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8 Ways To Tell If Your Hair Is Thinning (BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!)

Elanya van Heerden

You're getting ready for a hot date, and you notice your mane is looking less lion and more hyena....

While looking through your Insta feed, you realise the saying "Sure my life isn't perfect, but my hair is" just doesn't apply to you anymore... {sad, sad emoji}

Where? Have? All? My? Lovely? HAIR GONE?! 

Did you know that as humans, we can lose up to 100 strands of hair? Every! Single! Day! Oftentimes, you won't notice this change until you've lost up to half, yes HALF of your hair's density!

Ouch! The saying "you leave a little bit of you everywhere you go" gets a new meaning, doesn't it? 

If you are worried that your hair might be thinning, let's look at some signs to be on the lookout for:

1.  Partings

A great indicator to watch out for, is the widening of your hair parting.

Seeing more scalp than usual might not be a cause of concern though, as wearing your hair in the same style - with the parting in the same place - may just have been placing too much strain on your hair and scalp, so changing it every now and again is a good idea. 

For female pattern hair loss you can use the Ludwig Scale or the Savin Scale to measure its progress.

Although these two scales are nearly identical, the Savin Scale measures both thinning and density of hair, whereas the Ludwig Scale only measures density of hair.

 woman with pen in mouth

2.  Receding Hair

Listen up boys, we're speaking directly to you here!

This affliction can start as early as the late teens, increase slowly and pick up speed after age 40.

The Norwood Hamilton scale can be used to assess how your hair line has changed. 

Traction alopecia is another form of hair loss that will show up as a receding hair line. This gradual hair loss is caused primarily by pulling the hair in a high, tight ponytail, pigtails or braids. 

All we can recommend in this instance is R - E - S - P - E - C - T!

Respect for your scalp, and respect for your follicles. Give them a bit of a rest and they may bounce back.

 scalp with receding and thinning hair

3.  Styling Becomes a Headache (pun intended)

Thinning hair can undergo structural changes that make it finer, more brittle and dry.

This means that it can feel unmanageable and won’t hold a style as usual. It can feel limp and lose its shape or curl easily, while also lacking volume. 

Teasing your hair like the 80's is back in fashion won't do you any good either, as it will only be placing more strain on your hair, which could lead to even more structural damage... 

Let it go! (Yes, it's ok to read that in Elsa's voice, lol!) Letting go of the harsh styling methods and vigorous teasing may give your hair the rest it needs to bounce back, but be warned, it will take some time - so you're going to have to practice patience here, ok?!

 male styling female's hair in braid

4.  More Shedding

It is quite common to notice stray hairs on clothes, pillows and floors, but alarm bells should be ringing if it ain't just a few hairs...

If you ever see or lose clumps of hair, then head straight to your health care provider. 

A drastic increase in the number of hair you shed on a daily basis can last for up to three months. Anything longer will require you to investigate and treat the underlying cause.

 person with hands on her head, with spine showing

5.  Hair Loss When Brushing

Have you noticed a few more strands on your comb or brush? 

Quick tip: Take a snap with your smartphone, and keep doing so for a period of at least a month. This can serve as an easy measurement of the amount of hair you shed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. 

A word of caution though: This can be a false sign as brushing technique is important, so don't fret if you notice this as the ONLY sign of hair loss.

When brushing your hair, start by finger detangling. Afterward, move on to a paddle brush and a wide tooth comb. Remeber to keep your technique consistent. 

 hair brush

6.  Hair Loss When Washing

Washing your hair will not make it fall, but you should maintain a regular schedule as dirty hair can bring its own set of problems. Over - washing isn't good for your locks either as it will strip your scalp of it's natural oils. 

If you notice your drain is full of hair, try and brush it beforehand and wash it in small sections so that you can be as gentle as possible.

 wet hair

7.  Less Volume and Density

If you have long hair and wear it in a ponytail, you may notice that it takes less wraps of your elastic to secure your hair. For example it may usually take 3, but now is only 2. 

 girl with voluminous, curly hair in orange jacket

8.  Scalp Issues

 A visible scalp is often the last - and most heartbreaking - symptoms of hair loss.

Usually by this point a large amount of hair has been lost. It could be a small patch or diffuse hair loss, which requires medical intervention.

The triggers for diffuse hair loss can be emotional, physiological, nutritional or endocrine in nature, so its best to discuss this problem with your doctor or health care provider, as soon as you notice the problem.  

infographic showing 8 signs of thinning hair 

Thinning hair can be worrying, but there is often a simple and reversible cause.

Read our previous blogs here to find more information about why it may be occurring and what you can do to stop it in its tracks.


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