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In our dreams, we have a mane of hair worthy of a shampoo commercial. In reality, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, around 40 percent of women will experience some hair loss by their 40th birthday, but it’s rarely discussed. So if you’re pulling more and more strands out of your brush, here’s how to diagnose six potential causes, as well as how to reverse their effects. 

RELATED: The Best Haircuts for Thin Hair

reasons for thinning hair baby
Twenty20

You Just Had a Baby

Remember that gorgeous, thick head of hair you had during pregnancy? And now you’re shedding like a golden retriever? For three to four months after giving birth, new moms typically experience hair loss, since the estrogen levels that spiked during pregnancy are returning to normal. Don’t worry, though: Not only is this totally normal, but your hair should go also back to its pre-pregnancy thickness by the time your little guy or gal turns one.

RELATED: Help! I Had a Baby and Now My Hair Sucks!

reasons for thinning hair ponytail
Twenty20

You Always Wear a Ponytail

Tight, constricting hairstyles like buns, ponytails or braids put stress on your hair and cause a condition called traction alopecia (where tension caused by certain hairstyles leads to thinning hair). Try alternating between wearing your hair up and down, which should give it adequate time to recover.

reasons for thinning hair diet
Twenty20

You’re Not Eating Right

What you eat impacts pretty much everything, including the health of your hair. Diets lacking in vitamins and nutrients like protein, iron and magnesium can manifest as thinning hair. If you notice your hair falling out seemingly without reason, make sure your diet is balanced and includes the aforementioned vitamins.

RELATED: 12 Things You Should Stop Doing to Your Hair

reasons for thinning hair thyroid

Your Thyroid is Out of Whack

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism (where your thyroid gland is overactive or underactive, respectively) are often accompanied by hair loss, or at least a deterioration in the quality of the hair you do have. If your doctor determines you have either of these conditions, he or she will likely prescribe a thyroid hormone medication to balance out your levels and return your hair to its former state. 

reasons for thinning hair genetics
Twenty20

Your Family Members Have Experienced the Same Thing

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most common cause of hair loss in men and women is androgenetic alopecia, or male and female pattern baldness. Unfortunately, it's hereditary, and the gene can be inherited from your mother or father. To slow hair loss, you can apply minoxidil, a vasodilator (known over-the-counter as Rogaine) that can prevent further loss and strengthen existing hair.  

reasons for thinning hair stress

You’re Super Stressed

Day-to-day stress doesn’t typically impact hair health, but intense, prolonged tension alters cortisol levels, which can spark or accelerate hair loss. Luckily, this effect is only temporary, so once your stress levels lower (say, thanks to meditation or acupressure), your hair cycle should return to normal.

RELATED: 8 Secrets of Women Who Handle Stress Like a Boss

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