Though hair loss is more common in men, affecting around 50% of men worldwide by age 50, the numbers are not so drastically different for women.1 Some studies show hair loss affects around 40% of women by age 50.2 One of the first noticeable signs of hair loss in both men and women is thinning hair. As hair follicles become smaller, the hair strands become finer. Some hair follicles stop producing hair altogether.
In men, hair tends to thin at the temples or the crown on top of the head. You may even notice a receding hairline. For women, thinning may occur across most of the scalp, or it can affect specific areas such as the middle part or the frontal scalp area. Despite where hair is thinning and why it’s happening, often the same strategies can be used to thicken hair and slow the progression of loss.
Causes Of Thinning Hair In Men Vs Women
Hair loss is driven by a number of factors, including genetics and hormonal changes. People with a variation of the AR gene make their hair follicles more sensitive to an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is derived from testosterone. Higher levels of DHT lead to thinner and shorter hair follicles that may eventually stop growing hair.
However, different conditions may contribute to this fluctuation in hormones. In women, polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, leads to higher androgen levels that cause hair loss. Menopause also causes a drop in estrogen, which can contribute to thinning hair. In men, prostate cancer and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) are common culprits.3
Other potential causes of thinning hair in both men and women include:
- Alopecia areata, in which the immune system attacks hair follicles
- Cancer treatment
- Excessive hair treatments
- Scalp infections
- Hair pulling
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Anemia and thyroid disorders
- Skin disorders, like psoriasis
What Are Hair Vitamins?
Hair vitamins for thinning hair address deficiencies in key nutrients your body needs to maintain hair growth. Formulations typically include one or several of the following: biotin, folic acid, iron, vitamins C and E, and collagen. In many cases, expanding your diet can help you get these nutrients through food. For instance, eggs and legumes are high in biotin, dark leafy greens are rich in folic acid, and red meat is a great source of iron.
When it’s not possible to obtain all of these beneficial nutrients, using a supplement designed for hair growth can be helpful. The Foundation Skincare UnTangled Hair Supplement contains vitamins, minerals, acids, and herbs, which are clinically-proven to help revive a stagnant hair growth cycle by increasing the production of keratin in the follicles. In addition to addressing deficiencies, the supplement also supplies your body with the building blocks it needs for visibly thicker, fuller hair. UnTangled Hair Supplement includes marine collagen, vitamins A, C, D, E, biotin, niacin, folic acid, iron, selenium, zinc, and pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5. The supplement also contains saw palmetto, an extract that blocks the enzyme that is responsible for both male and female pattern hair loss, as well as horsetail extract, an herb that promotes hair growth.
Hair loss vitamins are not to be confused with medications like Minoxidil or Finasteride, which are both common approaches to hair loss. Minoxidil works directly on follicles by moving your hair into a phase of active growth after an initial period of shedding and stimulates blood circulation. Finasteride works indirectly by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Best Vitamins For Hair Growth
Beyond medicinal approaches, here’s what research confirms are the best vitamins for hair growth and thickness:
- Biotin: This essential vitamin supports keratin production. Studies have shown a lack of biotin in your system can lead to hair loss.4
- Folic Acid: Folic acid promotes healthy cell growth in the hair and nails. In addition to supporting hair growth, it may also reverse graying.5
- Iron: Having an iron deficiency, or anemia, is a common cause of hair loss, but typically a temporary one. Consuming iron-rich foods and/or iron supplements can help reverse hair loss due to this deficiency.
- Niacin: This water-soluble nutrient improves blood circulation, bringing oxygen to the hair follicles for accelerated growth.6
- Selenium: Selenium helps to control inflammation, which is why it is commonly used to treat scalp conditions like dermatitis. As an antioxidant, selenium also helps to fight free radicals, which can be damaging to hair follicles.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin is essential for cell growth and hair growth. It also helps to keep your scalp moisturized, but should not be used in excess.
- Vitamin C: Like selenium, vitamin C fights free radicals, which can age hair and slow growth. Vitamin C also helps to create collagen, which is necessary to keratin production.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D stimulates hair follicles to grow. Deficiencies are linked to patchy hair loss seen in alopecia areata.7
- Vitamin E: Another antioxidant, vitamin E reduces the amount of oxidative stress and free radicals that contribute to the breakdown of hair follicle cells on the scalp.
- Zinc: Some research has shown that zinc may inhibit 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme that helps to produce the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is related to hair loss.8 Zinc supplementation may also be helpful in addressing nutritional deficiencies related to hair loss caused by thyroid conditions.
Can Men & Women Use The Same Hair Supplement?
While hair loss in men and women can appear differently or even be caused by different factors, the same supplements can be used by both.
In addition to the Foundation Skincare UnTangled Hair Supplement, men and women can both use Foundation Skincare Hair Serum, which fights hair loss with a custom blend of herbs like saw palmetto extract, apple stem cell, and olive leaf extract. The serum is also proven to stimulate hair stem cells to encourage new growth and prevent further hair loss while targeting hormonal hair loss. Combining the UnTangled Hair Supplement and Hair Serum can improve hair growth visible to the eye in as little as 30 days.
Because thinning hair is often the first sign of hair loss, taking early action offers the best results. It’s much easier to preserve the hair you have than encourage new growth, though both are still possible. In addition to addressing nutritional deficiencies with hair-boosting vitamins and minerals and using a serum to promote growth, it’s also important to investigate the underlying reasons that may be contributing to hair loss, which can range from medical conditions to stress.
Learn more about supporting healthy hair growth in the FS Journal.
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