It’s more common than you might imagine.
In a study of more than 2,000 UK women, Philip Kingsley Trichology Clinics found that hair loss and thinning affects almost one-third of us at some point in our lives.
Whilst more than half of all cases of hair thinning occur in the 45-64 age group (so the problem is often age-related), one-eighth still occur in the under-35s.
Thankfully, the problem is often temporary, such as when it follows illness, accident, childbirth, shock or bereavement, usually occurring three-to-six months later, after which the problem gradually corrects itself. Other causes include extreme stress, crashdieting, hormone issues and certain medicines such as beta-blockers and, of course, chemotherapy (after which regrowth is sometimes different in texture or colour.) Thinning hair can also be caused by a thyroid condition, which isn’t unusual after menopause. Most cases can be improved, even female pattern hair loss, so if you’ve noticed thinning, do consult a doctor or trichologist. But there are also steps you can take to help yourself.
1. Eat a healthy diet. Former British Hairdresser of the Year Darren Ambrose says, ‘Fine, thinning hair sometimes stems from your diet. Your hair has a root ball and blood supply so everything comes from within.’ Protein is vital, although you don’t need much. According to trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver, around 45g per day is all that’s required (that’s less than two ounces in old money.)
2. Take a multivitamin with minerals. It will top up minor deficiencies such as low iron (one of the most common causes of thinning hair), vitamin D or B12. It may also be worth arranging a blood test to check your levels. Alternatively, Viviscal Maximum Strength Supplement, £29.99 contains marine protein, vitamins C, B3, biotin and zinc to support healthy hair growth.
3. Look after your scalp. Above all, avoid constant pulling through wearing tight ponytails, updos, braids and extensions, and even using excessive tension during blowdrying. Also, according to celebrity hairdresser Phil Smith, ‘Regular massage stimulates blood flow and nutrients to the follicles and can plump up fine, thin hair. Use your fingertips in a circular motion with light pressure in one area at a time.’ Darren Ambrose adds, ‘I also recommend not shampooing too often. If necessary, just “wash” your hair with conditioner. Use plenty of water, massage the conditioner into your mid-lengths and ends, then rinse off. It freshens without washing out all the natural oils.’
4. Choose helpful haircare that plumps up the diameter of each hair from the inside. Nanogen Thickening Hair Treatment Shampoo, £8.99 and Conditioner, £8.99, contain growth-stimulating ingredients plus volumising peptides, while Nioxin’s new Instant Fullness Dry Cleanser, £16.99 claims to instantly leave hair “two times fuller.” You should also be gentle with your hair, especially when it comes to using heat. Let hair dry naturally often as possible and, when you do use your blowdryer, turn the heat down.
5. Use styling tips to help camouflage thin hair. Phil Smith suggests, ‘Adding lift and volume to the roots is one of the best ways to create the illusion of thicker hair.’ Blowdry until slightly damp, then apply Swell Ultimate Volume Root Complex 100ml, £32 to the roots to set the ‘lift’ you’ve created. Also, move your parting occasionally as years of wearing it in the same place can leave it flat. To finish, John Frieda stylist Jonathon Eagland adds, ‘For tremendous volume and body after styling, simply tilt your head upside down and spray hairspray on the under sections, then toss your head back up. Gently push hair into place and lightly spray again to hold the style.’ He recommends Time Bomb High Profile Thicken & Lift Spray, £16.50 which contains a unique thickening resin that instantly adds plumpness and fullness.
6. Try colour. Kala Kilshaw, Creative Director of Ego Professional, says colouring products help swell the hairshaft and make your style appear thicker. ‘Demi-permanents (longer-lasting semi-permanents which involve mixing two solutions together) deposit pigment particles very close to the hair’s inner structure, while permanent tints are small enough to penetrate right inside it. Both swell the hair and make it look thicker and fuller. Just remember to keep it well-conditioned afterwards.’
Do you have any tips or tricks to help with hair thinning? Do tell us below…
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