Well and Good September 12, 2022

Well and Good

Hair Care tips

6 Things a Trichologist and Hair Stylist Would Never, Ever Do to Thinning Hair

If you've noticed more patches of scalp than usual, there's a chance you're experiencing hair thinning. Unlike hair shedding, where your hair simply falls out, thinning occurs when strands get thinner before starting to drop off, and unfortunately, it's pretty common. In fact, roughly 50 percent of women will experience some form of hair thinning or loss in their lifetime, says Kerry Yates, a trichologist and founder of the Colour Collective. While products for hair thinning exist (leave-in treatments, hair supplements, and shampoos), lifestyle changes are needed to avert a potential scalp crisis.

But first, what causes hair thinning? For starters, "hormonal changes can disrupt the hair life cycle, decreasing the growth cycle while extending the resting cycle," says Yates. Tack on aggressive dieting and extreme stress, which can alter your hormone levels and cause a hair fallout with no regrowth. No matter the cause, Yates says there are things you can do to prevent your hair from slimming. Here's what she wants you to know.

6 things to stop doing to thinning hair


1. Limit hair pulling

A tight bun or pulled-back ponytail can give a sleek and sophisticated look, but the constant pulling can exacerbate hair thinning. "In some cases, it can even damage the follicle creating scarring," says Yates. It's the excess scarring that can prevent the hair from regenerating, leading to hair loss or a receding hairline. Instead, Yates recommends parting your hair on the side and softly pulling the hair back into a ponytail at the nape, aka the back of your neck.

2. Avoid metal hair ties

The last thing we want is to accidentally pull out hair strands. To avert fallen hair, you'll want to avoid using accessories like metal hair ties because they can play a tug-of-war on your strands. Instead, opt for silk scrunchies, which are gentler than metal ones and don't cause as much tangle, recommends Shelly Aguirre, a Chicago-based stylist at Maxine Salon.

3. Excessively using dry shampoo

Just like facial skin, hair needs to be washed regularly. However, dry shampooing your hair in lieu of actual hair washing can have some consequences for already thinning hair. For example, it can clog hair follicles, which can cause permanent damage leading to hair loss, says Yates. "To prevent this from happening, try to wash your hair a minimum of every three to four days."

4. Dial back on aggressive scratching

Another thing to watch out for is aggressive or prolonged scratching in the same area, which causes skin inflammation and hair follicle damage, says Yates. If you are a scratcher, she encourages you to visit a doctor to get to the root (no pun intended) of your scratching. "Solve the itch and save your hair," she says. Combing your hair can also mimic scratching, so you'll also want to dial back on aggressive brushing, too.

5. Wearing hats too often

Believe it or not, wearing a hat repeatedly can make thinning worse. That's because it causes repetitive friction, especially if worn for consecutive days. "This type of friction can cause the pulling of the hair, which can lead to inflammation of the follicle," says Yates. Follicle damage means bad business for your strands.

6. Coloring your hair

Excessive chemical use can inflame and irritate the scalp, leaving the follicles vulnerable to damage. "To prevent over-processing, try to limit chemical treatments on the scalp to every four to six weeks," Yates