It started with noticing more shedding than usual while you were washing your hair in the shower. You shrugged it off as excessive shedding from wearing your natural curls in a protective style like Bantu knots for too long. You realized it was serious when you noticed balding on your edges and noticeable thin spots in your hair while styling. Your thick, natural hair has transformed into thin, fragile hair. These are all signs there may be something wrong with your hair care routine or signs of a deeper health issue. While making this realization can be depressing and intimidating, there is no time to stress yourself out. Acting fast to figure out the problem and addressing any underlining health issues is where your focus should be. For those that need help figuring out where to start, this blog is specifically tailored to guide you through this problem. Here are some reasons why your natural hair is thinning and some ways to help stop it and restore your natural hair.
WHY YOUR HAIR IS THINNING
Hair Breakage is one of the common reasons why your natural hair is thinning.This reason should be your first examination in determining why your natural hair is thinning. While it can be very vague, diving deeper into what’s causing the breakage will become your next step. There are a couple of reasons that cause breakage with dry, poorly-nourished hair being the top. This means your hair is not receiving the moisture it needs to maintain it's thickness and length. Are you using your heat tools repeatedly and not conditioning your hair over periods of time? Do you notice your scalp is drier and your hair feeling brittle, especially after your washing regiment? These are signs that your hair is dry and resulting in breakage. Hair breakage can also be the culprit because of how you are detangling your hair. Tangles can happen if you are sleeping without a satin scarf or pillow and following up with forcefully brushing and combing the hair the next morning. Another way your hair can be breaking is if you are routinely taking down braids or hair extensions improperly and during the take-down process you are forcefully yanking out tangles or combing from root to tip instead of tips to root. Another common way you can be causing breakage is by detangling your hair while it is soaking wet. Your hair is most fragile and susceptible to breakage when it is wet and often times people tend to apply too much force and pressure while the hair is a wet state. All of these scenarios cause breakage resulting in your hair becoming thinner.
Stress is another reason why your hair is thinning. As adults, we all have stressful periods in our lives, which are inevitable. When stress begins to influence our health, this not only affects your body but your hair. Extreme physical or emotional stress can cause the hair follicles to shed more rapidly than normal through a process called telogen effluvium. During extreme stress, more of your hairs switch from the growing phase to the resting phase and as a result, you experience increased shedding. In addition, stress causes a spike in the body’s production of the hormone cortisol, which in turn can lead to a dormant phase in the hair growth cycle. This can cause your hair to become thinner or fall out.
Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune condition where your body's immune system attacks healthy hair follicles. There are many factors that can cause alopecia areata such as genetics, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and hormone imbalances. A common sign of alopecia areata are round, smooth bald patches on your scalp. If you suspect you may have this condition consult with your dermatologist to discuss options for treatment.
Unlike alopecia areata which is an autoimmune condition, traction alopecia is gradual hair loss caused by constant tension being applied to the hair. Common causes are tight braids, weaves, ponytails, and other tight hairstyles that constantly pull at the hair. According to a study done by John Hopkins, an estimated one-third of African-American women suffer from traction alopecia making it the most common form of hair loss amongst that group.
Everyone knows how luxurious, healthy and long your hair can grow during the nine months of pregnancy with the help of an increase in the estrogen hormone. The increase in estrogen can lock the hair in the growing phase and prevent hair that would normally fall out, to stay put. After you give birth and your estrogen levels decline all that hair that was resting starts to fall out. What’s best during this time is to recognize this is perfectly normal and excessive shedding of the hair will end in about 6 months to a year postpartum.
Let’s go back to the most common reason why your hair could be thinning: breakage. You may need to add more moisture or protein to your hair (depending on your hair type and reasons for breakage) via a deep conditioner. There are multiple treatments you can use like hot oil treatments or deep conditioning packages that can be found in your local beauty supply store. You can also create your own deep conditioner with natural products, which are easy to create with the help of your favorite hair guru on YouTube. Either way, you should be utilizing deep conditioning treatments every week.
Also, with your deep conditioning treatments, do not rush its process. This means allowing the treatment to sit on your hair for at least 30 minutes to deeply penetrate your hair strands. If you are looking for a more effective treatment, purchase a hooded dryer and place a shower cap over your hair with the deep conditioner since the heat will help the deep conditioner to penetrate your hair. If you are not able to get a hooded dryer, still utilize a shower cap, which can still produce heat on its own and allow the deep conditioner to sit a little longer.
PROTECTIVE STYLINGAnother great way to stop your hair from breaking is to minimize manipulation by doing protective styling. A great protective style is doing crochet. Curlkalon crochet hair is great because they are 100% alkaline-free so they do not irritate the scalp, they are extremely light so they do not cause tension, and they are quick and easy to use but last a long time. Curlkalon offers a variety of curl styles in lengths that resemble your natural hair and can take as little as an hour to install. When taking the crochet hair out after a duration, you will notice growth in your hair. Protective styling can also be a way to help rejuvenate your hair after hair thinning. Picking a protective style that keeps your hair heat and damage-free for 4-6 weeks can put your hair in a restorative state and give it the protection it deserves.
INCREASE EXERCISE AND EATING NUTRIENT-RICH FOODS
If your thinning is caused by stress a regular exercise routine can greatly reduce your stress. Implementing practices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing in your every-day routine can lead to better mental health which in turn leads to improved physical health. Eating nutrient-rich whole foods also can provide relief to your thinning hair woes. Having a diet full of protein, fruits, and vegetables can help your hair grow from within. Getting too little vitamin C, for example, can make hair dry and weak so eating broccoli, leafy greens, citrus fruit, and strawberries are great ways to prevent vitamin C deficiencies. Bananas and oats are great for the mineral silica that helps promote hair thickness. Foods like eggs, avocados, and salmon are good sources of biotin, a B vitamin that promotes hair growth and overall scalp health. Though completely avoiding stress may not be feasible, you can prevent excessive hair loss due to stress by living a more healthier lifestyle.
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