Worried about hair loss? Get all the facts with our guide to hair thinning and how to combat it
Words Maroula Natsi, hairloss expert
What causes premature hair thinning?
There are lots of different things that can cause premature hair thinning: from diet to genetics. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as Iron, zinc, vitamin B (especially biotin), can be a contributing factor, as can Vitamin A overdose.
It can also be a sign of wider health issues, such as endocrine problems. This covers thyroid and female hormone imbalances i.e. pregnancy, menopause and PCOS. Autoimmune conditions, genetics (male-pattern baldness and possibly female-pattern baldness) and specific medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers and chemotherapy, are also factors to consider.
Does lifestyle (i.e. diet, weight, activity levels) have an impact on your hair?
Crash diets, i.e. a diet very low in protein, alongside elevated stress levels can have an adverse effect on hair growth. Also, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and lifestyle induced conditions (i.e. diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism) can cause the hair to thin.
Who should people speak to if they notice hair thinning?
GP: As mentioned above hair thinning can be caused by several vitamin/mineral deficiencies, therefore people noticing hair thinning should visit their GP in order to get the necessary blood tests to investigate the cause of the hair loss. The results will indicate the most suitable treatment.
Trichologist: A qualified trichologist, often in co-operation with the GP, can help identify the cause of the hair thinning and suggest the right treatment.
Why do you think younger women are experiencing hair thinning?
I think we’re seeing a rise in stress levels in young women which can cause hormone imbalances and, paired with crash diets and imbalance of nutrients, inevitably puts pressure on the body resulting in hair loss (which can also cause stress in itself creating a vicious circle).
Is there any way to prevent it from happening?
A balanced healthy diet is essential and, if necessary, multivitamins to avoid any nutritional deficiencies. Effective stress management is also important and exercising regularly and practicing mediation will help both short and long term anxiety. Finally, use of good hair products, without strong chemicals, can help with thinning. Keep an eye out for SLS free shampoo and natural hair styling products.
What are your top tips for combating hair once it starts thinning?
1. Identify and fight the cause (visit your GP and if possible a trichologist).
2. Find the right supplement for you to address your personal needs (not everybody benefits from the same product).
3. Use a good quality strengthening SLS free shampoo and a topical solution for thinning hair. A combination of internal and topical support would be the most complete approach.
4. Gently massage the scalp in order to increase the circulation.
5. Avoid excessive styling.
Are there any products you personally recommend?
A complete formula with biotin, zinc, iron and silica for healthy hair. It also contains MSM, that helps reduce any inflammation present on the scalp and support connective tissue. Therefore, it would be ideal for hair thinning caused by inflammatory conditions of the scalp.
BioCare, Hair and Nail complex
It includes biotin, zinc and horsetail extract (source of silica) which contribute to the maintenance of normal hair and nails and copper which contributes to the normal hair pigmentation. It also contains a good amount of iron so it would be an ideal product for iron deficiency induced hair thinning.
Wild nutrition, Skin Hair & Nails
Formulated specifically for women this food-grown supplement contains whole–food nutrients and herbal extracts to support natural beauty from within. All the essential vitamins, minerals and herbs for healthy hair without any excipients.
Nature’s Plus, Ultra Hair Plus
A precisely calibrated, targeted formula including MSM, flax extract, turmeric, and gingko biloba extract. In a natural base of unsaturated fatty acids (from safflower oil), rice bran and spirulina.