Whether you’re wondering how to get thicker hair, or simply crave a full-throttle, voluminous moment à la Kaia Gerber’s 2022 Met Gala look — at Bustle, we’ve tapped a serious expert in the field to not only deep-dive into the cause of thinning hair, but discuss what techniques (and key ingredients in hair products) you can use for your healthiest head of hair yet.
A trichologist refers to an individual who has studied the hair and scalp, with a focus on treating special conditions — including thinning hair and hair loss — and William Gaunitz, FWTS is just that. In addition to being certified in the ultra-niche field, he’s founded Advanced Trichology, which creates hair growth supplements and stimulant products to tackle specific and highly individual needs.
Below, I’ve asked Gaunitz some of my most burning questions about thinning tresses, and have rounded up some editor-approved products you may want to incorporate into your hair (and scalp) care routine.
What Are The Major Causes Of Thinning hair?
The three major causes of hair thinning are genetics, nutritional deficiency, and inflammation.
Genetic hair thinning is due to the impact of DHT, [a hormone, derivative of testosterone], on the hair follicles caused by a genetic attraction of DHT to the hair follicle. This is also known as male or female pattern hair loss or androgenetic alopecia.
Nutritional thinning is caused by five key nutrients — zinc, ferritin, iron, folate, and vitamin D3 —being less than optimal in an individual’s blood. When these key nutrients fall below a specific level of bioavailability in the blood, the body will retract the total volume of hair being created on the scalp to protect the internal organs from internal nutritional deficiency.
Inflammatory hair loss comes in many forms. Stress-related hair loss, alopecia areata, telogen effluvium or COVID hair loss, or inflammatory alopecia including folliculitis. Each condition simply stems from irritation and inflammation caused by an internal inflammatory abnormality that is resulting in excessive shedding, hair loss, or scarring.
How Can You Actively Prevent Thinning Strands?
There is much people can do to prevent hair thinning. First and foremost, you must identify which reasons for hair loss you may be susceptible to.
If you are thinning due to the DHT or pattern hair loss, you should be utilizing an internal and external natural DHT blocker to block the impact of the DHT.
From a nutritional standpoint, you must make sure your blood levels of key nutrients are in the optimal range. The most prominent would be vitamin D3 needing to be at least 50 ng/mL and ferritin needing to be at least 70 ng/mL in your blood. If yours is less than that then you must supplement accordingly. Different blood types do have different ranges for optimal conditions but those are the mandatory minimum levels.
If you’re dealing with itching or burning on the scalp this may be an indication of inflammatory hair loss. It’s best to wash your hair at least every 48 hours with a high-quality antimicrobial shampoo. As well as consuming high levels of healthy fats including fish oil, borage oil, and evening primrose oil.
Do Scalp Massages Actually Work?
Scalp massage can certainly be beneficial as one tool to improve scalp health. You do not need any specific device to massage the scalp correctly. The best method is to utilize your hands to apply pressure to the scalp and begin moving the scalp over your skull. By moving the scalp over the skull manually you will improve circulation, disrupt any calcification on the scalp, enhance the subcutaneous fat layer, and improve the scalp microbiome.
Which Hair Care Ingredients Can Make Thin Hair Look Thicker?
Yes, there are numerous ingredients that are beneficial for different reasons for hair loss — though attacking hair loss internally in my opinion is the most efficacious way of getting results.
From my perspective of genetic or DHT-related hair loss, you should be looking for high-quality saw palmetto, green tea extract, pygeum, pumpkin seed oil, and L-lysine.
If you’re dealing with nutritional issues you should be looking for exactly what nutritional factor is off through your blood work and may need to improve levels of iron, vitamin D3, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals.
If you’re dealing with inflammatory hair loss, topically you can utilize things like tea tree oil, rosemary oil, Arnica, and grapefruit seed extract to diminish microbials on the scalp that may be creating inflammation. Additionally, internally you should be consuming high levels of healthy fats to help decrease inflammation as well as be eating correctly for your blood type.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Shop Products For Thinning Hair
Pros: Third-Party Tested, 100% Money Back Guarantee
Cons: Must be taken twice daily
Review: “I am post menopausal and have been experiencing female pattern hair thinning. I have tried the Foligrowth and LOVE it! After 2 months, I have discovered baby hairs growing in....I am thrilled! I am careful about eating a well balanced diet and taking care of my health, but I truly believe that this product has helped with the regrowth and thick,” said one reviewer.
Star Ingredients: Biotin, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin D3
Pros: Safe For Color-Treated Hair, Sulfate-Free
Cons: Bottle is only 10 oz.
Review: “I've been using this brand but this is the first time I got this particular product. I love it. It really gives volume and makes your hair look amazing. I've tried many products that promise hair that looks thicker and fuller but this is the first time I actually see noticeable results. As an added bonus it smells amazing. People have actually asked me what kind of scent I am wearing and they always look shocked when they realize is my hair,” noted one reviewer.
Star Ingredient: Hydrolyzed Rice Protein
Review: “I have always had very thin hair. This product helps my hair feel thicker and fuller. I also don't notice as much hair left on my hands after using this shampoo. I'd recommend it to anyone with thin or thinning hair,” one review states.
Star Ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, Argan Oil, Saw Palmetto
Pros: Balances and Soothes Dry, Oily, Itchy, Or Irritated Scalps
Cons: Higher Price Point
Review: “Totally amazing and beyond expectations. Chronic dry scalp for over a year, and with **one use**, crazy awesome results. My head feels fantastic and no more flaking. I'm going to buy a vat of this stuff and swim around in it! Really worth it,” reads one review.
Star Ingredients: Charcoal, Coconut Oil
Pros: Community-Made, Multi-Use
Star Ingredients: Tea Tree Oil
Pros: Lightweight, Color-Safe
Review: “Oh wow this product smells so great it smells like heaven might smell honeysuckles and it’s light there’s no heavy perfume to it I have extremely oily hair so I always get really nervous about using any hair oil but this just works on all angles there’s no issue whatsoever cent product value lightness actual durability in my hair everything is great all around five star product,” one reviewer noted.
Star Ingredients: Ama Oil
Pros: Great For Dry Hair
Review: “This stuff WORKS! It smooths my hair, gives it the appearance of more thickness, and I apply extra to the ends and my temple area, and I've noticed a significant decrease in dryness and breakage, allowing my hair to fill back in, eliminating those little ‘bald spots.’”
Star Ingredients: Tea Tree Oil, Argan Oil
Pros: Color-Safe, Sulfate-Free
Review: “I struggled for years with scalp dermatitis. My hair was falling out, and I itched so bad I'd wake up in the middle of the night and shampoo my hair. And shampoos... I must have tried dozens, and then rotated them. No help.My only caution is that you can use it too often, because it will dry out your scalp. But just vary your schedule. You won't be sorry. The relief was amazing,” said one reviewer.
Star Ingredients: Tea Tree Oil
Pros: Cruelty-Free, Vegan
Cons: Higher Price Point
Review: “I liked that it didn’t make my hair greasy but at the same time would quickly drip down to my neck but worth the purchase 100% My results are from January to august with one bottle! I also changed my pillow case and started brushing & massaging my scalp more.”
Star Ingredients: Mung Bean, Red Clover
Pros: Cold-Pressed, Multi-Use
Star Ingredients: Pumpkin Seed Oil
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