Thinning hair can be a jarring experience. For something as personal as hair, changes like hair loss, clumps of hair falling out, or a receding hairline can be especially distressing.
For many people, hair is a defining piece of their appearance. We can all empathize with the shock of not recognizing ourselves in the mirror. And since hair loss can be gradual for some, it can be difficult to know whether you’re actually experiencing it. The hair growth cycle changes a lot as we age and experience hormonal changes. It can also be impacted by underlying conditions, severe stress, or medical illness.
So the question remains, how do you know the difference between a few hair strands in your shower drain and something more concerning?
In this post, we’ll outline a few early signs that your hair is thinning, plus what a hair loss treatment plan can look like. Identifying those first signs is key. From there, you can help to revive healthy hair, give your scalp what it needs to help produce new hair, figure out a hair care routine that’s safer, and potentially explore medicinal treatment options, if needed.
There are several common causes why your hair may be thinning. Everything from your family history to a thyroid issue to damage to your hair follicles could be why you’re starting to see bald patches. Immune system deficiencies, such as an autoimmune condition, can also be common causes of hair loss. And while we often associate age-related hair thinning with male pattern hair loss (also called androgenetic alopecia), the truth is that some 50 percent of women experience female pattern hair loss.
As you likely know, diagnosing the cause of a change in your body from the internet is often ill-advised. Below are three common causes of hair loss, but we’ll remind you that if you’re looking for an exact reason your hair is changing, your best bet is to make an appointment with your doctor.
Aging is perhaps the most prevalent type of hair loss. When we get older, our hair follicles shrink, and the rate of the hair growth cycle slows down. For women, this experience can coincide with menopause, as their body’s hormones change.
Regardless of age, it’s also possible to lose hair because of chronic or traumatic stress. There is truly no part of your body’s functions that stress does not touch. Gradually increased hair loss can be related to chronic high cortisol levels, while sudden hair loss can be tied to unexpected illness or physical trauma that creates both physical and emotional stress on the body.
One of the most common forms of hair loss is less related to internal stress levels or wellness and more related to external tension. Traction alopecia occurs because of the continuous pulling of the hair.
Hairstyles like tight ponytails or tight braided cornrows can cause traction alopecia, which is why it’s important to give your hair breaks from these styles, regardless of your hair type or texture.
So, let’s get into some signs of hair thinning or slowed hair growth.
Hair shedding can be especially noticeable in the shower. It’s perfectly normal to see strands gathering at the bottom of your drain.
The average person loses (roughly) 50 to 100 strands a day as a part of the natural growth cycle. When you’re massaging product into your scalp and rinsing it away in the shower, it makes sense why you’d be able to see the hair loss more clearly.
But if you’re noticing that your hair strands are starting to add up, it’s worth taking a closer look. Try to jot down or take photos of your hair loss in the shower so you have something to compare your hair loss to over time and share with a medical professional if needed.
Bald spots have certain cultural connotations, but it’s a very common phenomenon with a scientific name — alopecia areata. If you notice that your scalp is more visible, especially in one spot, you may be dealing with alopecia areata. Bald spots can be more visible for people with light or fine hair. This is another scenario where comparing photos of your hair in the past will help you understand if it’s changing dramatically or not.
Hair loss or thinning around the hairline is frequently one of the first places we notice. Again, we often associate receding hairlines with men, but female pattern baldness is prevalent and also can occur right at the hairline.
If you’ve started to get small baby hairs at your temples that just refuse to get any longer, that can be a sign of shrinking hair follicles.
On a similar note, look at the top of your head for signs of hair loss and thinning. The crown (the spot on the back of your head where a crown would naturally sit), is frequently one of the first spots to show hair thinning as well. Because it’s the top of the head and we can’t see that spot without a mirror, this experience often goes unnoticed until someone points it out.
As we mentioned, not all hair loss is related to aging, and a scalp condition or a negative reaction to hair care products may impact your hair follicles. If your hair loss coincides with scalp itchiness or scaly patches, you might be dealing with a skin condition like psoriasis. The good news is that these flare-ups tend to be temporary with proper psoriasis care. A dermatologist can help you figure out a treatment plan or medicated haircare products to support scalp health.
Gradually increased hair loss can be related to chronic high cortisol levels, while sudden hair loss can be tied to unexpected illness or physical trauma...
If you’re dealing with a case of traction alopecia, then you might be able to gauge hair loss by the size of your ponytail. Hairstyles like braids and slicked-back buns can put undue stress on your hair follicles and lead your hair to fall out.
If the hair within your ponytail holder feels smaller and smaller, you may have hair loss related to traction alopecia.
Many women notice that their hair texture changes as they age, and that’s often tied to a reduction in sebum. A lack of sebum can have unfortunate hydration effects on the hair shaft. Sometimes when your ends are dealing with breakage and your hair strands are feeling weak and brittle, it’s actually due to an issue happening on your scalp which in turn impacts the health and moisturization of your hair strands.
Hair, skin, and nails are all related, as our vitamin intake can alter the body’s production of keratin and collagen. That’s why it can feel like when it rains, it pours.
If your nails feel weak, your hair and skin may also be suffering. Pay attention to changes in your nails’ textures and strength and take them as signs that your hair may also be experiencing issues.
If you see any of the above signs of hair thinning or loss, it’s easy to panic or feel embarrassed. It’s a normal part of life, and the good news is there’s lots that you can do to support healthier hair and healthy hair growth. Below are a few tips and tricks that may help address some of the common issues linked to hair loss, thinning, or shedding.
Your hair’s health, thickness, and moisturization are directly correlated to the health of your scalp and hair follicles. That’s why it’s important to use hair care products that are intended to advance the health of your scalp and promote a balanced scalp microbiome.
Jupiter’s entire line of dandruff and scalp care products do just that. The star active ingredient Zinc Pyrithione, included in our Balancing Shampoo and Restoring Serum, helps to combat fungal growth which balances your scalp and helps rid the scalp of flaking, itching, and irritation which can all be linked to hair loss and thinning.
Another common link to hair thinning is buildup on the scalp from flaking and styling products. Buildup can damage or weaken the hair follicle which may in turn cause thinning or hair fall. Use a specially designed Scalp Brush 1-2x per week on a dry scalp to help gently breakup and remove buildup.
Not to mention, a gentle scalp massage with an exfoliating scalp scrubber will stimulate blood flow to the scalp which has been shown to encourage healthy hair growth.
Diet is one of the key lifestyle factors that contributes to your overall hair and scalp health. Similar to how your skin may react to eating too many greasy foods (hello pimples!) or respond positively to proper water intake, the skin on your scalp is also impacted by your diet.
Key vitamins, nutrients, and botanicals can help support a more moisturized scalp, which in turn can be linked to healthier, thicker hair. Jupiter’s Daily Scalp Essential includes ingredients like biotin, turmeric and ashwagandha root to promote calming, and key vitamins to boost your diet and help promote a healthy scalp microbiome.
At the end of the day, speaking to a dermatologist is one of our best recommendations regarding hair thinning and/or hair loss. They can help you put together a plan to address what’s going on, internally or externally, with a supplement, multivitamin or a hair loss medication like finasteride or minoxidil. In addition to medical treatment, using the right products and making key adjustments to your lifestyle can help address hair loss and thinning. Learn more about keeping your scalp microbiome balanced, promoting a healthy environment for hair growth.
Our Daily Scalp Essential dietary supplement is formulated with some of the best plant-based ingredients Mother Earth has to offer. Key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients support hair growth, stronger hair, and a moisturized scalp.