View Full Version : Lots of questions from a hair novice (thin and thinning hair)

April 16th, 2013, 12:22 PM

I have really troublesome hair and I would love to get advice. I have been struggling for a few years now with trying to get my hair healthy, but I have had limited success.
I don't know if this is the best way to approach asking my questions, but I thought I would just dump everything out there and see if anyone has any good suggestions for me!

My hair is F/i, it's very very fine, and has been thinning for a few years. I have been to the Dr a couple of times to see if there is an underlying cause. They have tested for gluten intolerance (negative), vit B12 (deficient and have been supplementing), iron (deficient and have been supplementing), thyroid (fine). My B12 and iron are now at good levels according to the blood tests, and have been for quite a few months. I have also been tested for testosterone and PCOS, and those tests are normal. (My thinning is "male pattern", and I have also experienced facial hair, which has now actually improved)

I have been obese in the past (BMI 35), and am now overweight (BMI 27). I have struggled with food and eating disorders, but I have been eating quite well the last maybe 3 years or so. I'm currently tidying up my diet further. I wonder if this can have caused some kind of hormonal imbalance? My facial hair seems more under control the stricter I am with my diet.

My fine hair doesn't bother me per se, but the thinning definitely does. I have a slightly receding hairline, like a "widow's peak" and I'm sure thinner hair on my crown too. I feel like I'm constantly shedding hair everywhere, and it's not just long ones, but many many small hairs too. These are the ones that bother me the most. They are super fine and maybe 1-2 inches long. As soon as I touch my hair I get hairs in my hand.
I used to have quite thick hair as a child, but lost a lot when I started chemically dying my hair when I was 14. It then stayed thin but "normal" (not receding) until I hit my late 20s. I'm now 35. My mum has thin hair, but not balding, and my dad is totally bald, so I realise I wasn't dealt the best hand genetically when it comes to my hair. My grandmothers both have nice heads of hair.

I currently henna my hair with BAC henna, and have done for maybe 5 years or so. My hair was thin and thinning before, and seems unchanged. I have tried CO washing, washing with shampoo and conditioner, and currently I'm using a shampoo bar followed by a vinegar rinse. None of this seems to affect how much I shed, but it does affect how my hair feels. The CO did not work, but the other two methods seem to work fine.
I rarely have problems with my scalp, it doesn't flake or itch. My hair often gets very flyaway, as if it lacks moisture. It doesn't look or feel dry though.
I haven't used heat on my hair for over a year.

So after all this, I guess my questions are:

* Would you advice brushing or not brushing? Currently I'm only using a wide tooth comb, which is fine apart from the hair everywhere. In a brush at least my hairs are contained. I feel like I'm leaving hairs absolutely everywhere in the flat. If yes to brushing, what kind of brush should I get?

* I have loads of baby hairs around my parting, and it makes my hair look so untidy. Any ideas for taming them that wouldn't make my hair look greasy and emphasise how thin it is?

* My hair is just below jaw length at the moment. I can barely get it together in a low pony. It grows very fast though. Any ideas for styling my hair when it gets long enough to put up? I used to always use a claw clip, but at times it makes me feel a bit frumpy, and it would be nice with something a bit more stylish. My hair is uneven (it grows and breaks unevenly) even when freshly cut. It breaks itself into layers as a lot of hair never seems to want to grow past a certain length.My fringe doesn't grow past the top of my ears, it just breaks or falls out. My hair is also incredibly slippery and will not hold a style, no matter how much I try. Not that I'm an expert at styling either!

* I know people will probably gasp in shock when I say this, but I have considered some kind of heated appliance to make my hair look a bit more groomed. Like a heated air brush or something. I'm sick of always having bad hair days. Please give me some alternatives that are kinder for my hair!

So, that was a lot. Any help or words of wisdom at all would be greatly appreciated!

April 16th, 2013, 12:44 PM
Stinging nettle is pretty well-known for reducing/reversing hair loss, since it's got so much vitamins in it. I personally drink the tea to great effect (and I use honey to deal with the grassy taste), and you can also use nettle as a hair-wash or rinse. There are a lot of commercial products starting to use nettle as well.

My hair is also naturally dry, and oiling my hair when it's damp after a shower keeps it moisturized really well. I use sweet-almond oil mixed with sweetgrass essential oil, and oiling actually gives my hair a LOT of hold--since it's coarse and relatively thick, it's slippery because I just have waaaaay too much hair.

For jaw-length hair, you could try learning to French braid and using products or pins to keep your hair out of your face. French braids are really easy once you get the hang of them, and they look better the longer your hair gets.

April 16th, 2013, 02:12 PM
Hi, Timkerbelle.
I think you've recently done some tremendous progress to help your health and hair.
Kudos on losing the weight and getting B12 & Iron deficiencies under control. Please just don't ever crash-diet. I always see that when women get closer to their healthy normal weight (either from anorexic thin or from obese) their health improves a lot and their hair gains thickness and shine. Yours will, too, just give it time.

Also could you get your diet cleaner? I find that the less sugar and processed foods I consume, the better health & hair I get.

You said you have a lot baby hairs along your parting – that's great! :) It means that your shed is being replaced by new growth! You are on the right track! :)

If you want to boost your hair and help with shedding issues, please look into Neelibrighadi oil, Ramtirth oil, Chrome Dome (essential oils mix). Some good essential oils or infused oils are:

Please do avoid heat and be patient. In just a couple months your hair will be long enough to do styles keeping your hair out of the way, neat and tidy, but I do recommend you wait and not sabotage your new growth with heat appliances.
Keep doing blood tests and other medical tests. Health should be #1 priority.

April 16th, 2013, 02:14 PM
I think BBB and combs are both fine. I don't see how BBB can hurt you unless you have super-curly, super-tangly, super-long hair.
Also, have you tried head massages with or without oils? They can help a bit.

April 16th, 2013, 02:23 PM
I'm dealing with something similar, except my hair loss is Accutane-induced.

Did you ever get your DHEA levels checked? That was my problem, and all over the internet, I've found hair loss as a side effect from high DHEA levels. Quitting supplements that have raised my DHEA, like magnesium, taurine, MSM and Vitamin E have helped. Google your supplements. Also, I'm on a low oxalate diet, which helps to lower my DHEA. Basically all meats and dairy are fair game, but most grains and some fruits and veggies are forbidden. The oxalate in these plants can be harmful if you have gut issues, like I do, and can raise your DHEA.

I'd suggest against putting oils on your scalp. I've tried that and cowashing. Yes, it moisturizes your scalp, but it softens your hair follicles, making your hair fall out a lot more easily. More information here: http://hairscapades.com/2011/06/21/excessive-shedding-is-co-washing-the-culprit-2/

If you want to wash your hair in a way that's less harsh on your scalp, use sulfate-free shampoo and dilute it with honey. That's what I do. I actually use kitty shampoo because it's easy to find (Petco!) cheap, pH balanced, and sulfate free.

I'm currently trying black tea rinses. Anything with caffeine in it-- tea, coffee, etc... can help block DHT, which stops shedding. (DHEA is a precursor to DHT, so that's where the shedding comes in.) Also, if you have hard water, you can use apple cider vinegar or anything else acidic to correct the pH of your water. Your hair needs a pH of 5.5 and water is about a 7.

I'm trying to work through this problem myself, so any routine updates will be on my page. My hair's still shedding, but less of it is coming out. Best of luck to you! :)

April 16th, 2013, 02:27 PM
Your follicles might be sensitive to DHT (kind of testosterone-sorry not sure exact name) So what happens is, even if you have normal level of testosterone in your blood tests, (you also might have normal DHT levels)but even small amount of DHT destroys slowly your follicles. Now all of women have DHT in their blood but some of women because they have genetic predisposition inherited after their parents suffer hair loss, thinning. DHT destroys their follicles. I know that information from internet research as I did have exact the same situation as you have now. My hair was awful, still is not great but it is better. It has stop falling and slowly grows back. It was so bad I had to cover my head. What helped me I started to wash my hair with shampoo everyday to remove DHT build up. DHT is in sebum so I thought if I wash my hair everyday it won't have time to harm my follicles. I never allow my hair to get greasy because of DHT sitting there. Since I started to wash my hair everyday with SLS shampoo (since november last year) hairloss just stopped and my parting started to fill in with little hair. I know everyday shampoo is drying for hair but I put a lots of conditioner and try not to use any heat. It might be also be co-incidence that they grow back. I cannot be 100% sure.

I hope your situation will improve. I was suffering 4 years, it caused me being depressed, sad, crying and feeling like not a real woman. It was horrible time in my life. But yes, since november I really see an improvement. All the best to you!!!

P.S sorry for my English, it's not my first language.

April 16th, 2013, 02:39 PM
What you are doing for your health sounds great! Congratulations on your healthy eating! I don't have much advice, but I wish you the best of luck in your hair journey!

April 16th, 2013, 02:43 PM
I find that oiling my scalp has actually decreased shedding because it keeps my hair from tangling and breaking off, and I haven't noticed any changes in my scalp. But different people definitely react differently.

And maybe it's because I don't oil AND condition my scalp--before I ever tried oiling, I tried washing with conditioner every other wash and that DEFINITELY increased my shed rate.

April 16th, 2013, 02:54 PM
I'd suggest to try Monistat it helps with shedding and it made my hair grow. I'd try scalp massages to stimulate blood flow to the scalp.

April 16th, 2013, 04:01 PM
I am also suffering from thinning, and it's very depressing!! I did find that when I completely stopped eating grains and sugar last year, the shedding slowed right down to normal, but when I stopped eating quite so well, the shedding picked up again! So now I'm working really hard to keep those foods out of my diet to see what happens. I'm also using Neelibrighadi oil occasionally (when it doesn't matter if my hair is greasy in the morning), and I've ordered some http://www.liquidgoldhairproducts.com/product/liquid-gold-hair-growth-oil-bald-spot-treatment-2oz in the hopes that will help the thinning areas.

I guess the problem is that there seem to be many causes of hair loss. However, if it's male pattern baldness, I do believe the main culprit is DHT (I'm thinking this might be the case for me too...my dad started balding very young, and I've noticed my sister's hair looks thinner around the front too)

April 16th, 2013, 05:04 PM
Tinkerbelle - 3 thoughts. 1.When I used castor oil (I slather it on and massage into the scalp and wrap with a towel and leave overnight then wash out with conditioner like vo 5 tea and then shampoo and condition the ends, it sparked new growth AND made the hairs feel thicker. 2. I currently am dunking my ends into catnip tea to manage split ends, but the ends feel thicker too. and 3. If your B12 deficiency is not due to lack of intrinsic factor, your body can't process the B12 that you eat and it won't process tablets you ingest. The choices are either injections or under the tongue tablets. You have to check your blood level every year, too.

April 16th, 2013, 05:51 PM
I hope you find a solution to your thinning hair. In the meantime, I think French braiding is a good suggestion, because it sort of piles the hair on top of the thinning bit which disguises that a bit. Mine is not as thick around the crown area and it looks much better in a French braid.

April 17th, 2013, 12:45 AM
Thank you so much for all the input!

Sharysa - I like the sound of stinging nettle, I will see if I can find some in my local health shop. I have no skills what so ever in braiding, but I will practice and see if I can learn French braiding. I love the look but always thought it wouldn't work for my slippery, uneven hair.

meteor - Thank you for the list of essential oils! I actually picked up a fair few earlier, but as with a lot of things I stopped using them. Would castor oil work as a carrier oil do you think, to sort of hit two birds with one stone? I have recently started doing massages, but it scares me how much hair comes out every time, so that has put me off a bit.
Your words are very encouraging, thank you :)

rainfortheend - I'm sorry to hear you have the same struggles I do. I'm glad you are having success with your hair regrowth. I don't know what DHEA is, but I will google it. I don't eat any meat or dairy, but will cut down on the grains. I have recently started to exclude all gluten containing grains as I suspect that I don't do well with them even if the tests were negative. Worth trying anyway. I will definitely try a black tea rinse. I already use ACV rinses, and I really like them. They make my hair softer than I thought possible.

Agnieszka - How interesting! I will definitely do some research on this. It sounds very plausible, since I have normal body testosterone, but still experience a male pattern loss. I'm reluctant just now to wash my hair every day, as I have recently managed to stretch my washes, but I will definitely keep it in mind. Do you think that maybe using another oil like castor oil will counteract the effect of the DHT? Using the theory that like dissolves like.
I can't tell you how much I sympathise with you. I know just how it feels to not feel like a real woman because of this problem. I have been so self conscious for years, and it has really made me sad. I'm so happy you see an improvement!

petali - Thank you for your encouragement!

jacqueline101 - I have heard of this monistat, but I have no idea what it is. I will have to google it :) Thank you for the suggestion. I will be diligent with my scalp massages too. Do you have a particular method when you massage?

Mesmerise - Not to be clever here, but if my hairloss looked like your picture, I would be quite happy ;) I am working on cutting out sugars (refined sugars) from my diet and making it healthier. It's a journey, and I slip at times, but I'm getting there. I will definitely investigate the DHT thing. I hope your liquid gold will work for you! It's stressful to thin no matter how thick your hair is to begin with.

lunalocks - Thank you for your thoughts! I have just started using castor oil again, and will be diligent with it. I hope it will help! I know it seemed to a few years ago when I tried it, but as with so many other things I stopped. Do you think a lot of oil is necessary? I have such an issue with going to bed with my man and having oily hair. Maybe I should try wrapping it in a scarf or something. Catnip tea sounds interesting. If my cat was still alive I bet she would have a field day! She always used to sleep on my pillow :) I don't get any B12 from my diet, but I was given a supplement of folate to increase absorption. It seemed to work, and I now just take a tablet every day. I will make sure to check my levels regularly.

two_wheels - When my hair gets a bit longer I will definitely try to learn to French braid :)

April 17th, 2013, 01:33 AM
So, I have read a little about DHT and monistat.

First of all, the DHT sensitivity sounds very scary. The micronizing process sounds just like what is going on with me, and it frightens me something fierce! That my follicles may actually stop producing hair all together. That makes me want to cry.

Secondly, I have done a quick search for monistat. As I understand it is an anti-fungal cream, is that right? And you put it on the scalp presumably? Is there any way you think this may help if I do in fact have a sensitivity to DHT? I will search old posts on monistat here in the forum. Sadly I can't search for DTH, as it is too short to return any results.

April 17th, 2013, 04:03 AM
Double post
and for good measure, try searching "dihydrotestosterone"

April 17th, 2013, 04:08 AM
Pumpkin seeds are medically proven to inhibit the production of DHT, the study I read had guys (this also goes for women with male pattern baldness too) with prostrate problems eat a healthy supply of the seeds and one of the side effects besides shrinking the prostrate cancer was hair regrowth, so it is worth giving it a try.

And don't forget those scalp massages, your hair is nourished by your blood supply and massage will increase the blood to your hair follicles, just make sure that blood is full of the healthy nutrients to feed your follicles :) Castor oil will also remove and inhibit DHT buildup with a topical application

April 17th, 2013, 09:03 AM
Allychan - Thank you so much for the advice! I will make sure to add some pumpkin seeds to my breakfast. I'm so glad castor oil might help against the DHT, I'll use it often together with a scalp massage.

April 17th, 2013, 12:47 PM
Timkerbelle, thank you for your kind words :-)

I don't know much unfortunately about castor oil and DHT but I've heard a lot's of people use it for hair growth so maybe it is worth trying? I just hope it won't clog the follicles? I might try it anyway and see if it works on me.

Will be watching this thread

April 17th, 2013, 01:18 PM
Thank you so much for all the input!

meteor - Thank you for the list of essential oils! I actually picked up a fair few earlier, but as with a lot of things I stopped using them. Would castor oil work as a carrier oil do you think, to sort of hit two birds with one stone? I have recently started doing massages, but it scares me how much hair comes out every time, so that has put me off a bit.
Your words are very encouraging, thank you :)

Yes, you can certainly mix a few drops of one of those EOs that help stimulate growth into your castor oil. You should apply it while doing a gentle but firm scalp massage. Yes, everyone sheds more than usual when they do an oil massage for the first time. I read that this happens because the weaker hair will be encouraged to shed, but after that, your shedding should actually decrease dramatically. If you do this regularly, the initial shedding will subside pretty quickly (after 2-3 applications, I would say).
I hope this helps stimulate your growth. But your primary focus should be improving your overall health. Don't get discouraged if hair takes a while to follow your regimen / routine improvements. Be patient with it, and incremental improvements will add up over time. :) All the best to you! And keep us posted on your progress.

April 17th, 2013, 02:59 PM
Tinkerbell, the castor oil is sticky so I wrap a towel around my head to sleep in. Then I wash it out the next morning. It takes a good amount of conditioner to get out.

April 18th, 2013, 10:18 AM
Agnieszka - I hope it won't clog the pores! It is used for the oil cleansing method though, which removes blackheads and things, so I'm thinking it probably won't? Time will tell, I hope it works for both of us :)

meteor - that is great to know! I will add a drop or two when I do my massage. It's very comforting to know that the massive massage shed will most likely calm down when I keep doing it. I love the feel of a massage, so I'll keep it up for sure. I know that for dogs and horses it is said that proper grooming - even though it looks like you are taking all their coat - actually stimulates the growth, and the hairs coming out were already loosened anyway. I suppose it's the same for humans really.
I did my second castor oil massage last night, and although it may be my imagination I didn't feel as though the same amount of hair came out when I washed it this morning. I will keep this up and see if it is in fact a trend, or just a one off (coupled with wishful thinking?)

lunalocks - do you not find it uncomfortable to sleep with a towel around your head? I could try it with a lighter towel, I only have big bulky ones. Or perhaps a scarf. It washed out without any problems this morning using my shampoo bar, so that was good. I didn't put loads on last night though, doesn't take much to completely soak my thin hair :) My hair has looked really pretty good today, nice and fluffy without being dry.

On a side note I ordered a tangle teezer today. I miss brushing my hair, and as far as I can understand they are both gentle and give a nice scalp massage. Sounds like just the ticket. I ordered the pink compact one. It was only 8 from Amazon, which I thought was good.

heidi w.
April 18th, 2013, 10:26 AM
I would suggest that you stick with combing only, with occasional BBB brushing which stands for Boar Bristle Brushing (BBB). Use absolutely no heat of any kind. Those baby hairs are a sign of hope, a big sign. They'll eventually grow long. It takes about 3 months to notice a problem of any kind, and then a few more months for the hair to get acclimated. The fact that your health is good is excellent. Keep eating really well as in vegetables, a lot. Eat a modicum of protein and juice once a day. That's all you need. Losing weight can cause hair loss. Depending how severe your diet is. Don't do anything wackadoo. I used to have nearly ankle length hair but got it in a ginormous knot and had to cut it off to remove it. So I'm starting over and doing everything I tell people. You can oil your length if you like. I made a youtube video about it to show how little I use. You'll be alright.
heidi w.