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Key takeaways:

  • Hair can thin from aging, hormones, poor diet, stress, or medical conditions.

  • Thin hair with visible scalp differs from hair breakage and hair loss.

  • Solutions for thinning hair include medications, hair transplants, PRP injections, hair care changes, and dietary changes.

  • Silk pillowcases and bonnets can help reduce hair thinning and breakage.

 

Your hair can change over time. Aging, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and other factors can cause these changes. Conditions like female pattern hair loss, male pattern baldness, and alopecia areata can also cause thin or thinning hair and hair loss. 

While you might be aware that your hair can change, seeing visible scalp while brushing or combing it can still come as a shock. Whether you have naturally fine hair or thicker hair, scalp visibility of any kind can be stressful. It can make you feel self-conscious. 

"My hair is so thin I can see my scalp." Does this sound familiar? If you've experienced this kind of hair thinning, there are ways to promote hair growth. Understanding hair density is a key part of achieving healthy hair. 

Natural Variance in Hair Density 

First, what is hair density? This refers to the number of hair strands you have overall. You can have low, medium, or high hair density, with high having the most strands. 

What determines your hair density? A bunch of factors can affect this, including genetics, age, and even your diet. You can't do much about genetic causes or the aging process. But there are other things you can do to boost hair density when your hair is so thin. 

How do you know your hair density? Your ethnicity might help you figure that out. A 2017 study found that people of Caucasian descent have the highest hair density, while people of African descent have the lowest. 

Your age can also help you determine your hair density. A 2020 study showed that hair density gets lower as people get older. For example, people in their 20s had around 1,064 hairs per square inch. This dropped to 1,004 hairs per square inch for those in their 60s. 

You can also try the ponytail test. This involves putting your hair in a ponytail, then measuring the circumference. Is it less than 2 inches? That's low density. Three inches is medium density, while 4 inches is high density. 

Scalp visibility is another clue. If your hair is so thin that your scalp shows, you most likely have low hair density. 

hair treatments for optimal hair growth

Hair Breakage vs. Hair Loss 

These terms might seem similar, but they refer to different things. Hair breakage means that your hair breaks off at the follicles below your scalp. This isn't the same as hair loss. When you have hair loss, it means that hair isn't growing from hair follicles. 

You can usually find out why hair breakage is happening and take steps to correct it. With hair loss, it can be harder to regrow hair and restore healthy hair follicles. 

What causes hair to break? Below are the most common causes of hair breakage:

  • Stress

  • Tight hairstyles

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Heat styling

  • Dry, dehydrated hair

Your hair breaks when it's dehydrated or dry and doesn't have the right nutrients. 

What about hair loss? As stated earlier, this can happen for many reasons, including getting older or having hormonal changes. Underlying medical conditions, such as lupus or thyroid disorders, can also cause hair loss, according to Harvard Medical School

Most common causes of hair loss:

  • Aging

  • Hormonal changes

  • Underlying medical conditions

Thin Hair vs. Hair Breakage 

Thinning hair and hair breakage might also seem the same. But again, they refer to different hair problems. You already know what hair breakage is, but what about thin hair? 

When your hair becomes thinner, it means your hair density changes. Hair strands become more fragile or brittle, so they fall out of hair follicles more easily. This is different from hair loss, where hair fails to grow from hair follicles at all. 

What might cause hair thinning? Getting older is a common cause of thinning hair. It's usually a gradual process as you age, so you might not notice it right away. But one day, you might realize that your scalp is more visible than it used to be. 

Your hair might also get thinner if you're stressed or if you're not getting the right nutrients in your diet. Health changes can also cause your hair to get thinner. 

assessing hair health and hair growth

Evidence-based Solutions for Thinning Hair

So, what can you do to reduce scalp visibility? Part of this depends on what's causing your hair to become thinner. For example, if it's an underlying medical condition, managing or treating it might help restore healthy hair growth. 

In some cases, making changes to the way you care for your hair can help with thinning. In other cases, though, you might need more help. Professional treatments may offer effective solutions for promoting hair growth. 

We'll take a look at some solutions for thinning hair that have evidence to back up their effectiveness. Keep in mind that you might need to try one or more of these to see what works for you. 

Medications 

Is your hair thinning due to female or male pattern baldness? Certain medications may help slow the thinning process or even help you regrow hair. The Mayo Clinic states that medications, such as Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia), are effective when used for hair thinning or hair loss. 

While these medications can work, they may cause side effects. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options to explore. 

Hair transplantation

If you have thin hair, a hair transplant might help you regrow hair. This procedure involves taking hair from other areas of your body and moving it to thinning or balding areas. Putting healthier hair follicles in these areas of your scalp may help promote hair growth. 

Not everyone is a candidate for this kind of procedure. A 2021 study showed that hair transplantation is effective for people with certain causes of hair thinning or hair loss, including female pattern hair loss. But people with unstable hair loss or other conditions were found to be unsuitable candidates for hair transplants. 

treating female hair loss

Platelet-rich plasma

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are another option for thinning hair. A 2020 study found that these injections can effectively treat hair loss or thinning hair in people with alopecia. What exactly are they? 

PRP injections involve turning a sample of your blood into platelet-rich plasma, then injecting this into your scalp. These injections are used for treating hair loss and stimulating hair growth in people who have had a hair transplant. 

Hair care 

You don't necessarily have to turn to procedures or medications for thinning hair. Take a look at the way you treat your hair.

If you don't have underlying medical conditions or hair conditions like alopecia, a few simple changes to your hair routine may help boost hair density:

  • Avoid tight hairstyles 

  • Limit the use of heated styling tools 

  • Use volumizing shampoos or sulfate-free shampoos 

Avoiding tight ponytails and other tight hairstyles helps protect your hair from damage that can lead to thinning. Avoiding or limiting heated styling tools, like curling irons, also helps reduce the risk of hair damage. 

Using topical treatments, such as volumizing shampoos, might help your hair look fuller. Sulfate-free shampoos are gentle on hair follicles, which helps reduce the risk of dryness and damage. 

how to treat thinning hair

Dietary changes 

Are you getting essential nutrients for healthy hair? Some vitamins and minerals play a role in hair growth. When your diet is low in these nutrients, you might experience hair thinning. Adding these nutrients to your diet can help your hair become healthier. 

So, which nutrients are good for hair? Make sure your diet includes plenty of these vitamins and minerals.

A 2018 study shows that these nutrients are important for healthy hair:

  • B vitamins 

  • Biotin

  • Iron

  • Protein

  • Vitamins A, C, D, and E

  • Zinc 

Benefits of Blissy Products 

The fabrics your hair is exposed to can affect how healthy it is. Silk is a natural fabric that can help keep your hair in good condition and ease dryness. 

Silk doesn't pull on your hair thanks to its smooth texture. Other fabrics have a lot of friction that can increase frizz and hair breakage. Silk also helps promote stronger hair strands instead of making them brittle, which may help lower the risk of hair thinning. 

Blissy Silk Bonnets and Blissy Silk Pillowcases are made of 100% mulberry silk. This high-quality silk has a hydrating effect on hair, helping it stay healthy and reducing the risk of hair thinning and breakage. 

Wrapping your hair in a silk bonnet or resting your hair on a silk pillowcase while sleeping are easy yet effective ways to boost hair health. 

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Further reading:

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Ready to make a silk bonnet part of your hair care routine to reduce thinning? Want to experience the soft comfort of silk pillowcases on your hair? Our silk products come in a variety of colors, from elegant neutrals to bold hues. Browse our website to check out our entire selection of Blissy Silk Pillowcases and Bonnets!

View Sources

  • Birnbaum, M. R., McLellan, B. N., Shapiro, J., Ye, K., & Reid, S. D. (2017). Evaluation of hair density in different ethnicities in a healthy American population using quantitative trichoscopic analysis. Skin Appendage Disorders4(4), 304–307. https://doi.org/10.1159/000485522
  • Leerunyakul, K., & Suchonwanit, P. (2020). Evaluation of hair density and hair diameter in the adult Thai population using quantitative trichoscopic analysis. BioMed Research International2020, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/2476890
  • Harvard Health. (2022, January 13). Hair loss. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/hair-loss-a-to-z#
  • Hair loss - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. (2022, March 26). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hair-loss/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372932
  • Almohanna, H. M., Ahmed, A., Griggs, J., & Tosti, A. (2020b). Platelet-Rich plasma in the treatment of alopecia areata: a review. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings20(1), S45–S49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jisp.2020.05.002
  • True, R. H. (2021). Is every patient of hair loss a candidate for Hair Transplant?—Deciding surgical candidacy in pattern hair loss. Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery54(04), 435–440. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1739247
  • Almohanna, H. M., Ahmed, A., Tsatalis, J. P., & Tosti, A. (2018). The role of vitamins and Minerals in hair loss: a review. Dermatology and Therapy9(1), 51–70. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6
  • Kunz, R. I., Brancalhão, R. M. C., De Fátima Chasko Ribeiro, L., & Natali, M. R. M. (2016). Silkworm sericin: Properties and biomedical applications. BioMed Research International2016, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/8175701

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