Did you know that we have about 120,000 to 150,000 hair follicles on our scalp when we are born? Each of these hair follicles are able to produce hair for an average of 25 cycles through our entire life when the hair follicles are kept healthy and not damaged. For example, some hair fall when you’re shampooing your hair or combing your locks is to be expected. In fact, losing about 50-100 strands of hair per day is totally normal and no cause for alarm.

However, a change in hormones, improper diet, stress, genetics, vitamin deficiencies, illness, and even bleaching or perming can cause hair thinning. Diseases more common to women, such as thyroid disease, autoimmune illness, iron deficiency and lupus, are culprits that contribute to hair loss. Oral contraceptives can also contribute to hair loss as the hormones in birth control that suppress ovulation can cause thinning hair and hair loss. But when is it actually time to worry? Here are the top signs of thinning hair and what you can do about it:

#1: Hair Clumps

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If your hair falls in strands, then chances are, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you notice that your hair is falling off in clumps when you run your fingers through your hair or brush your hair, it’s likely a sign of thinning hair. Keep a lookout for any bald patches on your scalp as these two are usually related. Other signs include an increased amount of hair in the shower after shampooing or even on your pillow case.

#2: More Visible Scalp

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As hair thinning occurs gradually and not overnight, a decrease in hair volume is generally tricky to spot because we regularly touch our hair each time we shampoo. If you start to notice that your scalp is becoming more visible at the hairline around your face or at your hair parting, that could also indicate that your hair might be thinning. A number of reasons could lead to this, including frequent combing which can result in accelerated hair fall, as well as excessive pressure on your scalp along your hair parting from long hours of tying your hair up into a tight ponytail or hair bun.

#3: Thinner Ponytail

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For those with longer hair, pay attention to the thickness of your ponytail or hair bun—if your ponytail is getting thinner or the size of your hair bun is getting smaller, you might be facing thinning hair. How tight your ponytail is fastened and how heavy your hair weighs can also contribute to hair thinning. So if you notice that your ponytail feels thinner or that it takes more twists of your hair elastic to fasten your hair, you might have thinning hair.

#4 Your Forehead Looks Wider

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Another tell-tale sign is if your forehead starts to look wider as your hairline recedes further backwards. Look back on old photos taken at a few months’ interval. As most thinning hair occurs first around the crown of your head, if you’re facing thinning hair, you might notice a receding hairline based on how much larger your forehead appears to be.

#5 Excess Shedding

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On average, it is totally normal and healthy if you shed anywhere between 50 to 100 strands of hair daily, like mentioned earlier. Of course, we won’t be counting each individual strands that fall off our scalp over the course of the day, but if your hair falls in strands, then chances are, you have nothing to worry about.

However, if you notice that your hair falls off in clumps when you run your fingers through your hair or brush your hair, or even on your pillow case from tossing and turning, it’s likely that you are showing signs of thinning hair. You can also keep a lookout for any bald patches on your scalp as these two are usually related.

What to do to prevent thinning hair

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There are many lifestyle changes you can make and bad habits you can kick to avoid hair loss that’s not caused by hormonal changes or hereditary factors.

Avoid tight hairstyles such as braids, buns or ponytails. These styles tug at the hair follicles over long periods of time and gradually weaken and damage them. You can also use a wide-toothed detangling comb as it is less likely to yank at your hair and cause breakage and damage to hair follicles. Keep heat styling and harsh chemical processes to a minimum. These can affect the health of your scalp and hair follicles and cause premature hair thinning. Lastly, protect your scalp like you would your skin. Use an umbrella when you’re outdoors and if possible, apply a UV-protecting mist on your hair and scalp to shield it from harmful UV rays and free radicals. 

What you can use

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There are many topical products as well as clinical treatments that are designed to restore scalp health for fuller, healthier hair. Here are some to try:

Treatments you can go for

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You can consult a trichologist if you are still facing thinning hair issues. Other treatments that can help are laser scalp treatments that stimulate and regenerate hair follicles. One of the most popular treatments available at aesthetic clinics is the Revage Laser Hair Growth System. This FDA-approved treatment involves 30 laser diodes rotating 180 degrees around the scalp while emitting low-level laser energy to stimulate blood flow to the weakened hair follicles. At 670nm, the wavelength of this laser treatment effectively and safely targets hair follicles without any pain or downtime so you can resume your daily activities immediately after your session.

While the treatment course for each individual might vary, a series of 24 weekly 30-minute sessions is usually recommended for optimal results. Over time, hair follicles are activated and hair growth is healthier, stronger and thicker. Revage Laser Hair Growth System is available at Freia Medical.

Want to stop hair fall? here are 10 more tips that will help you get to the root of the problem.

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