Noticing your hair beginning to thin can be worrying. But what exactly does thinning hair look and feel like as it progresses? Recognizing the key signs and stages of diffuse hair loss allows addressing it quickly.
How Does Thinning Hair Look Like?
Thinning hair goes through predictable phases, often beginning with subtle changes that gradually increase over time:
Stage 1 - Increased Hair Shedding
The first sign is often noticing more hairs on your brush, in the shower drain, and on your pillowcase. You may not see scalp yet, but hair feels less dense.
Stage 2 - Widening Part Line
As hair density decreases, the part line widens and more scalp starts becoming visible. Roots look less full despite the same hair length.
Stage 3 - See-through Roots
Scalp becomes clearly visible through the hair at the top and temples. Roots lack fullness even after brushing the hair down.
Stage 4 - Obvious Overall Thinning
Hair shaft width and density is noticeably reduced all over, not just at roots. Scalp is visible beneath longer hairs.
Key Signs Your Hair Is Thinning
Some specific symptoms that indicate your hair is thinning:
Declining Hair Volume
Your ponytail feels lighter. The body in your hair is reduced despite using volumizing products.
Hair at the temples and crown lacks density. Roots feel soft and fuzzy instead of full.
More Scalp Showing
Noticeably more pink scalp is visible, especially when hair is pulled back. Your part line looks wider.
Individual hairs appear and feel thinner and less robust under magnification.
Hair doesn’t grow as long as it used to before shedding. Length between trims is shorter.
What Thinning Hair Feels Like
In addition to visual clues, your scalp and hair may feel different:
Increased Oil Production
Early on, the scalp makes more oil to overcompensate for follicle shrinkage, feeling greasy.
Dry, Itchy Scalp
As thinning advances, the scalp produces less oil, feeling tight and itchy.
The scalp feels tender to touch. Washing, brushing and styling causes discomfort.
Regrowth feels like stubble rather than soft new growth as miniaturized hairs emerge.
Lack of Density
Running hands through your hair feels different. There’s less fullness between the fingers.
When to Seek Help
If you notice one or more of the visual signs paired with changes in scalp/hair feel, seek evaluation from a dermatologist. Identifying patterns of genetic versus autoimmune hair loss allows pursuing effective early treatment to slow progression.
Catching thinning before extensive bald areas form gives the greatest chance of regrowing a fuller head of hair long-term.
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