What Is Your Thin Hair Telling You?
Are you worried about what your thin hair could mean? Thin hair could mean a couple different things. Usually, it means you are stressed, anaemic, or malnourished. However, an emotional or physical trauma can cause a change in the hair. Illnesses or stress can send growing hair into a resting phase and, a couple of months later, all those strands in the resting phase may fall off. Of course, if the dark hairs fall off and only the white ones remain, the result is hair that looks suddenly grayer.
There is now objective evidence that stress can directly affect the skin in a potentially harmful way. In fact, almost all important skin problems such as brittle nails, hair loss, eczema, rashes and itchy skin, are associated with the skin’s ability to protect the body against the outside world, including psychological stress that can increase the tendency or aggravate any skin disease.
Stress can cause premature graying. Hormones released in the body during stressful events affect the absorption of B vitamins needed for pigmentation. Emotional stress can also lead to alopecia in which the immune system attacks the hair cells, resulting in clumps of hair loss, often starting with a small bald patch on the head or in facial hair in men.
Dr. Shittu Lawal, a dermatologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), explained, saying, “since, more hair may be shed without being replaced; the result can be a noticeable thinning over several months later.”
The first sign of a thyroid disorder can be hair loss. According to the expert, too much or too little thyroid hormone in the body affects the metabolism and the hair-growth cycle. Hair loss is generalized - back, sides and top - as every follicle is affected.
The body requires iron to produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia, meaning fewer red blood cells. Less oxygen is carried to the scalp, starving the follicles, and eventually causing gradual, uniform hair loss. The hair will appear wispy, and the scalp may be more visible than usual.
The signature image of cancer is the bald-headed chemotherapy patient, so fear of hair loss often adds to the horror of the diagnosis. Chemotherapy drugs target fast-growing cells, with the aim of preventing cancer cells from rapidly dividing and reproducing. But hair follicles are second only to bone marrow in terms of reproductive activity, so hair loss can be the unwelcome side effect.
Hair normally starts to re-grow, at about half an inch a month, around ten weeks from the end of treatment. The hair could potentially come back wavy instead of straight or vice versa. It could also turn white as chemotherapy can destroy melanocytes, which are the pigment cells that give hair its color.
Baldness could either be hereditary or it could indicate a bigger health problem. Usually, such hair loss that begins at the temple is permanent.
So what is the best way to restore lost hair? Experts advise increased consumption of proteins and fatty foods. Lack of Vitamin C and consumption of caffeine and alcohol can also hinder iron absorption, so drinking a glass of orange juice with iron-rich food aids absorption, helping hair grow back.