Personal Hair Advisor: Thinning Hair

Personal Hair Advisor: Although thinning hair is often thought of as only a male problem, it plagues women as well.

Thinning hair in women can be caused by a number of different conditions -- it could be the side effect of certain medications you are on, related to stress and hormonal fluctuations or caused by a vitamin or mineral deficiency, particularly iron. Or if you've recently had a baby, it could be the natural thinning that occurs after the pregnancy growth spurt. If you suspect that any of these is the cause of your problem, I suggest consulting a physician.

Overprocessing the hair, such as with frequent chemical processes, is also a possible cause. If you color, highlight, straighten or perm your hair and have noticed thinning, try giving your hair a rest for a few months and see whether it regains its thickness. Finally, pulling your hair back too tightly every day can result in excessive hair loss. After you pull your hair back, be sure to loosen it around your scalp. Even if you're not sure exactly what is causing your hair to thin, you can do many things to camouflage it. Most importantly, opt for a short cut rather than long hair. Length will only flatten your hair and emphasize the thinning. Wearing your hair short and adding strategic layers will make it appear thicker and create fullness.

When you get your hair cut, talk to your stylist about the best styling tips to make it appear as thick as possible. There are different ways that you can brush and dry your hair to hide thinning. Blow-drying on a low speed, for example, will give you more control over the heat and allow you to build body slowly as you dry. Avoid a high heat setting, which can flatten your hair.

As for styling products, I advise using them sparingly. Using too much will weigh your hair down. Also avoid products that contain alcohol, which will irritate your scalp and dry out your hair, possibly leading to more hair loss. Be wary of mousses -- they often have a high alcohol content. And in terms of specific treatments for thinning hair, I recommend the all-natural approach. Scalp massages used in conjunction with plant-based products can stimulate blood flow to the scalp and encourage hair growth.

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