I Can See My Scalp Through My Hair – Advice That May Help

I get a lot of emails from folks who tell me that they are quite alarmed because they are noticing more and more scalp showing through their thinning hair.  Sometimes this has been a gradual slide and sometimes it’s sudden.  But no matter how it has happened, it’s alarming because for the folks that it happens to, it can be seen as the first step toward baldness.  And, in your own mind, it just makes your hair loss or thinning that much more noticeable, making treatment or camouflage that much more dire. There are many reasons that this happens and I will go over some of the causes, treatments, and camouflages in the following article.

Genetic Causes Of Hair Thinning To The Scalp: Probably the most common cause of hair that thins so severely that you can see straight through is genetics or a sensitivity to androgens or DHT (called AGA or androgenic alopecia.)  And, you don’t need a bald father or grandfather to have this and women are not excluded.  There are many people with this condition with no family history whatsoever.  What happens in this cycle is that your healthy follicles which produce and maintain quality hair become affected and eventually choked out by androgens.  So, you will shed or lose more hair prematurely and what does grow back comes in more fine and thin so that it is not sufficient to offer enough coverage to completely cover and obscure your scalp.

Treatment for AGA is really two fold.  First, you have to drastically slow down the loss.  Many people will do this via DHT blockers, but I firmly believe that you can’t eliminate all androgens and since you have that sensitivity, you are better off addressing the sensitivity.  Because even a little bit of androgens remaining are going to still wreak havoc. Second, you have to be able to successfully stimulate your scalp to produce a healthy hair again.  Often, the hair cycles become so badly affected that you’ll have to go through several improving cycles until everything is functioning normally again. 

Medical Causes Of Severe Thinning:  There are some medical conditions that cause the hair to thin so badly that scalp is showing through.  Other than the obvious (like chemotherapy and radiation), there are thyroid and adrenal issues, severe illness or stress, and autoimmune reactions.  Occasionally, people have reactions to medications, foods, or products, but this is pretty rare.  The obvious treatment for this type of hair loss is to treat the underlying medical condition.  And, after that it doesn’t hurt to still aggressively stimulate regrowth and reduce the inflammation that often comes along side this type of hair loss.

Chronic Shedding (Or CTE:)  Shedding more than 100 strands per day for a time period of less than six months is called telogen effluvium or TE.  Having this condition for longer than half a year is called CTE (the chronic variety.)  And, if this condition goes on long enough, it can look like AGA because the regrowth simply doesn’t have the chance to catch up or do any good because everything is being rapidly shed out.  Often CTE is caused by a trigger that hasn’t properly been identified or treated.  The best way to handle it is to eliminate the trigger for good, but this too is easier said than done because folks with CTE are often very hormonally vulnerable and often the treatments can cause a new round of hair loss.  That’s why I really advocate the use of very gradual topicals so that you aren’t affecting anything internally that could cause you to shed more. CTE does usually have an inflammation component (inflammation isn’t the cause, but the result) so it never hurts to reduce inflammation and stimulate the scalp.

Camouflaging A See Through Scalp: If the problem isn’t yet that bad, you can try styling your hair around it.  Lifting at the root, combing forward or to the side, or wearing your hair in a ponytail or adding waves and curls can all help.  If you’re beyond this because your hair has become too thin, there are powders that match your hair color that will help blend in the white of the scalp (toppik, couvre, etc.)  I’ve actually heard of people dying or coloring their scalps, but I would think that this would cause a lot of inflammation. Finally, there are toppers are hair pieces that only cover the problem area and blend in with the rest of your hair.  You may have to search a while for one that looks absolutely realistic, but it’s not impossible.

Best Case Scenarios: Of course, it’s best to eliminate the problem rather than covering it up.  I always urge folks to never give up on trying to uncover the real cause and the effective solution for their hair loss.  You’re never out of the game until you give up, so don’t give up.  Cover it as best you can, but keep looking for a workable solution that helps to stop your loss and regrow hair.