Hair miniaturization is when the strands become thinner, shorter, more brittle and weak. This happens with each growth cycle. Over time this process makes hair lackluster and thinner.
In rare cases, hair stops growing in that area. It is also a very common problem among men, this is also a sign of patterned hair loss. It can be treated effectively when diagnosed at an early stage. Thereby helping the affected individual experience a better quality of life.
There are many reasons for hair miniaturization. Here are the top ones.
Top 5 Causes of Hair Miniaturization
Genetics: A very common example of hair miniaturization is androgenic alopecia (AA). This specific type of hair loss is an inherited feature. According to a survey, AA affects 95% of the male and 20% of the female population around the world.
It starts with receding hairline on the front. Or the hair starts going thin on the temples. The hair loss pattern is “M” shaped, an obvious sign for identifying androgenic alopecia.
Based on the severity of the condition, further hair thinning can happen in the crown region. Eventually, hair permanently stops growing in that area. This can lead to either complete or partial baldness.
DHT: Dihydrotestosterone is the most common cause of hair loss in both men and women. The male hormone testosterone is converted into DHT by and an enzyme called 5α-reeducates. The rate of conversion determines how fast the hair fall will be.
The level of DHT in the blood varies person to person. Excess DHT in the scalp has side effects on the hair and hair follicles. It inhibits your follicle bed and prevents nutrients and minerals from reaching your hair. Eventually, the deprivation causes them to shrink. The hair falls out soon after.
All or any hair loss treatments focus on two basic things. First is reducing DHT levels in the body. And the second is redirecting faster blood flow towards the scalp and hair. This is the first step in making sure the hair follicles stay in an active growth phase by receiving essential minerals.
Telogen Effluvium: After a period of active growth, out hair go into a rest phase. It is normal and happens with everyone. There is a pause for 2-3 months, after which the old hair fall off and new ones grow.
But in telogen effluvium, hair go into premature rest mode. Resulting in the affected area to have less hair, showing a thinning effect. Hence displaying hair miniaturization in that area of the head.
The most common causes of Telogen Effluvium are stress, physical trauma, prescription medicines, and nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient Deficiency: Like the rest of your body, hair needs food too. More specifically it needs the nutrients from the food you eat. The right dose and combination of vitamins, minerals, fats, and proteins are what you need if you want to keep your hair healthy.
Nutrient deficiency can cause hair follicle shrinkage either directly or indirectly. Besides, a balanced diet is essential for your overall health. There are over a million biochemical reactions happening in your body per second. The nutrients you eat work together to keep your internal system healthy.
This internal system is co-dependent, where everything is connected to each other. Foods that make hair healthy are omega-rich salmon or any fish, zinc, biotin, carbohydrates, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins C and E.
Aging Effect: Aging is also a common and obvious reason for hair miniaturization/thinning. There is a time limit to how quickly our body can keep making new healthy cells.
After which the process slows down, this is called the “wear and tear effect”. There is a theory that our body and every cell in it is capable of a lot more than what it normally does.
But we humans can only access a small portion of that full potential due to the oxidative stress we take on a daily basis. This means free radical damage, exposure to UV light/rays, physical and emotional stress.
All this diverts the body’s energy elsewhere. Leaving hair on their own time limit.
Treatment for Hair Miniaturization
Those suffering from hair miniaturization want to know what can be done to slow or stop it. The good news is that there are several treatment options available.
Minoxidil for Hair
There are hair loss medications such as Propecia (Finasteride), Rogaine, and Regenepure Minoxidil 5%. These help slow down and even reverse hair miniaturization in the early phase of hair loss. They can also increase the volume and thickness of hair.
Propecia stops the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Especially in the areas under the scalp and around hair follicles. The reduction in DHT can prevent miniaturization and prolong the anagen growth phase of hair.
Minoxidil 5% works by removing excess oil, dust and dead skin from the scalp. These block the pores and prevent the scalp from breathing. It penetrates deep into the skin to reach the follicle bed. There it improves blood circulation, reduces DHT levels and the anti-septic property kill all or any bacteria that may damage hair.
For a more permanent but costly treatment, the option for a hair transplant is available. This is when healthy follicles from another part of the scalp are removed and surgically place in balding or thinning areas.
Eventually, those follicles grow new hair. The treatment is expensive and needs to be done by an experience and expert doctor.