Thinning and Falling of Hair

If you have thin hair, you need to get evaluated by a doctor to rule out the presence of any disease. Hair fall is usually associated with this condition.

Normal hair shed is 50 to 100 hair strands per day.

Thin hair are prone to breakage. Also, they tend to shed more frequently. They easily snap off and fall.

Common Causes

The cause may be in our hygiene habits or some disease state.

Lifestyle Habits

Certain lifestyle habits are attributed to weakening of hair strands. The first is using hot water for washing hair. Hot water washes away the natural oil present covering the hair strands. This makes them look thin and lusterless.  This layer is protective. Also, as the scalp is rendered dry, it sheds hair prematurely to cause hair fall.

Similar situation persists when hair drying tools or styling tools are used. The hair strands are subjected to high temperatures which are damage them. Over usage of such tools make hair brittle and dull looking.

Always apply heat protection lotions when you need to use these heat blowers.

Combing or brushing the hair when still wet may cause them to snap off easily. Use the comb when the hair are three- fourth dry.

Malnutrition

A diet that lacks nutrition can be bad for your hair. This may occurs in situations where you eat more of junk food or when you diet a lot to reduce weight.

Hair need a lot of simple proteins, vitamins, especially vitamin B, and minerals like iron, zinc etc. for proper growth. Assure that your diet has all these components.

Certain Medications

Some medicines may cause hair fall as a side effect. They include androgen containing birth control pills, anti psychotic medication, drug for hypothyroid states etc.

Dandruff

Dandruff is another cause. This is basically an inflammatory condition of the scalp. It may be caused due to many factors. One is dryness.

A dry scalp sheds off dead skin cells which appear as dry flakes called dandruff.

Oily dandruff is another type, where the scalp is usually red and inflamed. Outer most skin cells are shed and hair fall accompanies.

Medical Conditions

Some inflammatory skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis may affect the scalp and lead to hair fall.

Fungal infection over the scalp.  It is commonly called ringworm infection. The skin appears red. It is itchy. The condition is treated by use of an anti fungal shampoo, like nizoral.

After exposure to radiations as in radiotherapy for malignancies.

When thyroid gland malfunctions, hair and skin are affected. Excessive hair fall may be seen.

Psoriasis, which is a chronic condition. The skin of the scalp is inflamed. It is red and often dead silvery scales are found on the scalp. This is an autoimmune disease, where our  body’s immune cells fight against their own cells.

Hair are also affected in certain enteropathies, like celiac disease.

Management

It is essential to diagnose why the hair are thinning and subsequently falling off. A detailed history with examination would reveal the cause, if it is some nutrition problem, some disease state etc.

Treatment is prescribed on the basis of the cause.

General Tips

  • For good hair growth, eat nutritious. Include adequate proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
  • Wash your hair weekly or biweekly, as per need. Excessive washing is not recommended.
  • Frequent change of shampoos is not advisable.
  • Oil your hair and massage your scalp well on a regular basis.
  • Visit your doctor at the earliest if your hair start falling or thin out.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Thinning and Loss of Hair

  1. Lauren

    My scalp have a lot of flake and itchy. Everyday I wash my hair using shampoo and conditioner. I let my hair dry naturally. But my scalp always itch and big pieces of flakes falling. Even when I keep changing the shampoo or do anything it won’t work.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      This may be some fungal infection. Is there any redness over your scalp? Is the itch all over or in patchy areas? Let us know.

      Reply
      1. Lauren

        The itch is in some area, and then stop and then another area itches again. The most area is on my back, on the top of my head and the lower head too. I don’t see any redness. Every morning I wake up, my scalp itches.

        Reply
        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          Gently massage all your itchy surfaces with warm oil. Give the massage some time. Gently rub the surfaces with oil to let it seep into the skin.

          You may do this at night, before going to bed. This would also be relaxing and help you sleep better.

          In the morning, you may continue with your daily hair washing, followed by natural drying. Use a very mild shampoo for washing hair, something like a baby shampoo. Your scalp doesn’t sound infected, so nothing harsh is recommended for shampooing.

          Do this daily for a week to see results.

          Reply
  2. Serenaa

    Hey Doctor,

    I have been diagnosed with mild seborrheic Dermatitis. Is it curable? Also, what can I do to make my hair stop falling out? I am already using an antifungal shampoo; Ketoconazole and it stopped the itching but my hair still falls out. Texture of my hair is extremely thin now and it has become red in color. Please help && Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Is your scalp affected by seborrheic dermatitis? If yes, it may be causing the hair fall. You need adequate medical treatment for this condition. Creams or lotions that control inflammation (like steroids) are used in monitored doses for this.

      Do not use the anti fungal shampoo now. You have already used it enough to remove fungus, if any. Excess use of shampoos may lead to hair fall.

      For arresting hair fall, take a good diet. Include adequate amount of proteins in it. You may start taking some iron plus vitamin B formulation.

      Avoid washing your hair too frequently. Before each wash, oil massage your scalp, letting the oil be there for 10 to 12 hours. Then wash your hair with a mild shampoo, not a harsh one.

      Reply
  3. Riya Dutta

    I am a 17 year old girl. Since the past few years, I have a constant dandruff problem. I have shown 3 different dermatologists but to no effect. In all 3 cases, I was given some medicated anti-dandruff shampoo and some lotion to be applied on the scalp and in each time, the dandruff remains away as long as the dose of the lotion and the medicated shampoo is in effect after which it comes back again and it is quite a embarrassment to go out in public with the dandruff on display. Also, along with the dandruff, there is a localized fungal infection on the scalp at the back of my head which makes the skin come off in layers revealing the pink fleshy skin inside and giving it a ghastly look. I was told to put the same lotion on it, and it disappears as long as it is applied, coming back again after the effect wears off. However, recently, there was a complete disappearance of a patch of hair on the crown region as if localized baldness. It scared me like anything. Thankfully, after applying some medicated lotion on the region the hair has come back. I’m afraid it can happen again. At present, my scalp is completely covered with dandruff, and the fungal infection has spread to other regions of the head. There is excess loss of hair and no sign of the hair growing back. I used to have thick hair with volume, now both the thickness and volume has decreased, with scanty hair revealing the scalp. Same thing again, as long as medicated shampoo and lotion is applied, the dandruff and fungal infection disappear and come back again after the dose is over and also, no sign of new hair growing. The loss of hair is massive. Please help.

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Since you are responding to the treatment, it’s very likely that you have a fungal infection in the scalp. You’ll have to continue using the anti fungal shampoo.

      It’s better to be under observation of a doctor/ dermatologist. Fungus are very difficult to eradicate and complete treatment may take time.

      Reply
  4. Tasleem

    My hair is falling. Pain in the hair roots. My hair is two away. And not just their growth. Please give a good idea to stop hair fall & to start growth. and give a idea for long hairs.
    please reply me.

    Reply
      1. Tasleem

        i am not nutritionally deficient and not have any stress.
        my age is 33 year and weight is 60.
        plese tell me, what can i do?

        Reply
  5. Sudhakaran

    How far is the stem-cell for hair regeneration from commercialization.
    I am actually bald so I am expecting something from regenerative medicine
    Also please let me know some medicine for hair regeneration

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      At present, hair transplants are common and you may easily get experts for the procedure. Stem-cell hair regeneration is still under clinical trials.

      Reply