Hair Falling Out

Brush with lost hairs
Photo: Suriya Yapin/Shutterstock
Q: I'm 15 years old and my hair has gone through a lot. 2 years ago I started straightening it and permanently colored it about 4 times. That's a lot. My hair is naturally thick but still fine. I also have a strange tendency to lose hair when it's wet - just a few strands at a time.
Lately, it has thinned down a lot. No visible bald spot of course, but I'm still concerned. It's almost half of what it used to be. Months ago, I cut down straightening to about 2-3 times a month. It's always stayed the same texture, quite soft.
My mom has a problem similar to this, but her hair seems to have the same body and fullness as always. I shampoo every 2-3 days and condition every 2. It's freaking me out, and I feel as if I'll become bald in the next few years! Do you have any help or advice to help hair grow, or to prevent it from falling out? Is it hereditary? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

A: The first thing I would recommend is that you look carefully at you hair and scalp to try and identify for yourself whether or not you have signs of hair breakage, which is common among those who have fine hair that has been repeatedly chemically treated (particularly if the hair is dry or shows other signs of damage). You may need to enlist the assistance of a friend or family member to help you scan your whole head.
The point here is to get an idea of whether your problem is likely hair breakage (which can be helped by a stylist) or if you are actually suffering from hair loss (where the hair comes away at the roots). Being fine, your hair should probably be dried for the examination process.
If you don't see any signs of hair breakage, the next step is to consult your doctor to discuss the hair loss and determine a cause. There are a number of things that can cause hair loss: illness, hormonal imbalance, medications, poor nutrition, etc. Only your doctor is qualified to help you treat problems whose cause is beneath the surface of the skin.
At fifteen, your body is still undergoing developmental changes caused by adolescence and if you do indeed have hair loss, it may simply be a matter of the hormonal changes occurring in the body, which will resolve itself in due time. Once again, this is something which only a physician is qualified to help you determine.
In the meantime, you should be sure to condition your hair daily, using a protein-rich conditioner with moisturizers to help strengthen your hair and ease the signs of damage. In addition, a weekly deep-conditioning treatment will not harm your hair and should help to alleviate any dryness and symptoms of damage you have.
See also:
Hair loss
Hair diseases
Scalp problems
How to recognize hair breakage
Is wet hair more prone to hair loss?