Growing up, I inaccurately thought thinning hair was only applicable to men, not realizing female hair loss occurs as well. It’s never a thrilling realization to come to that you’re losing hair. For one, it makes for a lot of excess hair cleanup (looking at you clogged shower drains and filled brushes). But, also, at times it can mess with our sense of self-esteem. Hair is closely connected to self-image, according to WebMD. So facing thinning hair can often make us feel just… terrible. Trust me, I’ve been there, too.
There are many things that are known to increase hair loss for women, including taking steamy showers (the hot water dehydrates hair, making it brittle and more likely to snap), wearing tight ponytails and buns, overusing hot hair styling tools, exposing hair to too much sun, and starving the body (without the right amount of food, the body uses the little energy it has for vital functions — like those of the heart and brain — rather than to produce hair), according to Prevention. In addition, there are medical causes as well that are simply beyond our control unless we get them properly diagnosed.
There are signs that can help us determine when our hair is thinning, and luckily, there are ways to help counter it — many of which are fairly simple. Here are seven common signs of hair loss for women, and what we can do to fix it.
1. Your Shower Drain Is Filled With More Hair Than Usual
Every woman loses hair — it’s part of nature. In fact, it’s thought we lose 100 hairs per day, on average, according to WebMD. If you’re starting to notice that your shower drain is clogged with a lot more hair than usual, this is one of the primary signs of thinning hair. It can be a scary sight at first, but don’t freak yourself out just yet. Make some changes in the shower to help fight this.
What To Do: Since, as mentioned above, one of the common ways women lose hair is by taking steamy showers, use this shower time to make as much of a difference as possible by washing your hair with cooler water. It might seem completely dreadful at first, but don't worry; you’ll quickly get used to the chiller water, and
2. Your Brush Is Also Filled With A lot Of Hair
Similarly to what you
might be finding in the shower, often those of us who are experiencing thinning
hair will be able to very easily tell by the amount of hair left behind in our
brush. Of course, throughout our lives we’ve become used to having to clean our
brushes out, but if you’re noticing there is much more hair left behind these
days and you need to clean your brush far more frequently, take this as a sign
of thinning hair.
What To Do: There are a few things we can do to prevent hair loss from brushing according to dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, M.D. For one, make sure you’re using a wide-needled plastic brush. Also, make sure you aren’t brushing your hair very often, as the more you brush the more your hair becomes brittle and damaged. And, if your have straight hair do not brush your hair when it’s sopping wet, as this is when the hair is most delicate and likely to snap. For those with wavy or curly hair, towel dry your hair to damp, apply a good detangler (like Not Your Mother’s Knotty To Nice Conditioning Detangler), and then brush.
3. You Have To Do An Extra Loop When Tying Your Hair Up
Used to having thick
hair and barely being able to do two loops when throwing your hair up? And now,
suddenly, you can easily get three loops? This may be a sign that your hair is
growing thinner, and it could have to do with the way you’re tying your hair up. If
you repeatedly use a hair tie on the same part of your hair over and over,
eventually your hair will
begin breaking at that point.
What To Do: To help your hair defeat hair tie breakage, try giving your hair some time off from traditional up-dos, and swap in a side braid. If you’re heading to the gym and can’t imagine having a spec of your hair touch your neck, opt for a ponytail with a metal-free elastic.
4. You Can Easily See Through To Your Scalp
I was diagnosed with
hypothyroidism in college (one
of the primary symptoms is thinning hair, according to ABC News Health & Wellness), but right before my diagnosis I
was constantly upset about the way my hair looked. I’d always had thick and
sometimes unruly hair, but I would have taken that back in a heartbeat over the
now thin and brittle locks I was facing. I’d notice my thin hair most when it
was in a ponytail, and I could clearly see directly through my hair to my scalp
in many areas. It was alarming and — quite frankly — awful.
What To Do: Once I started on medication for the disease, my hair grew back in in no time. That said, there are things we involuntarily do to our hair that causes it to break and thin, but then there are genetic and/or medical reasons as well. If you’re experiencing other concerning symptoms outside of your thinning hair, consider visiting your doctor for a check-up, and running him or her through what you’ve been experiencing.
5. You’re Convinced Your Forehead Is Getting Bigger
While, according to Livestrong, women don’t
experience the same kind of receding hairline issues as men, it isn’t to say
that women can’t notice a thinning of the hair above the forehead. If you’re
seeing yourself in the mirror, and can’t help wondering why your forehead looks
bigger than ever, it could be due to hair loss around that region.
What To Do: Again, the primary culprit here might be tying your hair back tightly (and regularly) into a bun or ponytail — so avoid doing this when possible. There are things we can do internally that help us prevent thinning hair, as well. Stress is directly associated with hair loss, and it’s thought that extreme physical or emotional stress can lead to the shedding of one-half to three-quarters of hair. To combat stress, try exercising, engaging in social activity, avoiding the stressor (where possible), and making time for fun and relaxation.
6. You See A Big Difference When Looking At Older Photos Of Yourself
For real, though, who
is the stunning beauty with incredibly full hair? It can be hard to come to
terms with, but seeing a photo of ourselves from a few years prior can really
speak to how much hair we’ve lost. If your hair seems to look way thicker back
then, it’s may be a sign that you’re now losing hair. Of course, an exception to this
could be if you’ve drastically changed your hairstyle or color, making it look
very different now versus then.
What To Do: You’ve noticed there’s a difference, and want to make a change ASAP. So, for one, ask yourself how often you tend to use your hot styling tools. If you use them every day, stop! These tools cause obvious heat-related damage to our locks, so by restricting the number of times you use them each week, it will slowly begin to make a difference. Also, consider amping up your diet with the right foods. Hair lives on protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. To get these pumping through your body, try consuming more meats, fish, and greens.
7. People Insist You’ve Done Something Different With Your Hair
“When did you cut it?” “You changed the color!” “You must be styling it different these days!” If you’ve been hearing regular comments from those around you on how your hair looks different — meanwhile, you haven’t done anything different — it could mean it’s simply looking thinner. Take a hand mirror and, using your bathroom mirror as well, examine all sides. Are you noticing bald spots? Do you see areas that look extremely flat? If so, you might be battling thinning hair. Of course, this doesn't mean that if you've been told your hair looks different once or twice that your hair is definitely thinning, but it's worth considering, especially in combination with any of the other signs.
What To Do: There are so many great natural vitamin supplements on the market that help boost hair growth. For instance, investing in daily supplements for iron, vitamin D, zinc and B-complex vitamins can certainly help you achieve healthy and stronger hair. Additionally, GNC Women’s Hair, Skin & Nails Formula is said to work wonders, according to customer reviews on Drugstore.com. I’ve personally used Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails and must say — it’s nothing short of amazing for hair growth.
Now that we’ve addressed some of the signs of hair loss and ways to fix it, those of us with thinning hair can counter it quickly. With these tips for correcting thin hair, you can be right back to a full, luscious head of hair in no time. However, if you're eliminating heated styling tools, taking cooler showers, and being more conscious of all the things that can cause thinning hair with no difference, it might be time to talk to your doctor, according to WebMD. Other symptoms worthy of seeing a doctor immediately are incredibly sudden hair loss, hair coming out in large chunks, you have a rash, or you think it's a reaction to a medication.