Is Your Hair's Part Line Getting Wider? Here's What May Be Happening—and What to Do About It
If you are seeing more scalp than you are used to, it's time to check in with your doctor.
If you have ever looked into the mirror only to notice that your part line appears to be growing wider, you're not alone. Hair thinning and loss become more common as we age. That being said, there are an array of health-related reasons for hair shedding, a process that begins, for most women, around the part line. To find out why yours might be widening—and to get it under control—read on for everything there is to know about the matter, according to two trichologists.
Understand how hair loss works.
A wider part is the result of hair loss—consider it the first symptom of a larger problem, say our experts. When this occurs, notes trichologist and Colour Collective founder Kerry Yates, the hair follicles distributed over your entire head are either in a prolonged resting phase or are no longer active. "Generally, hair loss becomes apparent when you have lost close to 50 percent," she adds.
This doesn't happen in a vacuum. According to New York City trichologist Penny James of Penny James Salon, a wider part can be the result of pattern hair loss, chronic diffuse telogen hair loss, diffuse alopecia, androgenic alopecia, thyroid issues, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). "All will cause hair loss in the frontal margin and give the appearance of a wider part on the top of your scalp," she explains. With this in mind, it's important to seek a doctor or trichologist's expertise to establish a treatment plan, since these issues aren't ones you can tackle without the help of a professional team.
Take action when you notice the problem.
The cause of your wider part will determine whether or not the hair will regrow. Unfortunately, says James, frontal hair loss is difficult to recoup. "The quicker you take action when you see the first signs of shedding and widening, the better results you will have," she says. "The most important thing is getting the correct information about what has caused your hair loss." That said, James notes that using a topical solution, like minoxidil (which you can get via a prescription from your dermatologist or general practitioner), can be beneficial along with a good vitamin program. "Taking a multivitamin or a hair-focused nutrient supplement like Nutrafol ($88, amazon.com) can help push the hair back into the growing phase within 90 days," Yates adds.
Invest in camouflaging products.
The road to regrowth requires patience—in the meantime, consider using products to hide the appearance of a widening part. Both James and Yates agree that powder touch-up formulas are the best option, since they are easier to control and won't end up distributing the pigment across your entire scalp. "Madison Reed Touch Up Powder ($21, ulta.com) is brilliant for not only touching up your grays, but giving you a thinner part line, as well," Yates says. "The squared-off brush is easy to use and helps to create the perfect line instantly."
Make a few small, impactful changes to promote growth.
Though working with your doctor to find the exact cause for your widening part is the most important aspect of addressing it, Yates has a few tips to help promote growth. First, give yourself a massage daily. "Massaging the scalp a minimum of four minutes every day will relieve tension and tightness while improving blood circulation," she explains. "Several studies have shown that a simple scalp massage can improve scalp health and decrease hair fall." And stay away from applying heavy oils, she notes: "They can clog the follicle, hindering future growth," she warns.
And while it might seem counterintuitive—especially if the goal is keep keep follicles clear—wash your hair less. "Wash your hair every other day versus every day," she suggests, adding that daily cleansing can cause dryness and scalp irritation, which, in some cases, can cause hair to fall out—which is why you also need to be mindful of your ponytail habits. "If you like to wear your hair in a tight ponytail, try one a bit lower, towards the nape of the neck, to limit the strain on your hairline," she says. "Constant pulling will result in permanent follicle damage and prevent them from operating normally. Extreme cases will result in traction alopecia."