Most of us are not only tied to our hair physically, but emotionally, too. It’s an extension of our identity—an important part of our physical appearance that gives us a keen type of confidence. That’s why it’s so common to feel incomplete after your hair starts thinning or falling out. While it’s perfectly normal to shed strands (in fact, most people lose 50 to 100 hairs per day on average), large clumps of hair should not be falling out and clogging the shower drain, explains celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, whose clients include the Kardashians.
One of the biggest culprits that cause thinning hair is simply aging. “As women go through menopause, they create less estrogen and progesterone, which leaves their hair more susceptible to the effects of androgens (testosterone), hormones that thin the hair and slow down its growth,” says Erum Ilyas, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in Pennsylvania. “Aside from aging, certain autoimmune conditions (frontal fibrosing alopecia and lichen planopilaris) can cause hair loss and result in inflammation at the base of the hair follicles, which can actually scar the hair follicle and has a risk of permanent hair loss.”
Other less severe factors may be to blame for thinning hair, too. “Crash dieting, surgeries, family stress, new jobs, having the flu, long distance travel, you name it—all can have a direct impact when it comes to shedding of the hair and its inability to grow faster,” says Dr. Ilyas. “When a major stress occurs, there is a shift in the hair cycle of growth and less hair follicles are stimulated to grow.”
Vitamin deficiencies caused by a poor diet, such as a lack of iron and vitamin B12 deficiency, have been linked to thinning hair as well. If you’re someone who hops on and off the latest diet bandwagon, especially if those diets are quite aggressive, your hair follicles can be impacted, causing aggressive fall out with no new regrowth.
The good news: Although some hair shedding is inevitable, there are plenty of solutions and tricks of the trade to help you grow a fuller, thicker head of hair relatively fast (though patience is a must!). Here, hair and skin experts share their best kept secrets for healthier and longer hair.