Whether you realize it or not, thinning hair and hair loss are top of mind for many of your clients as they are gazing at themselves in your mirror. In fact, according to a the 2016 HAIR+ Research Study, 75% of male clients and 81% of female clients are concerned about their current or future potential hair loss.
Whether clients are speculating on their future image or are already noticing that their hair is thinning, you may be the first person in which they confide. Not only will they want your advice in stopping the hair loss, slowing it down or disguising its impact, they’ll also want to know why this is happening to them. Before you can provide your client with answers and solutions, you should educate yourself the various reasons why people lose hair.
According to the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org), people typically lose about 100 hairs a day normally. This doesn’t cause noticeable thinning because new hair is growing in at the same time. Hair loss occurs when the cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted or when the hair follicle is destroyed and replaced with scar tissue.
THE REASONS WHY
There are multiple reasons your clients may be losing their hair, including:
Genetics and Aging: Mother Nature—or heredity—plays a role in the most common cause of hair thinning and hair loss. For men, this condition is also known as male-pattern baldness. They will note thinning at the temples and the hair will gradually recede to create the characteristic ‘M’ shape. They also may notice thinning at the crown which will continue to partial or complete baldness. For women, the hair will thin all over the head and often not recede. As men and women enter their 50s and 60s, hair thinning and hair loss is a common issue.
Overall Health and Wellness: A client’s overall health can have an important impact on hair thinning and hair loss. Physical stress, like a severe illness, can shock the hair cycle pushing it to the shedding stage. Emotional stress, from a big life event like divorce or loss of a loved one, also can exacerbate hair loss. Clients can also experience hair loss if they are getting too much Vitamin A, experience dramatic weight loss, aren’t eating enough protein or not getting enough Vitamin B. As you probably already know, your clients who are expecting will shed hair after they deliver.. And, hormone changes from going off birth-control pills or going through menopause, also can cause women to experience hair loss.
Underlying Medical Conditions: Thinning hair and hair loss can also be an indicator of a more serious underlying medical condition:
- Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can contribute to hair loss and can be treated with synthetic thyroid medicine.
- Alopecia areata is the result of an overactive immune system, where the body sees hair as a foreign object and targets it by mistake.
- Other auto-immune diseases such as Lupus can cause hair loss.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, which is an imbalance in male and female sex hormones, can cause hair thinning.
- Some clients may lose hair because they have Anemia, which is commonly caused by an iron deficiency.
- You may have also run across the occasional client who suffers from the impulse control disorder Trichotillomania –these clients will compulsively pull out their hair, eyebrows and/or eyelashes.
Medical Treatments: Your clients also may be experiencing hair loss because of a medication they are taking or a treatment they are receiving. The first that comes to mind are clients who are receiving chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. But antidepressants, blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs also have been found to cause thinning hair. Often their hair will return after they are off of these medications.
Extreme Hairstyling: Your clients also may be suffering from Traction alopecia, in which hairstyling such as ponytails, buns, braids or weaves pulls hair tight resulting in hair loss. This can be reversed if the pulling on the hair is reversed, but if it isn’t intervened soon enough, the hair loss can become permanent. Chemical treatments and hot oil hair treatments also can cause inflammation of the follicles, leading to hair loss.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Your clients can show thinning hair or hair loss in many different ways, depending on the underlying cause. Hair loss can be gradual or sudden, and it can affect the scalp or the entire body. Here’s some are some signs to watch, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Gradual thinning on the top of the head. The most common type of hair loss, you may notice your male clients recede at their temples first, while your female clients may experience a broadening of the part in their hair.
- Circular or Patchy Bald Spots. Some clients may experience smooth, coin-sized bald spots. In some cases the skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
- Sudden Loosening of Hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handful may come out when combing or washing the hair, or after a gentle tugging.
- Full-Body Hair Loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, can result in the loss of hair all over the body.
- Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm, and may be accompanied by broken hair, redness and swelling.
DESIGNING A GAME PLAN
If a client is concerned about their thinning hair or hair loss, encourage them to discuss it with their primary care physician, dermatologist or a certified tricologist. If you notice a client experiences sudden or patchy hair loss or sudden hair loss, encourage them to seek the advice of a medical professional because this can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.
When a client can accurately pinpoint the cause of the thinning hair or hair loss, you and your client can design a plan of action. Attend the 2019 HAIR+ Summit, September 22-24 in Atlanta to learn about the different tools, treatments and techniques you can use to help your clients achieve optimal scalp health while helping their hair achieve the volume they desire.