Common Signs Of Hair Health Issues & What To Do

by Erica Florentine

Our bodies have a unique way of telling us when something is not right. It’s up to us to listen closely, and take action when action is needed. Our hair is just one area of our bodies that speak to us. There are common signs of hair health issues that we should be certain to pay attention to. While some simply tell us that we are not being as kind as we should be to our locks, other signs might indicate that something bigger is happening on the inside that might even need medical guidance or treatment.

Living the healthiest life possible is on many of our radars. For some, it might mean eating healthy and exercising regularly, others might more-so focus on getting the right amount of sleep each night, and others might be all about trying to lead a life with minimal stress. While all of these are incredibly important, living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about taking these preventative measures. Sometimes it’s also about being sure to listen to our bodies and the signs they are giving us that something might not be right. There are signs that might be very obvious to us — such as that we’re always getting sick and can’t seem to shake even the most minor of colds — but others might be less obvious, and might therefore be ones we overlook. Our hair might be one part of our body that speaks to us without us listening very closely. Now is the time to listen up, though. Here are 11 common signs of health hair issues, and what you can do to fix it.

1. Dandruff Could Mean You’re Getting Too Much Sun

This time of year you might notice that you’ve been seeing more dandruff on your scalp than usual, leaving you wondering what could possibly be going on. Well, turns out you might have the sun to thank for that flaky scalp of yours. According to WebMD, the excessive exposure to the sun and heat can leave your scalp in a dry, unhappy place. What can you do to fight this? You can start by being certain to apply sunscreen to the areas of your scalp that are exposed — like your part — before you head outside. You can also try medicated shampoos and conditioners to begin to relieve the flaking ( recommends some great shampoo options here.)

2. Your Diet Could Be Causing Your Hair To Thin

Take a look in the mirror. Do you notice that your hair is looking much thinner than ever before? Thinning hair can be due to a wide range of factors, one of which is your diet. For instance, according to LIVESTRONG, a diet low in zinc, iron, and/or protein could play a role in thinning hair. I spoke to celebrity hairstylist and Women’s ROGAINE® spokesperson Jill Crosby via email who suggests anyone who is concerned that diet might be playing a role in their thinning hair should visit a physician to help them better develop a healthy diet plan.

3. Thinning Hair Could Mean You’re Overstressed

Another cause of thinning hair is stress, according to Medline Plus. The site noted that “physical or emotional stress may cause one-half to three-quarters of scalp hair to shed.” Often times this hair loss is temporary, but it can become chronic. To combat it thinning hair, Crosby suggests a treatment such as Women’s ROGAINE® Foam that she noted can help to reactivate hair follicles and can help prevent further thinning. Also, cut back on the stress where possible by using some of these tips.

4. Thinning Hair Could Also Mean Your Genes Have Taken Over

You might assume that if hereditary hair loss was going to plague you at some point in your life, it would probably be way down the road. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. In fact, according to Crosby, this type of hair loss can begin as early as your early 20s. If your genes are playing against you and you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it, think again. Crosby says she recommends using Women’s ROGAINE® Foam at the first sign of hereditary hair loss to help fight the problem.

5. Or Thinning Hair Could Signify Something’s Up With Your Thyroid

Thinning hair could also mean your thyroid is trying to telling you something. According to Prevention, noticeable hair loss can sometimes point to an underactive thyroid. What should you do if you think this might be the case? The outlet suggested heading to your doctor ASAP to get a blood test that can determine whether your thyroid is functioning properly or not. If it’s not, your doctor get prescribe you the right medicine to get things back on track.

6. Yellow Dandruff Might Need Specific Attention

We talked earlier about dandruff, but let’s quickly discuss what the deal is when that dandruff is yellow and has a greasy appearance. According to WebMD, this type of dandruff could mean you have an inflammatory skin condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. See a doctor if you think this might be the case. WedMD noted many times this can be cleared up with the use of over-the-counter medicated shampoos, but in some cases might need a prescription to cure.

7. Split Ends Could Mean You’re Mistreating Your Locks

Listen to your ends, because they might be telling you something. If you’re using too much heat on your hair on a regular basis — say blow drying and straightening every day without a heat protector, it’s possible you’re drying your hair out way too much and bringing those split ends upon yourself. To surpass this, be sure to use a heat protector before using hot tools, and use a deep conditioner once a week. What about the pre-existing split ends? According to Crosby, once your ends are split, there is no turning back. The only fix is to get those ends cut off, Crosby adds. How often should be we getting a cut? Crosby recommends going in for a trim every couple of months to keep your hair healthy.

8. Malnutrition Can Cause Brittle Hair

If you’re not getting the proper nutrition, you might soon notice your hair is especially brittle. According to, malnutrition is one of the causes associated with brittle hair. If you think this is relevant to you, you should work with a medical professional who can help get your diet on the right track. Other causes for brittle hair, according to the outlet, include a biotin deficiency and excessive heat exposure (whether that be from the sun or hot tools). Just because it’s damaged, though, doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Dr. Francesca Fusco, a Manhattan dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Assistant Attending Physician at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, spoke to the outlet and noted, “Hair is not living, so it can’t heal itself once it’s damaged. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it by using the right products to add shine and strength.”

9. Shedding Hair Could Signify Anemia

Check your brush — is it filled with a ton of excess hair? This could be a sign your iron levels are far too low. According to Medical Daily, if you’re hair is falling out by the handful, it might mean you’re simply not getting enough iron, causing you to possibly be anemic. As we’ve discussed with earlier points in this article, if you believe you might be anemic, see your doctor who can run a blood test and put you on the right treatment, as necessary, to get your iron levels back to where they should be.

10. A Sudden Mustache Growth Could Mean Something’s Up

There is nothing that can come as more of a shock than looking in the mirror to notice a lot of new lip hairs where they never were before. If there are plenty on that top lip — and you’ve never had them in the past — it could be a possible sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome. According to Good Housekeeping, other signs to look out for include irregular periods, adult acne, and sudden hair loss. See your gynecologist if you think this syndrome might align to symptoms you’ve been having.

11. Gray Hair Might Mean You Need A Break

You know that notion that people get grey hair because of stress? Turns out, it’s no exaggeration. Why does this happen? Everyday Health spoke to dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, MD, with the department of dermatology at The Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, Calif. who explained, “Oxidative stress may affect pigment producing cells.” This leads to that greying hair you might be noticing. If you’re seeing more and more greys pop up, try your best to manage your stress each day in healthy ways.

As it turns out, our hair can tell us a great deal about what’s happening inside of our bodies, and can teach us some lessons about how we can take better care of ourselves (and our locks). As mentioned throughout this article, if you think any of the hair symptoms you have are correlated to a bigger health issue, see your medical professional for further insight and a plan of treatment.

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