It doesn’t matter if you’re only suffering a bit of hair thinning or full on hair loss, the causes of both often are the same. Addressing the “root” (no pun intended) cause of hair thinning is the key to restoring hair growth. Without tackling the actual reason, whether behavioral, biological, psychological, or otherwise, the problem of thinning hair is sure to return. That’s why, in this article, we’ll discuss the top causes for black thinning hair and potential ways to solve them, including a few products that may help.
Major Causes of Thinning Hair in Black and African American Women:
Tight Braids, Weaves, & Extensions
Arguably the main cause of thinning hair for black women is a medical condition called “traction alopecia.” Traction alopecia is a type of inflammation which is caused by tension exerted by tight braids, weaves, extensions, and wigs. While weaves and extensions have become more prominent since the 2000s because of the flexibility they offer black women for different hairstyles, there has been an increase in cases of traction alopecia as well.
The solution is easily said, but many find it difficult. Stop wearing weaves or tight braids when you first notice the signs of thinning edges or even raised hair follicles. But going full “cold-turkey” on a lifetime of hairstyle habits isn’t exactly like flipping a switch. Just like all serious lifestyle changes, it can be better approached with smaller, incremental steps. If you wear extensions, start to go longer between applying relaxers, and eventually quit weaves completely.
Which leads quite nicely into the next reason black women experience thinning hair.
Over-processing with Chemicals & Heat
Relaxers, perms, hair dye, bleach, and other chemicals are perfectly fine when used in moderation and when your hair and scalp are given time to heal between applications. However, when you combine tight braids or weaves and relaxers together, repeatedly, it can lead to bad news!
Over time, repeated applications, particularly from amateur hairdressers or at-home treatments, can lead to over-processed, brittle edges that break apart far too easily. And just like the advice about overly tight braids and extensions, it can be difficult to give up. However, the sooner you can transition to less chemicals, the quicker your hair will recover (hopefully it’s not too late!).
Stress, Hormones & Self Care
It might seem like a silly concept, but “pulling your hair out” because you’re so stressed might actually have more to it than just a turn of phrase. While stress is an essential emotional reaction which allows us to overcome dangerous situations, if the body exists in a state of perpetual anxiety, there are potentially dozens of ways the body reacts negatively in the long-term. Many of these conditions can cause hair-loss.
Take for example, adrenal insufficiency, also commonly known as adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is the result of the body over producing the stress hormone cortisol that leads to your adrenal glands underproduce important hormones.
Or even worse, while you’re busy being stressed out and your hormones are becoming unbalanced, it stops you from getting quality sleep. Now, behind on sleep, you forget the lunch you wanted to bring to work, so then you have to order out. While tasty, your lunch doesn’t help your bank account, which is now just a bit lighter and you’re still way too far away from payday. Now, bus fare or filling your tank with gas seems like a more questionable proposition. Keeping stress and anxiety from piling up is essential to good health.
While there may be no “permanent” cure for stress and anxiety, some potential options for you to investigate to help can include practicing yoga or meditation, reading more about mindfulness, seeking out therapy for anxiety, and more. You can manage stress, it is just a matter of seeking out the right solution for you.
Nobody’s diet is perfect all the time. But when someone neglects their nutritional needs, particularly in respect to taking in enough vitamins and minerals, skin and hair quality can suffer significantly. Dullness, thinning, and outright hair loss are not unusual in cases of extreme deficiencies of certain vitamins. Examine your diet closely to determine if you’re getting enough. If not, it is possible to seek out professional help from a nutritionist to remedy the deficiency. Many women also use a multivitamin to help improve their intake.
Scalp Conditions: Potential Bacterial Or Fungal Infections
Last, and perhaps the worst sounding on the list, is the potential that you may have a bacterial or fungal infection on your scalp. But don’t worry, most scalp conditions are treatable by a doctor or dermatologist. If you notice pain, unusual smells, dampness (particularly bleeding), or other symptoms, visit a medical professional to seek professional treatment.
What About Natural Hair Oils For Black Hair Growth?
There are hundreds of positive reviews online for using products like black castor oil to help improve scalp and hair health to help regrow black hair. If you’re looking to try such a product, our research suggests that the following might be options that could be helpful to you:
What About Biotin To Thicken Black Hair?
Biotin is a vitamin that is used often to regrow hair. Because nutrition is such an important part of overall health (including hair health), many people try it out as they may be deficient in biotin.
We wish you the best of luck in your hair growing journey. Hopefully with the information in this article, you may be able to identify what is causing your thinning hair and what you can do to help avoid it in the future!