My dreads are thinning and falling out, what can I do? That’s a common questions among many of our clients.
As old age kicks in, you may start to experience locs thinning at significant amounts. In other cases, thinning dreadlocks are caused by hereditary factors or nutrient deficiencies. In most cases, hair thinning isn’t related to any major health concerns, but it can affect one’s mental health and result in low self-esteem.
There are different home remedies and medical treatments to boost overall hair health and thickness. In this guide, we shall look at various causes of thinning dreadlocks and some of the available home remedies and medical treatments.
Causes of Thinning Dreadlocks and Falling Out
- Pattern hair loss
- Alopecia areata
- D Vitamin deficiency
- Traction alopecia
- Shaving, cutting loose hair at the roots
- Regrowth not added into the locs
A certain amount of hair loss is normal. With age, your hair will naturally lose volume and strength. According to a study published on the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it’s normal to lose 50-100 hairs per day. However, new hair regrows from the same hair follicles. (Source)
Over the years, some follicles are unable to replace lost hair, some hair shaft becomes thinner, and hair loses its color.
If you spot the development of bald patches or unusual hair thinning, the chances are that you’re experiencing hair loss. In most cases, it’s possible to stop and treat hair loss. (Source) Below are some of the leading causes of thinning hair.
Pattern Hair Loss
Male and female pattern baldness are collectively referred to as androgenetic alopecia. This condition is attributed to genes and hormones factors and affects approximately 80 million (50 men and 30 women) people in the US. (Source)
An article published on the Genetic Home Reference website suggests that the chances of androgenetic alopecia increase with age. While this condition affects teenagers as well, more than half of men above 50 years have some extent of hair loss. This condition also affects women after menopause.
In most cases, people with this condition also have family members ailing from the same. Hair thinning occurs from the hairline towards the back of the head in males, while in females, it mostly affects the crown of the head.
We all need nutrients for proper natural hair replacement and healthy follicles. Protein is a key component of hair. Micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins play an important role in the hair growth cycle.
Malnutrition and lack of the vitamin can contribute to hair loss. Eating a healthy diet can facilitate the growth of strong and healthy hair. Eating a nutrient-rich diet will also prevent the following:
- Dry and dull hair
- Brittle hair shafts
This is a condition that causes hair loss in round patches. Not only does it affect the scalp, but it can also affect the beard, eyebrows, and any other part of the body where the hair is present.
According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, only 2.1% of the US population has the chance to develop this condition in their lifetime. (Source) This condition mostly occurs during childhood, and environmental and genetic factors cause it.
The hair follicles are alive in this case, unlike in the case of androgenetic alopecia. It’s treated through an injection into the scalp for a period of up to six months.
Stress can send a significant number of hair follicles into a resting state. Within a few months, these hairs fall out.
The types of stress that can cause hair loss include childbirth, surgery, and severe illness. In most cases, no treatment is needed, and the hair often regrows back when the stress is over.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D helps in stimulating the hair follicles. This facilitates hair growth. One of the symptoms of the lack of sufficient vitamin D is hair loss, among other symptoms.
Research has also linked vitamin D deficiencies with alopecia areata. (Source)
Some people experience hair loss during or after the pregnancy period. In this case, hair grows back without requiring any treatment.
This is mainly caused by the pulling force applied to the dreads while crocheting or interlocking.
Shaving, cutting loose hair at the roots
Some people often shave the loose hair at the roots to make dreadlocks look tidy. Unfortunately, this only makes dreadlocks thinner making them prone to breakage.
Regrowth not growing into the locs
The new regrowth doesn’t grow from the locs and instead becomes separately making the loc thinner and thinner.
To make your loc thicker, add the regrowth around the loc using interlocking, crocheting, or retwisting method. Perform regular maintenance to avoid this problem in the future.
Thinning Dreadlocks and Falling out Treatments
There are some prescription medications designed to treat thinning hair. The two FDA approved prescriptions for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia are: finasteride and minoxidil.
This prescription comes in 5% and 2% treatments. Unlike Finasteride, Minoxidil is applied directly to the affected areas.
It’s a safe and effective method for treating androgenetic alopecia. It’ll take up to 6-12 months for the hair to grow back fully. The downside is that you’ll have to take it permanently because stopping it will result in hair loss. Some of the side effects include:
- Excessive hair growth
- Skin irritation
- Contact dermatitis
This is an oral medication for men who have had no success with minoxidil. The recommended dose is 1 milligram per day. Its side effects include:
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction
Dreadlock Thinning Home Remedy Treatments
- Eat healthily
- Try essential oils
- Natural remedies such as ginseng, onion juice, capsaicin, garlic gel, caffeine, procyanidin
There are different home remedies to help with hair growth. However, it’s important to note that not all of these home remedies have scientific backing. It’s important to speak with a doctor before trying any of the recommended home remedies.
There are several studies on natural treatments that have shown excellent results. Unfortunately, herbal remedies haven’t been approved by the FDA, and more scientific research is required to confirm these results.
Eating healthy is not only good for hair growth but also overall body health. Fats, proteins, certain minerals, and vitamins are important for hair growth.
You may spot improvements in hair growth when you eat healthy foods. Some of the foods associated with hair growth include:
- Brazil nuts: they are rich in selenium mineral that helps in overall hair health.
- Eggs: contain protein, which is important for hair growth. Biotin present in eggs helps boost hair growth.
- Walnuts: they contain omega-3 which may help boost hair growth
- Fatty fish- a great source of omega-3
Try Essential Oils
Essential oils help boost hair growth. Unfortunately, there isn’t sufficient research into how effective these oils are.
It’s important to always dilute essential oils with carrier oils such as jojoba oil or coconut oil to avoid skin irritation. Some of the essential oils that can help boost hair growth include:
Peppermint essential oil help in stimulating blood circulation and reducing thinning hair. A 2014 study revealed that compared to using jojoba oil, saltwater, and minoxidil 3%, those using peppermint oil saw most hair growth in over four weeks. (Source)
Several studies have shown that rosemary oil may help improve blood flow hence improving scalp health, which is important for healthy hair growth.
A 2015 comparison study found out that those using rosemary oil and those using minoxidil 2% both experienced significant hair growth after six months. (Source)
Other oils that people use for hair growth include lavender, cedarwood, tulsi oil, thyme oil, and scalp massage.
Gently massaging the scalp will help improve blood flow, and this may encourage hair to grow. Massaging the scalp using essential oils will also provide other benefits.
Other Natural Remedies for Dreadlocks Thinning and Falling Out
A 2019 review of complementary and alternative treatments for alopecia revealed that the following natural remedies could help with hair growth:
- Ginseng– traditionally used as a remedy for hair loss
- Onion juice– stimulates hair follicles
- Capsaicin– present in red chili peppers
- Garlic gel
- Caffeine– facilitates both hair growth and cell proliferation
- Procyanidin– antioxidants found in cinnamon, apples, and grapes
The authors of this study also strongly suggested these alternative medicine practices can help relieve stress and anxiety:
How To Diagnose Hair Thinning?
To find out the cause of hair thinning, doctors often look at the pattern of hair loss. At times they may inquire about a person’s:
- Current diet
- Family history
The doctor may send scalp and hair samples further testing in the laboratory. In some rare cases, blood tests may be necessary to exclude autoimmune conditions.
When to see a doctor
In most cases, hair loss isn’t as a result of a major health problem. However, if you’re concerned about it or it affects your mental well-being, it’s advised you to see a doctor.
If you experience a lot of hair loss with no known cause, it’s important to see a doctor immediately. This is especially important if you’ve made any dietary changes or taking supplements.
How to Save A Dreadlock That Is Thinning at The roots?
It’s highly recommended you consult your loctician. They will recommend the best way to save your dreadlocks. However, if you’d like to do the repairs yourself, below are the steps to undertake.
If the ends of your dreadlocks are thicker than the roots and are worried the loc may fall off, here’s what you should do:
- Add any loose hair into the loc to make it thicker at the base
- If you have no loose hair around the loc base, combine the weaker lock with a stronger one by retwisting, crocheting the two locs, or putting one loc through the root of the other. Leave or fuse the ends with a crochet.
How to Save A Dreadlock That Is Thinning on The Length?
- Use the crochet method around the weak point:
- Add some human hair extensions around the weak point