Why is my hair thinning?
Navin Khosla has been a registered Pharmacist since 1995. He obtained his B.Pharm Degree in Pharmacy from the London School of Pharmacy, University of London in 1994, and has built a wealth of experience by working across the community pharmacy retail sector.
You’ve clocked your hair on a social media photo. A bit thinner than you expected? Or your mate pointed it out to you – nice one pal. The initial shock of finding out your hair’s thinning isn’t great. But it’s time to get over it and do something about it.
Because these days you can do something about it. There’s plenty you can do to slow hair loss and keep your hair. You can even reverse hair loss nowadays. Here we explain how you can treat thinning hair in men.
What does thinning hair mean?
Thinning hair is when patches of hair on your head become less dense over time and the hairs produced there become shorter and finer. You may start to see your scalp through your hair where you couldn’t before.
Thinning hair can be the first stage of hair loss (balding) although this will progress at different speeds in different men. Other conditions can cause thinning without leading to baldness. Let’s run through the possible causes.
Why is my hair thinning?
Your hair can thin for a range of reasons. Hair thinning causes can include:
- You’re damaging it: Things like brushing it too hard, using aggressive styling products and treatments or even wearing a tight-fitting hat can all cause more hair to be shed than usual. This can make your hair thin.
- A bad diet: Not getting enough biotin, iron, folic acid and other important nutrients in your diet can thin your locks and cause more hair to fall out. Make sure you eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, eggs and lean meats.
- Illness: A range of conditions can cause your hair to fall out including autoimmune diseases that damage hair follicles and cause infections of the scalp. See your doctor if you’re concerned about this.
- Certain medications: These include medicines used to treat cancer, arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure and mood disorders. They can all cause hair loss and thinning as a side effect. Check with your doctor to find out more about side effects.
- Stress: Prolonged stress can take a toll on your body and make you lose more hair than usual.
- Male pattern baldness: This is the prime suspect. Male pattern baldness (MPB) is the most common cause of hair loss in men. It’s caused by a combination of hormones, genetics and ageing that makes hair follicles in your scalp shrink over time until they close up altogether. This results in areas of your hair thinning and balding as hair becomes progressively shorter and finer until no hair is grown at all.
Can depression cause hair thinning?
Lasting stress and distress caused by mood disorders like depression can cause hair thinning but it’s thought to be rare. If you have depression and your hair is thinning it’s more likely to be caused by something else. This could even include antidepressants if you’re taking them. You should talk to your doctor if you’re worried about depression and hair loss.
What are the first signs of hair thinning?
You maximise your chances of fighting thinning hair if you spot it quickly and act accordingly. Be on the lookout for signs of thinning hair like:
- More hairs coming out than usual in the shower, on your pillow or when you style your hair.
- Your hair sitting differently on your head and not being able to hold your usual style.
- Your scalp getting burned for the first time when you’re out in the sun.
- You notice your hairline receding (your forehead getting larger). This often happens at the corners of your hairline first.
- Your scalp becoming visible through areas of your hair. This is often on top at the back of your head (usually pointed out by someone else or revealed in a photo that captures the back of your head). Great.
How to stop hair thinning
So, how to prevent hair thinning. Your first step is to try and work out what’s causing your hair to thin. If your hair is thinning evenly all over then it’s likely to be caused by diet, medications, illnesses or stress. Your best course of action is to see your doctor so they can give you a diagnosis or refer you to the appropriate specialists.
If your hair is thinning at the front along your hairline – especially at the corners above your temples or on the top and back of your head (a thinning crown) – then it’s likely that MPB is causing your thinning. Do you want the good news? MPB used to be untreatable but that’s no longer the case today. You can fight back using a scientifically proven hair loss treatment called finasteride.
Also sold under the brand name Propecia, finasteride can slow hair loss caused by male pattern baldness. If used early enough it can even reverse hair thinning and loss in some men.
Can hair grow back after thinning?
This depends on what’s causing your hair to thin. In some cases you can reverse hair thinning by addressing the root cause. This could be a poor diet, stress, illness, medications or hair damage caused by over-styling. If your thinning is caused by MPB you may be able to grow hair back if you treat it early enough with finasteride (Propecia).
So, what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to sort out that hair.