“Hair Loss and thinning of hair is a very common condition. Almost every person, irrespective of gender, experiences one or the other hair related issues”, says Dr Meghna Gupta of Delhi Skin Centre. Linked to many serious illnesses, thinning hair is best countered with treatment and investigations at an early stage. Today dermatologist – Dr Gupta helps us understand the causes, myths and treatments for thinning hair.
Top 5 Major Causes of Hair Thinning
- Hereditary (Androgenetic Alopecia): It is a genetic predisposition to experience hair loss and thinning of hair. It is commonly known as Male pattern baldness or Female pattern baldness. In males, it leads to a receding hair line, which is Grade I and slowly progresses to just a band of hair left at the base of scalp which is Grade VII. In females, there is widening of parting along with thin hair all over the scalp.
- Hormonal: Hormonal imbalances are a major contributory factor especially in females. In such disorders there is Androgen (male hormone) excess, which leads to hair loss.
- Post Pregnancy and menopause: These are physiological causes, but can be very alarming at times, if coupled with other causes of hair loss. This typically happens after 4-6 months of delivery.
- Health conditions linked to hair thinning: Thyroid disorders, anemia, long standing illness, post-surgical trauma are some other common medical conditions, which might be linked to hair loss and hair thinning.
- Stress: This is an underlying current of hair thinning and hair loss these days. Be it physical, mental or emotional stress, it has a direct effect on the hair follicle health.
- Diet: Crash dieting leading to sudden loss of weight, lack of proteins in diet, nutritional deficiencies like Vitamin B, D & iron all can affect the hair health drastically and eventually can lead to thinning of hair.
Myths and Misconceptions about Hair Thinning
- Oil application: Many feel that inadequate oil application leads to hair loss or thinning. This is not true. Oil applicaion only helps if accompanied with a massage.
- Shampoo: It is not right to say that daily shampooing leads to hair fall. It doesn’t matter how often the scalp is washed. However, it is strongly recommended that you should go for a mild shampoo.
- Wet hair combing: Many feel it leads to weakening of the roots. That is not true. Hair fall only happens if too much brushing or towel drying is done very aggressively. It should be very gentle.
- Shaving and trimming: Many men shave off their heads, so that growth improves. Hair cutting and shaving have no impact on the hair follicle.
- Salon activities like dyes, chemical treatments, and regular blow dryers can result in hair damage and breakage.
Treatment Options for Thinning of Hair
- Medical management is a must. Any underlying disorder has to be treated with oral medications.
- Nutritional supplements are often prescribed, like oral biotin and B complex with iron.
- Laser Combs are available, which stimulate the hair follicles and are preventive in nature.
- Minoxidil application is good as long as it is used consistently.
- Mesotherapy is another technique where essential nutrients and hair growth factors are injected with micro injections into the scalp.
- Hair transplant may also be performed. This works the best for androgenetic alopecia. Hair roots from the back of the scalp are extracted and implanted in the bald areas. Results are permanent and are often advised by doctor’s looking at case-specific patient’s details.