Signs of Hair Loss

12 Telltale Signs That You May Have Thinning Hair

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You know that hair loss is common. And you might even already know that hair loss affects over 50 million men in the US. 

But, despite knowing that you share this problem with millions of other men, thinning hair can still feel like a very personal problem. After all, statistics don’t answer your question, ‘why is my hair thinning and falling out?’

Nevertheless, knowledge is power. And knowing what signs to look out for, as well as what these signs might mean, can help you act on potential issues before they get worse.  

Here are 12 telltale signs that you may have thinning hair, as well as what to do about it. 

1. Hair on Your Pillow

You’re probably used to losing a few hairs in the shower. But noticing more hair on your pillow in the morning could suggest a potential problem. 

Most people lose around 100 to 125 hairs per day. While that sounds like a lot, the average person has around 100,000 hairs on their head. The typical life cycle of a hair follicle includes a growing stage of two to seven years and then a two or three-month resting period. After the resting phase, the hair falls out and another one starts to grow in its place. 

However, if you’re losing more than 125 hairs a day, it could be a sign of telogen effluvium

This condition causes more hair cells than normal to enter your hair cell’s resting phase and fall out. But it’s often temporary and tends to occur alongside a serious medical condition like a thyroid imbalance. 

So, before you start counting the hairs on your pillow every morning, go and see your doctor and ask them, why would my hair be falling out? This way your doctor can help you find out if there’s an underlying medical cause for your hair loss. 

2. More Forehead Showing

Male pattern baldness (MPB) is called this because it tends to follow certain patterns, where hair loss is more typical in certain places than others.

For example, it’s rare for men to lose hair around their ears while it’s common for men to notice their hair thinning at the front. 

Often, the hairs along your hairline will become thin and wispy, then begin to fall out over time. The result is a receding hairline where more of your forehead starts to show. 

3. Shorter Hair Roots

The medical term for male pattern baldness is androgenetic alopecia (AGA). This is a genetic condition that leads to hair loss. And, while women can experience AGA, it’s far more common in men. 

Although the exact cause of AGA is unknown, experts believe the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a major culprit. DHT is a result of the interaction between testosterone and 5AR (an androgen). Excess DHT attaches itself to hair follicles, causing inflammation and irritation in those with AGA. 

Continued inflammation then results in hair miniaturization where the hair follicle becomes shorter and smaller over time. In time, they become too short to push through the scalp. 

As such, one way to check if you could be suffering from AGA is to compare hair strands from thinning areas and normal areas of hair. With AGA, you might notice that the hair strand from the thinning area is shorter below the surface, even if the two hairs appear the same length on your head. 

4. Developing a Widow’s Peak

A widow’s peak is the common name for a hairline that recedes at the temples. This creates a kind of V-shape or extended section of hair in the center of the hairline, as seen on actor Jude Law.  

Some people have a natural widow’s peak from a young age without it being a sign of hair loss, including Milla Jovovich and Adam Lambert.

But losing hair at the temples is a very common and clear sign of MPB. And, if you do start to lose your hair and already have a slight widow’s peak, it’s likely that it will become more pronounced over time. 

5. Widening Crown

As well as a receding hairline at the front, MPB can cause men to start losing hair at the crown. Often called a ‘bald spot’, this can be seen on celebrities such as Mel Gibson and Ben Affleck.

And, in the case of Mel Gibson, whose hair started to thin at the front and around the crown, MPB can affect several areas of your hair at once. 

6. Losing More Hair in the Shower

It’s important to remember that MPB isn’t always related to how many hairs you shed. It’s more about how fast you’re replacing them. But it can be worrying to see more hair falling out in the shower than usual.  

Stressing about hair loss will only make matters worse. But if you’re often wondering, ‘why is my hair falling out?’, there are steps you can take to minimize hair loss with some simple changes to your shower routine. 

First, you should use a shampoo that’s free from sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This ingredient can irritate the scalp, causing inflammation and inhibiting the promotion of hair growth. 

After shampooing we bet you rarely, if ever, use a conditioner, right? Big mistake. Shampoo does a great job of cleaning your hair but it can leave it dry and brittle, making it prone to breaking. 

To avoid breaking your hairs while they’re still in the growing process, apply a small amount of conditioner to your hair after washing, then rinse. Your hair should feel softer and will be more manageable as a result.  

Then, when you step out of the shower, hold off on the excessive towel rubbing to dry your hair. Instead, blot your hair dry with a soft towel or an old t-shirt. 

7. Itchy or Flaky Scalp

Losing hair in the shower might make you question whether you should start to wash your hair less often. But this is a bad idea. A clean and healthy scalp is key to discouraging hair loss. 

An itchy scalp is a sign of excess sebum, which is often a precursor to dandruff. And, while an itchy, flaky scalp isn’t necessarily a cause of hair loss, the two are often connected. 

A clean scalp helps avoid dandruff or infections which can cause irritation, hair breakage, and loss. What’s more, clean hair often looks more voluminous. 

8. Patchy Hair

If your hair loss is more patchy and doesn’t tend to follow the usual patterns of MPB, you could be suffering from alopecia areata

This condition also causes hair loss to happen fast, with patches of thin or missing hair appearing suddenly and only in limited areas of the scalp. The cause is often an autoimmune reaction so it’s crucial to see your doctor if you notice this kind of hair loss. 

9. Hair Takes Longer to Grow

When hair starts to thin, this often means that your hair follicles enter the resting phase faster than usual. This disruption to their normal process can then cause a delay in the regeneration of new hairs in their place. 

As a result, your hair may take longer to grow after a cut. In the case of MPB, you might notice that your hair continues to grow at a normal rate in certain places but is slower in others. 

If you suspect that your hair growth rate has changed but aren’t sure, it’s worth asking your regular hairdresser to see if they’ve noticed any changes. 

10. Thin and Wispy Hair

While some people are blessed with thick locks, others are genetically predisposed to having thin hair. Thin hair can mean fewer strands of hair, thinner individual strands, or a combination of both. 

When your hair starts to thin due to MPB, the hair follicles you have tend to get thinner and less radiant first, before eventually falling out. If you notice your hair appearing thin, wispy or dry around the hairline, this is a common sign of male pattern baldness. 

11. Hair Coming Out During Styling

Certain men’s hairstyles can help disguise hair loss and make your hair appear thicker and fuller. But overdoing it when it comes to styling can make hair loss worse. 

If you’ve noticed that your hair comes out during brushing or styling, you need to treat your hair with better care. Hair is weakest when wet so avoid brushing it straight after showering. This causes excessive hair breakage and can speed up the balding process. 

You should also avoid using too many styling products such as gels and waxes. These can build up on the scalp and cause irritation, hair breakage, and hair loss. 

12. Visible Scalp 

Once your hair starts to become thinner and wispier, you may start to notice that your scalp is more visible between the hairs you have left. 

This effect is often more noticeable at your crown, hairline, temples, or along your parting, and can look more obvious when hair is slicked back or after applying gel. As such, you might want to consider different styling methods to help your hair appear thicker and fuller. 

Look Out for the Telltale Signs of Thinning Hair 

The signs of thinning hair can vary depending on the person as well as the potential underlying condition.

If you’re tired of thinning hair or even receding hairlines, it’s time to do something about it. The best way to do that is to use potent, effective hair loss treatments that will stop hair loss and thinning dead in its tracks and reverse the process.

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