About

    Shop

    3 days

  • Nordstrom Shoppers Can't Stop Raving About This Flattering High/Low Tunic Top

    Nordstrom Shoppers Can't Stop Raving About This Flattering High/Low Tunic Top

    Style

    3 days

  • This Is The One Body Lotion That Keeps My Skin Soft And Smooth During Winter (Bonus: It Smells Amazing!)

    This Is The One Body Lotion That Keeps My Skin Soft And Smooth During Winter (Bonus: It Smells Amazing!)

    Beauty

    3 days

  • Beauty Enthusiasts <em>Love</em> FOREO's Luna Cleansing Brush--Here's How To Get One For 20% Off

    Beauty Enthusiasts Love FOREO's Luna Cleansing Brush--Here's How To Get One For 20% Off

    Beauty

    3 days

  • The New UGG Boots Are Here And They're Anything But Basic

    The New UGG Boots Are Here And They're Anything But Basic

    Shop

    3 days

  • Don't Wait--Nordstrom Just Restocked Their Crazy Popular Classic Leggings And They're Only $11!

    Don't Wait--Nordstrom Just Restocked Their Crazy Popular Classic Leggings And They're Only $11!

    Style

    3 days

  • These Sequin Outfit Ideas Are Perfect For Holiday Parties, New Year's Eve & More

    These Sequin Outfit Ideas Are Perfect For Holiday Parties, New Year's Eve & More

    Style

    3 days

  • The 8 Best Makeup Brands For Women With Dermatitis

    The 8 Best Makeup Brands For Women With Dermatitis

    Beauty

    3 days

  • How to Tie A Blanket Scarf 8 Creative Ways

    How to Tie A Blanket Scarf 8 Creative Ways

    4 days

  • These Are The Best Smelling (And Best-Selling!) Lush Bath Bombs

    These Are The Best Smelling (And Best-Selling!) Lush Bath Bombs

    Beauty

    4 days

  • 7 Target Shoes That Look A Lot More Expensive Than They Actually Are

    7 Target Shoes That Look A Lot More Expensive Than They Actually Are

    Style

    4 days

  • These Matching Family Pajamas Are Perfect For The Holidays!

    These Matching Family Pajamas Are Perfect For The Holidays!

    Shop

    4 days

  • This Is the Softest T-Shirt Ever--So You Can Stop Looking

    This Is the Softest T-Shirt Ever--So You Can Stop Looking

    Style

    4 days

  • 4 Surprising Things That Are Ruining Your Skin, According To Dermatologists

    4 Surprising Things That Are Ruining Your Skin, According To Dermatologists

    Beauty

    1 day

  • 5 Cheap Natural Products Dermatologists Swear By For Sagging Skin

    5 Cheap Natural Products Dermatologists Swear By For Sagging Skin

    Beauty

    1 day

  • Who Does Meghan Markle Have to Curtsy to — and Who Will Bend and Bow to Her?

    Who Does Meghan Markle Have to Curtsy to — and Who Will Bend and Bow to Her?

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • Celebrities Who Have Been Honest About Their Past Drug Addictions—So Brave!

    Celebrities Who Have Been Honest About Their Past Drug Addictions—So Brave!

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • Did Beyoncé Really Think That This Was An Appropriate Outfit To Wear To Target?

    Did Beyoncé Really Think That This Was An Appropriate Outfit To Wear To Target?

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • Um, Did Chrissy Teigen Not Realize That Her Outfit Was Completely See-Through?

    Um, Did Chrissy Teigen Not Realize That Her Outfit Was Completely See-Through?

    Celebrity

    2 days

  • Um, Did Khloé Kardashian Not Realize That Her Top Was Completely See-Through?

    Um, Did Khloé Kardashian Not Realize That Her Top Was Completely See-Through?

    Celebrity

    3 days

  • 3 Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Dupes That Are Just As Great As The Original

    3 Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Dupes That Are Just As Great As The Original

    Beauty

    3 days

  • The One Chapstick You Should Stop Using, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Chapstick You Should Stop Using, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    4 days

  • The One Drugstore Anti-Aging Product Every Woman Should Avoid, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Drugstore Anti-Aging Product Every Woman Should Avoid, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    4 days

  • Blake Lively Suffers Hand Injury On Set Of Her New Film

    Blake Lively Suffers Hand Injury On Set Of Her New Film

    Celebrity

    4 days

  • Um, Did Kirsten Dunst Not Realize Her Dress Was Completely See-Through?

    Um, Did Kirsten Dunst Not Realize Her Dress Was Completely See-Through?

    Celebrity

    4 days

  • How To Get The Look Of Lip Injections Without Needles And Pain

    How To Get The Look Of Lip Injections Without Needles And Pain

    Beauty

    4 days

  • The Right Way To Get Rid Of Under-Eye Bags, According To A Dermatologist

    The Right Way To Get Rid Of Under-Eye Bags, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    5 days

  • I Tried This Cult-Favorite Serum & This Is What Happened...

    I Tried This Cult-Favorite Serum & This Is What Happened...

    Beauty

    5 days

  • 4 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Eat For Your Hair, Skin & Nails, According To A Dermatologist

    4 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Eat For Your Hair, Skin & Nails, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    5 days

  • Facebook Just Launched Messenger Kids, A New Social App Designed Specifically For Children--Here's What You Need To Know

    Facebook Just Launched Messenger Kids, A New Social App Designed Specifically For Children--Here's What You Need To Know

    Kids

    5 days

  • The One Product You Should Start Using For Dark Spots, According To A Dermatologist

    The One Product You Should Start Using For Dark Spots, According To A Dermatologist

    Beauty

    5 days

  • Attention Parents: These Are The Hottest Holiday Toys For 2017

    Attention Parents: These Are The Hottest Holiday Toys For 2017

    Shop

    5 days

  • What Is Kylie Jenner Wearing? She's Practically Naked!

    What Is Kylie Jenner Wearing? She's Practically Naked!

    Celebrity

    5 days

  • The One Supplement You Should Take Every Morning To Make Your Skin Glow

    The One Supplement You Should Take Every Morning To Make Your Skin Glow

    Beauty

    5 days

  • You Need A Pair of Fleece-Lined Leggings For Winter--These Are Our Favorites

    You Need A Pair of Fleece-Lined Leggings For Winter--These Are Our Favorites

    Style

    5 days