- Why Is Thinning A Problem For Natural 4C Hair?
- What Are The Primary Causes Of Thinning 4C Hair?
- The Best Ways To Prevent Thinning 4C Hair
- The Bottom Line
Some degree of hair loss is normal. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that the average adult will shed between 80 to 100 hairs per day. The rate of hair shedding may increase or decrease based on several factors, and most normal shedding is unnoticeable.
Black women, in particular, often struggle with excessive shedding, uneven hair growth, and breakage leading to the appearance of thinning 4C hair. Over time, these areas can become more and more noticeable, causing concern for the individual suffering from thinning hair.
In this post, we will explore why thinning 4C hair can be such a common problem for black women, the specific causes of thinning 4C hair, and the best solutions to prevent, halt or reverse hair thinning.
Why Is Thinning A Problem For Natural 4C Hair?
While every hair type is prone to hair thinning, thinning 4C hair can be particularly problematic. There is no hard fast evidence that natural 4C hair is inherently more or less prone to thinning than other hair types.
That said, thin natural 4C hair is often chemically treated, and heat processed more frequently than other hair types.
This can strip the hair’s natural oils, resulting in excessively dry hair that is susceptible to increased thinning and breakage.
Additionally, the natural texture of curly hair may make thinning more noticeable than it might be on other hair types.
Fortunately, once the causes of natural thinning 4C hair are clearly understood, you can take concrete steps to prevent or reverse hair loss and breakage.
What Are The Primary Causes Of Thinning 4C Hair?
Numerous unique factors can contribute to hair loss, hair breakage, or hair thinning. Therefore, the appearance of thinning 4C hair may be caused by one of these factors or a combination of several factors.
Some protective hairstyles can lead to hair breakage. For example, styling natural 4C hair into tight braids, tight ponytails, and tight coils can damage the natural hair structure. Tight hairstyles cause breakage and may lead to medical conditions like traction alopecia.
As we age, our hormone levels decrease. These natural shifts in hormone production can result in many physical changes, including hair thinning.
Chronic, ongoing stress is hard on the human body. The impacts of high levels of chronic stress can be seen and felt in many of the body systems. For example, chronic stress affects the release of various hormones and chemicals. These fluctuations can result in thinning hair and medical conditions such as alopecia, a type of hair loss.
Alopecia Areata is an immune-mediated disorder that causes your body to attack its own systems. In the case of Alopecia Areata, it is the body’s healthy hair follicles that are targeted.
Alopecia Areata can be the result of simple genetics, or it may result from hormonal fluctuations due to chronic stress, pregnancy, or age.
Like breakage, traction alopecia is often the result of restrictive hairstyles like tight braids, ponytails, and buns. When worn frequently or for long periods, these hairstyles create constant tension or traction on the hair strands and hair follicles, leading to damage and hair loss.
The stress and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can trigger hair thinning. In these cases, the hair thinning may resolve after the hormone balance returns to normal following the postpartum period. However, in some cases, thinning hair may become a persistent problem requiring treatment to resolve.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy hair follicle function and hair growth. Folic acid and Iron deficiencies are common causes of thinning natural hair.
Chemical straightening or relaxing treatments damage the hair structure and hair follicles, leading to hair breakage and thinning hair.
The Best Ways To Prevent Thinning 4C Hair
Now that we have discussed why your natural 4C hair may be thinning, let’s move on to the solutions. Here is the good news, while it may seem like the deck is stacked against your natural hair, it doesn’t have to be. You can take plenty of steps that will give you a fuller, healthier head of hair in no time.
Schedule In Regular Physical Fitness
Wait…what? What does working out have to do with thinning hair?
Improving your physical fitness helps to reduce those stress signals coursing through your system, increases blood flow for a healthy scalp, and improves the overall health of your hair.
Regular physical fitness activities like yoga or pilates will help improve your physical health. As an added bonus, regular exercise also offers a mental health boost.
As your physical and mental health improves, your stress levels will decrease. Likewise, as your stress levels decrease, your body can repurpose that energy toward healing.
Focus On Nutrition
Nutrient deficiencies are one of the most common causes of brittle, thinning hair and slow hair growth. Get all the follicle-supporting nutrients you need by eating a well-balanced diet containing ample Vitamin C, Biotin, Folic Acid, Iron, and Silica.
You can boost your Vitamin C intake by adding plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, and leafy greens into your regular diet. Get more Biotin by eating more salmon, avocado, and eggs. Bananas are a great source of Silica and other vitamins and minerals, and spinach and certain red meats will help boost your Iron intake.
A well-rounded diet is the best way to load up on nutrients. However, you may consider adding vitamins and mineral supplements to help fill any gaps.
Switch Up Your Styling Practices
If you want to stop hair thinning and rebuild strength, you will need to reduce the amount of heat styling and chemical processing.
Work with your hair stylist to choose a protective style that reduces or eliminates the need for regular daily styling with heat stylers like blow dryers and flat irons.
Taking a break from heat styling will allow your hair strands to recover their natural oils and moisture.
Do you need to use blow dryers, flat irons, or other heat-styling appliances for special occasions? Apply a heat-protectant product before use to help protect the hair strands from damage.
Additionally, you will want to choose a protective style that helps you avoid restrictive tension on the hair follicles. Make sure that whatever hairstyle you choose is worn loose enough that you are not putting traction on the hairline.
A satin scarf is the best method to give yourself a coiffed look without damaging your hair. The silky texture of a satin scarf will not snag the hair surface. Better still, it provides a polished look that is not restrictive, allowing the hair follicles to rest and switch back to re-growth mode.
Protective hairstyles that eliminate the need for heat styling and chemical processing can help shift your hair follicles from a dormant state to a re-growth phase in as little as 4 to 6 weeks.
Deep Conditioner, Protein Treatment & Hair Masks
Moisture is key to preventing breakage and pumping up the profile of your existing hair while working to restore healthy hair growth. In addition, deep conditioning treatments can help restore the appearance of fullness and strengthen stressed natural 4C hair strands.
Use a hot oil treatment, commercial deep conditioning packs, protein treatment, or hair masks to give your whole head of hair a deep thirst-quenching moisture boost at least once weekly.
For the most effective deep conditioning treatment, allow the conditioner to soak into your hair for at least 30 minutes. Then, use a shower cap to trap natural body heat, or invest in a bonnet dryer to apply external heat to help the treatment penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
The Bottom Line
The natural structure of 4C hair makes it particularly prone to breakage and thinning. However, it is important to remember that you are not struggling alone. We have chosen to share these solutions because we know the challenges and frustration of dealing with thin 4C hair that seems to grow sparser by the day. Commit to these time-tested solutions for 6 – 8 weeks. The resulting mane of healthy, thick 4C hair will be well worth the effort.
We hope this post on how to stop and reverse thinning 4c hair was helpful!
Do you still have questions? We have the answers! Check out the answers to some of the most common thin natural 4C hair queries below.