You know the long, luscious locks sporting beach waves in the summer? They're beautiful. Yet, if you're losing texture and shine, this vision isn't so likely. If you notice signs your hair is thinning out, and perhaps you're balding or losing strands in key places, it could mean something else is going on with your health and nutrition levels. Fixing this problem can be easy, as long as you know what exactly you're looking for.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on getting in the right nutrients and keeping their bodies healthy and protected. When you're malnourished, your risk for disease increases and you might notice other bodily symptoms come into play, one being hair loss. Hair needs to grow and strengthen, and it needs fuel to do so. If you're not supplying it with what it needs, it won't be able to withstand daily stresses, such as brushing, sleeping, working out, and more (all of which can pull on hair). Plus, your ends will become more fragile and dull, so they'll fall out easier. Here are 11 signs your hair is thinning out and you might need to up your nutrient intake for longer, more sturdier strands.
1. You're Stressed
According to Michael S. Langan, MD FACP from The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center over email with Bustle, if you're super stressed out, it can cause your hair to thin out. "Be sure to get adequate rest and exercise regularly to minimize any contributors to poor overall physical and mental health," Langan recommends.
2. You Straighten Your Hair Daily
Yes, grooming is awesome, but all that heat damage can really cause hair to go sparse. "Minimize the amount of traction and trauma to the hair such as frequent styling, excessive blow drying, tight braids, or ironing/curling. These can contribute to unhealthy hair that results in loss or breaking of hair follicles," says Langan.
3. You're Skipping Meals
If you're skipping meals, you're probably not getting the nutrients you need. So, don't be surprised if your hair is getting frail. "Maintain a healthy diet because proper nutrition is critical. Many vitamins and minerals such as biotin, niacin, iron, and zinc have been implicated in maintaining healthy hair. Vitamin supplementation may help with hair issues depending on the underlying cause," says Langan.
4. You Have Bald Spots
If you're styling your hair often or throwing it in a ponytail during the day, you might notice you're finding bald spots on your head, and this can mean that you're slowly losing your hair. To prevent this, try and keep hair down as much as possible, and save the ponytail for workouts.
5. You Have Diseases Linked To Hair Loss
"Hair thinning or hair loss can represent a distressing cosmetic issue, but it is important to understand that in some circumstances it also represents an underlying medical issue," says Langan. "These medical issues may include nutritional deficiencies, medication side effects, thyroid disease, or autoimmune diseases to name a few," Langan adds.
6. You're Not Eating Healthy Fats
If you're not eating healthy fats (or putting it on your hair, like coconut oil, for instance), you're not nourishing your strands, advises Jessica Swift MS, Registered Dietitian over email with Bustle. Swift recommends eating salmon: "This fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that not only help boost growth but will also give your hair some sheen." And, Vegan? "Try flax and chia seeds, as they are loaded with omega-3 as well," Swift adds.
7. You're Losing Weight
"Now if you lost this weight the correct way, eating right and exercise, then you should be fine. But if you starved yourself, then you will more likely than not find some extra strands of hair on your brush," says Swift. "Losing weight the wrong way or having unintentional weight loss could add extra stress to your body causing your hair to abandon ship," Swift adds.
8. You're On The Pill
"Medications and hormones can lead to hair loss," says Swift. "Whether it is birth control or antidepressants, both have been linked to hair loss. A simple switching of the dose or prescription can help aid in lock retention," Swift recommends. Talk to a physician for better guidance.
9. There's Lots Of Hair Left In The Brush
If you find large chunks of hair remaining in your brush or comb, it could mean you're losing more hair than usual, and those dried, fragile strands are more prone to breakage, explained experts at WebMD. Examine your hair accessories after a blow out to see if you're thinning out.
10. There's Excess Hair In The Shower Drain
Your shower drain shouldn't clog that easily, so if you're finding yourself pulling out balls of hair regularly, something's definitely up. Abnormal hair shedding in the shower can be a sign of thinning hair, so keep track of how often you're cleaning the drain and see how that measures up.
11. There's Hair On Your Pillow
If you get up in the morning and notice shreds of hair on your pillow, it could mean your hair is thinning out (and falling out) while you're sleeping, explained Sonia Batra, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Santa Monica, CA over interview with Prevention.
If you notice these signs or lifestyle habits that could be causes happening, see a doctor to discuss the next steps. There's no need to lose hair when you don't have to.