Why Is My Hair Thinning?

On average, we lose anywhere from 50-100 hairs each day and this is normal. A few hair strands lost is in the shower is tolerable, but when you notice clumps of hair entangled between your fingers resulting in a nest of hair in the drain, maybe something is wrong.

Hair loss is nothing to hide or feel ashamed about. It's a complaint for which both men and women seek treatment and is more common than you might think. Although there are many different reasons for hair loss, and hair loss may be a symptom of a greater problem, the sooner these conditions are found the better. If you are noticing a sudden lack of hair on your head, that is saying something already. Despite most cases not being linked with overall health concerns, it can affect people's mental health and self-esteem. The most common types of hair loss are breakage, receding hairlines, thinning hair, and balding.

1. Breakage

Every strand of hair is made up of overlapping scales that prevent your hair from breaking. When these scales become weak, it can make your hair extremely dry and brittle which leads to hair breakage. Lifestyle and medical conditions can certainly be reasons why your hair is breaking, but the most common reasons are improper diet, lack of moisture, too much heat styling, brushing too hard, chemical exposure, sleeping on a cotton pillow, towel drying and over-washing.

2. Receding Hairlines

Although receding hairlines start to develop in men as they age, it's still possible for women to have this as well. A receding hairline will show some distinct symptoms that may develop just after the end of puberty or anytime in adulthood. Receding hairlines usually start just above the temples and move back across the top of the head, leaving a ring of hair around the top of a bare scalp. In women it can create a V-shape in the middle of the head, known as a widow's peak. Some causes of receding hairlines may be age, hormonal change, family history, medications/treatments, illness or stress and lifestyle choices.

3. Thinning Hair

Thinning hair refers to minor to moderate hair loss that doesn't necessarily cause baldness. It happens gradually and gives the appearance of thinner spots on your head and hair that has less volume and thickness. Some common reasons for thinning hair are certain medical conditions, lifestyle habits and genetics. If a person notices significant hair thinning or the development of bald patches, they may be experiencing hair loss.

4. Balding

Hair that is thinning or shedding faster than usual may be a sign of balding. Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp and although it can affect both men and women, it's more common in men. Some factors that cause balding may be genetics, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Contrary to popular belief, wearing hats, wearing wigs, frequent shampooing and dandruff are not responsible for balding.

If you are concerned with any type of hair loss, your health care provider can help you detect any underlying medical conditions and work with you to figure out the treatment options that are right for you.