#1 Your Hormones Are Going Haywire
If your hair starts to look thinner around the temples, crown or middle parting, it can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. “Conditions that cause an elevation of the normally weak male hormones in the female body often show up as this type of thinning,” says trichologist Anthony Pearce. This could be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome in younger women and menopause in older women. Your doctor can order blood tests to check your hormone levels and offer appropriate treatment.
#2 How Often You Hit The Gym
If you’ve got a complicated hairstyle, or hair that’s chemically processed and prone to damage from over-washing, you may be more likely to skip your workout than a woman with a wash-and-go style, found dermatologist Amy McMichael at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the US. She suggests the following: “Lighter exercise right after having the hair styled, then more vigorous workouts the closer it comes to washing day.”
READ MORE: 10 Low-Impact Exercises For Your Best Body Ever
#3 Your Diet Needs An Overhaul
Low levels of protein, not enough fat in your diet, or eating too few calories to get all the nutrients you need are all common causes of dull, dry and thinning hair, says trichologist Carolyn Evans. “If your diet is low in nutrients, the body will concentrate on using these to sustain your vital organs rather than your hair. This means your hair will still grow, just not well,” she explains.
READ MORE: 10 Foods To Eat Your Way To Shiny, Healthy Hair
A healthy diet makeover can be all it takes to create shinier, thicker hair in these cases. For a more in-depth analysis, book a test called hair tissue mineral analysis that specifically shows what nutrients you’re lacking – or if you have too high levels of some toxic minerals like lead, arsenic, mercury or aluminium in your system.
#4 It's Time For A Thyroid Check
“Hypothyroidism (where the thyroid performs more slowly than it should) can show up as very dry hair and/or diffuse hair loss from the entire scalp,” says trichologist David Salinger. “Another telltale sign is that the outer third of the eye brows starts to thin.” If your hair is thinning but gets oily rather than dry, hyperthyroidism (where the thyroid speeds up) can be a cause. The good news is any hair loss will reverse if you start medication to correct the problem, and a blood test is the best way to get a firm diagnosis.
READ MORE: Top 10 Signs You Have A Thyroid Problem
#5 You're Stressed To The Max
Stress clearly shows up in the hair and major stressors like bereavement can actually trigger it to fall out. “But most of the time this isn’t what people under stress experience. Instead, they complain that their hair just doesn’t behave as normal. It might become thinner, look limp or hair that was curly might frizz,” says Carolyn. “Chronically busy people tend not to eat, sleep or generally look after themselves that well, which causes the hair to suffer.” Slow down, take better care of yourself and things will change.
READ MORE: Say Goodbye To Stress With These Proven Calming Strategies
#6 Your Medication Might Be The Problem
Some drugs can trigger hair to fall out. Salinger tells us it can happen with forms of the Pill containing certain progesterones called levonorgestrel and norethistrone, which mimic male sex hormones. This can trigger hair loss from the crown and temples in genetically prone women. Other medicines strongly linked to hair loss are antidepressants, including tricyclics and SSRIs, which can force more hair into the resting phase from which it normally sheds. This increase can cause thinning across the scalp.
If you’ve recently started taking a drug and have noticed changes in your hair, speak to your GP to see if the two might be linked.
#7 You Could Be At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a condition where your cells stop listening to the signals from the blood-sugar-balancing hormone insulin. You start to produce more and more insulin to try and get results – a common trigger for type 2 diabetes – which manifests itself in hair loss. “High levels of insulin interfere with oestrogen production in the body and trigger a hormonal imbalance that causes hair to be lost,” says Anthony.
If you notice hair thinning across your scalp and have risk factors for diabetes like carrying fat around your middle, or observe dark, soft, velvety patches of skin around your neck or armpits, ask your doctor to check your blood sugar levels.
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Text: Bauer Syndication / Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew