Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Thinning from Hair Loss or Breakage

Q: I’m in my early 40’s and for the last year or so I have found out that my hair starts to thin out. My parents and sister have a head full of hair. As a matter of fact, my father is in his mid-sixties and there's not a bald spot in sight. I’m thinking at this point that I’m going to loose my hair before he does. I’m going to work on a diet to see if that will help. I drink more than enough red wine for a high red blood cell count. I could check for an under-active thyroid gland but I honestly think I’m ok in that area as well. I don’t have any of the symptoms. Peri-menopause, ah not yet. I’m always happy. Anyway, my hair is down to my bra line. I normally have it highlighted and cut once a year, maybe twice.
This last December my hair was fried for the first time ever. I had a friend do my hair and she left the product in too long, so it damaged my hair really badly. I had it trimmed and highlighted again in February. Since then is when I have really been noticing it thinning. I wash it most everyday, if I do anything at all to my hair it’s 50/50. I’ll either pull it straight back in a pony tail without blow drying and put some {brand name deleted} in, or if I leave it down. I use a blow dryer and a hot flat Iron.
In July I used an over the counter dye and dyed it dark brown. I did not know what else to do at this point. It is very much damaged. I have heard not to cut it if you want it to grow. Most of all I’m worried about the thinning.

A: First of all, given the amount of damage you are describing, I would recommend that you take a close look at your scalp area and the lengths about 3 to 4 inches out from the scalp for signs of breakage. If the hair is breaking this would account for the appearance of thinning.
It is important to make the distinction between thinning from hair loss, and thinning of the hair from damage. If the hair is looking thin because it has been damaged and is breaking off at points along its length, then your only recourse is to start taking better care of your hair and to keep it regularly trimmed until the hair regrows to its normal fullness.
However, hair that is thinning due to hair loss at the scalp level indicates possible illness, hormonal issues or other factors that must be identified and addressed before it can be treated. It also needs to be diagnosed by a physician. If you cannot see any signs of breakage causing the thinning of your hair, then you need to see your doctor to discuss the loss with him.
In the meantime, avoid using any permanent haircolor (if you need to color your hair to maintain a particular look or color, use semi-permanent colors as they are more gentle) or having any more chemical services such as perms or straightening. Also, do not use your blow-dryer on your hair unless it has a diffuser attached, and if you must flat iron the hair, make sure your flat iron has adjustable heat settings and use the lowest possible heat level needed to smooth the hair.
Treat your hair gently, especially in its current state. You need to make sure to keep it well conditioned and protected while it recovers from the damage it has undergone.
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